Do you keep postponing your daily music practice, your Riyaz? Learn to stop procrastination
How many times have you avoided practicing your music( Riyaz) by reasoning yourself about other important tasks that you may have to do or convincing yourself how Riyaz is not ‘significant’ enough to be completed at this point in time?
Congratulations, for you are procrastinating. And hey, welcome to the club. It must be good to hear that you are not the only one. Well, here’s some more good news. There are millions out there.
Now it’s time for the bad part. If not acted upon, then procrastination can very well affect your productivity, your efficiency and even your ability to progress normally as a musician- that you want to be……if it isn’t doing it already.
Just for the record, I put off my visit to the music class for weeks and then I decided to tackle the problem rather than brooding over it.
What was stopping me from going to the class?
I have been there several times before this (Yes, I have been gifted with decent vocal chords).
People have in the past several time appreciated my singing and encouraged me to sing for them.
I actually enjoy singing.
The answer surprised me to some extent but shocked me into action. It was ‘me’ who was stopping me from doing it. Sounds weird? Most people are guilty of it at some point or the other in their lives. So what exactly is procrastination? What does it mean?
This was my habit of delaying a task needlessly out of carelessness or laziness.
So, which of these two best describe you? Are you lazy or are you plain careless?
The common symptoms
A procrastinator often spends up more energy in putting off a task than what he/she would have spent in completing it.
The mind gives them constant reminders about the task and the person will try his/her best to put the thoughts away, often eating up one’s own positive energy resource. In simple terms, procrastination is nothing but self sabotage.
Types of procrastinators
Here’s some more juicy insight. There are different types of procrastinators. The first category is relaxed procrastinators and the second is tense-afraid procrastinators. I think the names are pretty self explanatory. But here’s a detailed description.
• A tense-afraid procrastinator will usually avoid Riyaz because he/she is too tensed to handle the stress that the task may bring about. At times, he/she is confused about the importance of the task and is unable to prioritize the step by step patterns to be practiced. In most cases, this leads to further delying.
For example, practicing for the next music class. He/she will be too worried about not being able to complete the music piece and will in turn make frequent trips to the backyard, watch TV, drink coffee and end up delaying the actual Riyaz further.
• The relaxed procrastinator on the other hand, avoids Riyaz only because he/she doesn’t care. They focus their energies on other more enjoyable tasks. A prime example in children is they procrastinate their Riyaz but do not do the same with their Video Games.
It’s just a matter of diverting the energy within the body to something more enjoyable.
So how do we avoid it?
Let me go straight to the point without getting into too many technical details.
1. Admit the fact that you are procrastinating: Yes, the most important step is to accept this fact and then work towards avoiding it. In most cases, we know that we are procrastinating but we keep doing it nevertheless and the situation often gets out of hand.
2. Create a list of ‘to do’ things: Write down a list of all the music patterns that you have been delaying to work on and create deadlines for each one of them. Deadlines have to be realistic (something that you can achieve).
3. Prioritize the list: Not all the tasks that you have written down must be equally important. Prioritize that list now. List the most important phrases first and the less important ones later.
4. Start working on them: Go slow and steady. But ensure that you complete each task and then cancel it out with a stroke on the paper. Keep it where you can see it frequently for it gives you immense satisfaction to see that you have completed the tasks which you have been delaying for so long.
5. Multi Tasking: For Vocalist, you can record the Raga scales to be practiced on a CD and keep listing to it in your car while driving. Listen to the music of the great maestros in your car/iPod and analyze how they progress though their presentation. This will keep you in that mode of music.
6. Reward yourself: Take time and indulge in something that you absolutely love. Consider this to be your reward for completing those tasks.
7. Stick to the ‘write and complete’ schedule: Procrastination is like a stubborn weed. It will keep coming back at you. So get that writing pad and pen and write down whenever you feel that you are procrastinating a task.
This seems like a relatively simple solution to a seemingly complex problem. But you might just be surprised at the effectiveness of these techniques. With time and confidence, you should be able to eliminate it completely from your life.
Author – Amit Diwadkar