How to Find Time to Practice Guitar

Many people find it difficult to set aside time to practice on a daily basis due to jobs, school, family, friends, and other responsibilities. It is possible to find time to practice even with a very busy schedule. It may require you to break your practice session into several smaller sessions or make sacrifices in other areas of your life, but it can be done.

Excuses for Not Practicing

If you are having trouble finding the time to practice, you first need to determine whether it is really because you really are too busy or because you are just making excuses. Many people who claim not to have time to practice spend hours every day engaged in some or all of the activities listed below:

You don't necessarily need to eliminate these activities from your schedule, but reducing the time you spend on them, even slightly, could easily free up 30-60 minutes per day for practicing. There are several ways of reducing the time you spend on these activities if you find it difficult to make yourself limit your time. Below are a few suggestions for restricting the time spent on various activities.

Watching TV

With modern technology like Tivo, it is easy to record a show to watch at a later time. You can also watch many TV shows on sites like Hulu, Joost, and the individual sites of most networks. Watching your favorite shows online allows you to watch them on your schedule rather than watching only when they are broadcast. This makes it easier to maintain a steady schedule for practicing, since you no longer have the excuse of not practicing because your favorite TV show is on.

Surfing the Internet

If you use Firefox, there is an extension called LeechBlock that will block access to a list of sites you provide. These can be blocked according to time, days of the week, and other criteria that you specify. This is a gentle reminder that you should be doing something else at a given time.

Talking to Friends

Explain to your friends and family that practicing is a priority and that you are unavailable when you practice. Some people may be alienated by this, but most will understand. You have control over who you call and instant message. You can also choose to close your instant messaging software or not answer the phone.

Avoid Outside Influence

It can be tempting to miss practice sessions when your friends or family want you to do something instead of practicing. This is fine as long as it happens only once in a while. However, if it happens too frequently, you are seriously limiting your progress because of outside influence. Learn to say 'no'.

The best way of all to limit the time you spend doing these other activities is to not allow yourself to do them until you have completed all of your practice for the day. It's kind of like having to eat your vegetables before getting dessert. Knowing that you can't do other things until you finish practicing for the day should help motivate you to practice.

Practicing Around a Busy Schedule

What if you really are too busy to find time to practice? There are likely several times per day where you have short periods of time that you could use to practice. If you have an extra 5 minutes before school or work, why not use that for practicing? These short practice sessions throughout the day have the potential to be more beneficial than one longer session because it is easier to concentrate fully for short periods of time.

Practice While Commuting

Do you have a commute to work or school? Even if you are driving, it is possible to do certain kinds of practicing. You could do any of the following:

When to Practice if You have a Busy Schedule

Here are some ideas for other times you may be able to get in some quick practice:

Taking Time Off from Practicing

There is nothing wrong with occasionally missing a few days of practice. In fact, you often benefit from it if it isn't done too frequently. You will generally come back to the instrument refreshed and find that you are playing better.