After dropping off the kids at kindergarten and school this morning I found myself having a blissful three minutes of free time before I had to head to the train to go to work.
I turned on my timer, turned off my mind and sat down at the piano to practice the first Invention by J.S. Bach. After the 3 minutes were over, I felt good, I had a short but productive practice session.
In these three minutes I was able to focus on the spots that needed my immediate attention. If I had had 30 minutes I would have gotten more done, no doubt. But it is still better to have 10 practice sessions of 3 minutes than just one of 30 minutes.
Sometimes when I go into my workshop knowing that I don’t have a lot of time, I decide to practice the craft just like a musician would do.
For example I will grab a scrap of wood and plane it flat to an uniform thickness, make the corners 90 degrees, make all faces and edges true and use a smoothing plane to finish the surface.
That is where my (ironically intended) matchbox holder was made. It is nothing more than a little practice session trying to make a piece of wood flat, square and smooth.
I can’t believe how much satisfaction you can have from practicing your skills, especially when you don’t have a lot of time. Because having a time limit can actually increase your productivity.
I make it a point to go into my workshop every day – even if it is just for a few minutes – to work on my projects or, if there is very little time or I don’t have space in my head, to practice my skills.
So this is to all my fellow woodworkers who find themselves with little time on their hands:
Get into your workshop. And practice.
Please give it a try and let me know what your experiences are.