Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bebop Mädchen: Effective Practicing, Optimal Time Management, and Pomodoro for Musicians

One of the areas that musicians continually need to improve in is the art of managing our time, including with practicing, studying, and admin work. On a recent edition of the Bebop Mädchen podcast, Jens Emil Jensen talks about his experiences managing his time as a musician:

For those who aren't familiar with the methodologies that Jens talks about:
  • The Pomodoro Technique is a system of breaking down units of work into 25-minute blocks, with a 5-minute rest between them. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer 15-30 minute break. 
  • GTD is a system developed by David Allen that helps us manage our commitments with a five-step process of capture, processing, organizing, review and engagement. Here's a quick intro to the system
I've been using GTD since 2006, and have found it to be incredibly useful over the long term to organize my inputs and manage my projects. The Pomodoro system is a bit newer to me, but using it has resulted in a noticeable increase in my ability to focus on important stuff and get it completed. 

What can be frustrating is setting aside time but not getting to it, as well as overshooting the time we estimate and getting done way too early. To Jens' excellent explanation of the Pomodoro Technique, I would also add the importance of planning the estimated Pomodoros over the day and reviewing whether you achieved them, undershot, or overshot your estimates, and why. This daily reflection helps to create better estimations over time. Also check out Mike Sturm's The Today System for a related methodology. 

(Image courtesy of Thanos Pal on Unsplash)

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