All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
We have all heard this quote before, and know that to have a well-rounded persona we should have a wide variety of skills and activities we enjoy.
Learning a musical instrument promotes lateral thinking
When learning an instrument or difficult piece of music, often we can get stumped at times. Logically we know what to do in order to get the right notes out at the right time, but for some reason it just doesn’t work as planned.Advertising
When this happens, the music teacher and the student need to think laterally to get around the problem. Thinking creatively to come up with new solutions such as a different practise technique, or a different way of interpreting the music, is essential to progress.
This skill of lateral thinking is so useful in everyday life. Lateral thinkers are better problem solvers.
Playing music engages the left and right brain
Reading music is like reading another language, and the technique involved in playing an instrument requires the same mindset as learning any other skill. When that is combined with conveying emotion and expression through music-making, we get the wonderful benefit of both left and right hemispheres of the brain working together.Advertising
The idea we are using our brains to a great capacity like this whilst doing just one activity is quite extraordinary.
Learning a musical instrument teaches you coordination
To play a musical instrument, your left and right hands need to operate independently. If you play a wind instrument, you also need to coordinate breathing, air flow and articulation. If you play piano, organ or drumkit, your feet also need to work independently.
The fine motor skills learned while playing an instrument can easily transfer to other aspects of your life, for example fast touch typing, playing sport, and multitasking in the workplace.Advertising
Studying music and a musical instrument encourages drive and determination
Learning a musical instrument can be difficult at times. We need to put in time and effort into learning how to read the music, how to technically play the instrument, and how to put it all together so it actually sounds good.
In order to sound good, you need to practice regularly and consistently. Ten minutes a day is enough to improve, but we still need the drive and determination to continue when things get difficult.
Once we learn drive and determination, and how to stick to something, this skill stays with us for life. We can easily use this skill in furthering our career, toughing out hard situations in life, and even in taking up a sport and learning to become better at that.Advertising
Music promotes our well-being
We all need balance in our lives to create a sense of happiness and feel better about ourselves. If we are intently focused on work and career then we lose this balance. By learning or even listening to music, we engage our creativity, which puts us in a state of flow. Being in a state of flow is similar to meditation, in that it relaxes us, increases happiness, and of course, improves our well-being.
These are only five points on how learning a musical instrument makes us a well-rounded person, and already we can see just what a big difference these points can make in our every-day life.
You are never too old to take up a musical instrument. I have taught people well into their 60’s and they all do well. If there was ever an instrument you wished you could play, now is a great time to learn!
Featured photo credit: Tekke / Und damals im Ferienlager …. via flickr.com
Last Updated on November 19, 2019
20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity
Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?
If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:
1. Create a Daily Plan
Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.
2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task
Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.
3. Use a Calendar
Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.
I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .
Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space
4. Use an Organizer
An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.
These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.
5. Know Your Deadlines
When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.
But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.
6. Learn to Say “No”
Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.
Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No
7. Target to Be Early
When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.
For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.
Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.
8. Time Box Your Activities
This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.
You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.
9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You
Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.
10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before
Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.
You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)
Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.
Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.
Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)
12. Block out Distractions
What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?
I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.
When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.
Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done
13. Track Your Time Spent
When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.
You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.
14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details
You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.
Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.
Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster
If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.
When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)
17. Batch Similar Tasks Together
For related work, batch them together.
For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:
- writing (articles, my upcoming book)
- workshop development
- business development
I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.
18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters
What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.
One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.
While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.
19. Cut off When You Need To
The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.
Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.
20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between
Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.
More Time Management Techniques
- 10 Practical Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills
- 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity
- How to Be Productive at Work: 9 Ground Rules
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com