When I started this blog, I wanted to showcase my various interests and talents. The idea behind the title “Versatile Practice” is that getting better at one thing generally helps you get better at other things. This is because global skills such as learning, project-management, and organization transfer into various domains. To help illustrated this process, I’ve created what I call the PRO System (Practices, Routines, and Obligations).
- Practices (Creative). This process involves learning, interpreting, and generating ideas. I’m working on developing a model for smart practice for my forthcoming e-book on Gig-Ready Jazz Bassist, so I’ve been thinking about this part the most. My own practices include music (bass, jazz, other instruments, etc.), speaking (primarily via teaching, with some interest in stand-up comedy), visual design (comics, cross-stitch, instructional materials, etc.), and writing (blogging, publications, etc.)
- Routines (Productive and/or Restorative). These are things that are good habits, but don’t necessarily lead to creative outcomes as with practices. The key here is to create a flexible schedule for each routine, with the idea that you will be consistent, but occasionally disrupted. My own routines include diet (which I’ve blogged about recently), hot yoga, sleep (which more and more books are pointing out is critical for productivity), and to-do’s (the process or streamlining my various chores, errands, and other tasks).
- Obligations (Cooperative). Obligation kinda sounds like a bad thing, but I believe a lot of our happiness and satisfaction comes from honoring our responsibilities to others. The trick with this is creating margin (reserves of both time and energy) to fulfill these obligations (hence the need to streamline practices and optimize routines). My obligations include care-taking (admittedly, my only charge right now is a very spoiled cat), relationships (friends, family, etc.), service (which I hope to eventually engage in more through volunteerism and philanthropy), and work (including my duties to students, colleagues, and audiences).
Looking back at last week’s Choosing Five Projects, I’m able to see how these goals (and future ones) fit into the PRO System. They are, with corresponding parts of the PRO System:
- Stick to my diet (Routines > Diet)
- Memorize 50 tunes (Practices > Music)
- Revise e-book draft (Practices > Music, Visual Design, and Writing)
- Blog 4x/week (Practices > Music, Visual Design, and Writing)
- Create a budget (Routines > To-Do’s)
Notably absent from this list is any goals related to Obligations. But I’m hoping that I will be able to make this kind of goal in future rounds of goal-setting.
In future posts, I hope to use this PRO System to better connect my different interests and activities.
Do you struggle to balance these three areas? Are you, like me with Obligations, lacking in a specific area?