This was a frustrating week in my language studies. My best friend was up from Mississippi and then I traveled to NYC Friday and Saturday. Thusly, I did not get very much studying in. I did however, finish one introductory program this week, which was important.
Vocally, my reason behind going down to NYC was so that I could have a lesson. The lesson was very encouraging. I realized that I need to adjust my aural image of my voice if I want to progress. I have noticed that when one goes a long time in between lessons, the progress that is made may be substantial, however to the singer it seems so miniscule. I had this happen to me Friday at my lesson. It had been six months since my last lesson and while I felt I had progressed, I was sure that it was minimal at best. However I was informed otherwise, which is very nice. I have my new set of things to work on for the next few months. I plan to get down to the City again the next time JRL is in town and similarly like that for the rest of my time until I move.
Scheduling. It is the bane of everyone's existence. A long time ago I read an article in Classical Singer magazine which talked about the concept of place-matting. Unfortunately it was part of a series and I never came across the subsequent articles, but I think I understand the general gist of what the author was getting at. Essentially, during the course of a day, we all have activities that fall into three categories:
1.) Must do (High Priority)
2.) Should do (Medium Priority)
3.) Like to do (Low Priority)
The average person should have about 16 productive hours with which they can accomplish tasks. The idea behind place-matting is that at the beginning of your week you should schedule out your entire week's activities. First, place in your Category 1 tasks (in my case: work, practice, eating, sleep, etc.) for the entire week. Then place in your Category 2 tasks (in my case: language study, exercise, etc.). Finally add in whatever Category 3 tasks fit into the time left over.
This process of scheduling your entire week by priority ensure that you accomplish the things that are most important every week. Truthfully, this is something that I struggle with, but since I have posted it on here I am going to try to get myself to commit to this concept and see how I do. You see that I even schedule sleep into my activities, I think this is very important. If you set yourself a bedtime then you can guarantee yourself the amount of sleep you need every night. I also think that it is important to schedule in free time (this can take whatever priority you want it to). That is not to say that this schedule is inflexible; things happen and opportunities may present themselves at times other than those planned. However, if you can maintain a schedule most of the time you will see your productivity increase greatly.
A great tool for this concept is Google Calendar. The Calendar now has a function that can find a free time block to put your activities. Again, I have not yet started to use this (I intend to tonight) but this will take some of the struggle out of your day.