Timing Yourself: A Helpful ‘Push’ to Practice When Life Gets Hectic

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Music is all about timing. Quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and so on. But so is pretty much everything else. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about timing lately, as I always feel like I’m running out of time, between working, mothering, sleeping, breathing, and slipping in workouts and volunteer commitments. It’s impossible to do everything I’d like to do perfectly — or at least as well as I did pre-kids — because I have so many things competing for my time. 

However, I’ve found that lately, timing myself, as in literally setting a timer when I need to get something done, can be extraordinarily motivating. 

[RELATED: Finding Time to Practice in the Midst of a Busy Life]

Say I need to clean the kitchen. That’s boring. But when I set the timer on my microwave for 7 minutes, suddenly I’m moving faster than a Jimi Hendrix solo. If I didn’t time myself, I’d just drag condiments from the floor where my kids spilled them my kitchen counter to the refrigerator. 

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Jimi Hendrix, master of timing (and guitar solos)

Timing yourself comes in handy in the musical sense, too. Two days this week, I had only 15 minutes to spare before I had to pick up my kids from school. My first thought was “nah, I’ll just fold laundry.” But my second thought was, “wait, that’s 15 minutes to play guitar with no distractions.” And I set my timer and plugged my Gibson SG into my  50-watt amp and BAM! It was time for a mini set. I jammed away happily, feeling like I had all the time in the world. I didn’t worry, knowing that the little timer would go “beep beep beep” when it was time to put the guitar down. And sure enough, it did. But not before I got through three songs. 

Of course, music should be spontaneous and fun. Relaxed. There should be no time-induced pressure to write a song, jam on a Friday night with friends and a bottle of wine, or practice a drum solo. But when you just need to practice when life gets busy, a timer could be your secret weapon, a gamechanger in your hectic day.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

Finding Time to Practice in the Midst of a Busy Life

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Most days, I wake up way too early, work out, rush to get my kids off to school/camp, and before I have three minutes to meditate, have to rush off again to do something again (like dishes, writing or some other paid freelance assignment). I’m super lucky, being able to make money as a creative person, while balancing motherhood and wifedom.

But until recently, I started losing track of my real #lifegoals — to play guitar like a goddess, play shows at clubs and write original music (I also want to write and publish my science fiction novel in progress, but that’s a different blog for a different day!).

Needless to say, it’s easy to get too busy one day and neglect your art, and before you know it, the days add up. I’m super close to saying f*ck it — why bother trying to make a rock video (a big life goal), play a show with a full band (like the one I left behind in NYC), or record an album? I’m too busy mothering/working/playing covers with the only female musician I know who lives two blocks from my house.

[RELATED: Me Time = Learning the Guitar Riffs for a Western Classic]

But about a month ago, I started feeling that spark again. I don’t know how, or why, but it hit me: I live to play music, and to create.

So I’ve decided to try something new: Three or four times a week, I have been spending 40 minutes to one hour in the morning working on music. And I’ve clocked in two hours a week working on this blog and my novel. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated, which is why I’m doing most of my creative stuff in the mornings (unlike lots of sexy rockstar artists, I’m a morning person, not a night owl like rockmommy  Jennifer Deale of Camp Crush). And I must say, while I feel like a dork for doing creative stuff at the crack of dawn when most of the good rockstars are sleeping, it feels phenomenal and fulfilling to create again.

[RELATED: 5 Great Signature Guitars Designed for — and Inspired by — Female Rock Guitarists]

I’d love to hear from you gals (and guys) out there. How do you carve out time to be creative? Are you a night owl, or do you force yourself to wake up early/skip other stuff like cleaning to make it happen?

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Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.