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Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Morning Check In: the One Minute Habit

I've been thinking about habits and what tiny steps I could take on a daily basis to bring me closer to reaching my goals, and I've started using a technique that I call the One Minute Habit.

I'm not an excited house cleaner. Housecleaning does absolutely nothing for me. It isn't sexy, it isn't something I enjoy or look forward to, and frankly I could care less about it. I'd rather someone else did the work, and I would not hesitate to pay someone else to do it if I had to. So, things tend to pile up a wee bit at my house. It's usually on my goal list that I will tackle one pile or another on my kitchen counter, dining room table, or bathroom counter, but I soon lose interest and move onto another more interesting activity. It occurred to me that I spend quite a bit of time in the general area of these "piles," and if I were to add up the estimated time I spent in the neighborhood, I would have to claim that I spent at least 15 minutes and more likely half an hour. That would be more than enough time to eliminate the piles and keep them from becoming problem areas in the first place.

So I have come up with the one minute habit rules for myself. Every time I am near one of those three piles, I have to do something that takes a minute or less. It may mean picking up something on the pile and either trashing it, filing it, putting it away, or relocating it (this could also be recycling it).

Wouldn't this be a great way to tackle some of our other bad habits? Why not identify 2 or 3 problem areas in our practice and work out some one-minute practice routines that will address these areas. Then at every practice session, why not start or end with one or two of these one-minute routines? It could be a little vibrato practice, spiccato practice, collé or other specialized bowings, or a quick all-purpose shifting exercise. I keep a page of Ševčík in my violin case and use those exercises as a warm up, although his exercises are excellent muscle builders at the same time.

That would bring us one step closer to meeting our goals.

Since writing this blog post, I happened to do a google search, and I pulled up a short post by Adam Dachis, December 3, 2010:

And for those who really enjoy this sort of thing, here is an article from Psychology Today about 10 tips to beat clutter in 5 minutes. Have fun!

Isn't that usually the way it is? I think I'm so clever by coming up with this idea only to discover that someone else thought of it months ago. Well, I'm going to keep putting this into practice -- around the house AND the violin. I've already gone ahead and posted little "one minute!" notes around the piles as reminders to me to get busy for a minute.

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