Boost your practice productivity with this 5-minute routine

I am thrilled to share my third GUEST POST! Dr. Travis Baird is a musician, yoga instructor, and mindfulness / productivity coach. He is host of Mindful Productive, a highly regarded blog / workshop series dedicated to helping others boost their productivity, both in and out of the practice room. He has incredibly mindful ideas and here, he shares his secrets for being intentional, flexible, and intuitive so that we can feel free to get as creative as we want in our work. To learn more about Dr. Travis Baird, you can visit his website and find him on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter.


Boost your practice productivity with this 5-minute routine

If you ever have a hard time getting started practicing, you’re not alone.

I know that when I feel unfocused, exhausted, or unmotivated, the last thing I want to do is grab my viola and start practicing.

A few years ago, I discovered a routine that helped me move past that “ugh, I can’t focus and don’t want to practice right now” feeling. Now this routine is an essential part of my daily life.

3-Step Pre-Practice Routine
I recommend that you start your first practice session of the day with this routine. It only takes 5 minutes and it’ll allow you to do your best work with greater focus and awareness.

1. Centering Breathing
Allow your eyes to close. Breathing through your nose, take a full and slow inhale. Exhale slowly.

Breathe deeply and slowly for 5 rounds of breath. The goal here is to connect with your body and allow unnecessary tension to release.

2. Mindfulness Meditation
Let your breathing return to normal. Bring your focus to your breath and observe each inhale and exhale. Feel the air move in and out.

Notice when thoughts and distractions pull you away from your breathing. When that happens, observe the thought, pause, and gently bring your focus back to your breath. The goal here is to notice when the mind wanders and then gently return to the point of focus, your breathing. If your mind wanders a lot, that’s OK. Simply observe and return to the breath.

3. Question Meditation
Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” and allow the answer (or multiple answers) to emerge. Sometimes an answer will pop up right away. Other times, nothing will come to mind.

Either way, the benefit to your musical practice comes from asking the question and observing what emerges. Give yourself a minute or two with this question if needed. When you’re ready, allow your eyes to open. You’ve finished my 3-Step Pre-Practice Routine!

Before you jump right into practicing, take a moment to consider what came up when you asked yourself “What do I need right now?” If possible, honor that need or make a plan for how you will meet that need during the day.

I recommend using this routine once each day at the beginning of your first practice session that day. But I’ve also had clients who like it so much that they use this routine before each practice session, so feel free to experiment and make this routine your own!