For the past few years, I’ve been curious about how much time I actually spend practicing, so last year I decided to keep a written record of my practice regimen. I made a spread sheet and started logging all my practice hours. I included categories for different areas of practice and recorded everything except the time I spent jamming with other people. I ended up with about 15 categories, not all of them guitar related. For example, I included time spent working on theory, ear training, and dobro.
The year ended yesterday and my practice time came in only 4% short of the goal I had set for myself at the start of the project. I’m really pretty pleased with the tally since I set the bar pretty high for myself.
I spent more time practicing this past year than I ever had before, and I think the simple act of recording my progress had a lot to do with it. Practice became habitualized for me and it drove me crazy to see blank space on my spread sheet. The log sheet also kept me from focusing too much on one area at the expense of another area of practice.
I only intended to conduct this experiment for a year, but it’s become such a valuable tool for me, I can’t let go of it. If any of you guys are having trouble staying focused on your practice, I’d really recommend trying it.