Bullseye Productivity

My meditation practice is important to me. It grounds and centers me, raises my patience, lowers my reactivity, etc. etc. etc. But I find myself drawn to tangential activities--reading about meditationpodcasts about meditation, and other activities that keep me from, you know, meditating! In this scenario, meditating is the "bullseye," and those other things, relevant as they may be, stand the chance of distracting me and/or taking up enough time that I don't wind up meditating.

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The same is true for singers--there are many useful activities within your singing practice. Imagine you are assigned a new opera role--it's entirely valid and necessary to highlight your part, write in translations, do some background research, write in needed IPA, etc. But these activities can not be allowed to distract you from SINGING the role!

I once had a student who, daunted by a new song cycle, devised and re-wrote two or three different practice charts with various strategies on conquering the process of learning a big song cycle. It took some doing to convince her that the *practicing* was more important than the making of *practice charts* [helpful though they are]. 

Balancing our various practice activities is not as easy as it may seem. When I'm faced with a multi-part project, I like to incorporate my watch timer to limit how long I work on any one part of the project. I also try (I'm human, too!) to start with the "bullseye" activity so that, if my schedule suddenly goes haywire, I've at least gotten the bullseye activity accomplished. For instance:

Today I need to: 

  • Practice the first 8 songs of Winterreise
  • Write in the translations for those same songs
  • Do another 10-15 minutes of reading of a few resources I've found about Winterreise

My strategy would be to do them in precisely the order I listed them--they are, to my mind, listed in the order of their direct importance to the end task of SINGING Winterreise. 

Whatever your area of practice, define what the bullseye is, and what lies in the outer rings.