I HAVE TWO HOBBIES THAT TAKE UP MOST OF MY FREE TIME: RUNNING AND CREATING MUSIC.
I have been playing music in some form since I was about 13 (saxophone, guitar, vocals, drums, you name it!). I started running when I was in my early to mid-20s. Upon a bit of reflection, I realized something interesting. Although I have almost 10 more years playing music than I do running, I would consider myself a better runner than a musician. I did some deep thinking about this (during a run, no less), and I came up some insights that I learned during my years of running that I took for granted – insights that just might make me better at other things I love, like playing and making music. Here are a few tips I'm taking into the studio with me to assess how I can be a better musician. Hopefully they can help you, too.
Knowing when to collaborate, and when to Go it alone.
Sometimes a solitary run is a good way to clear your mind, but it's not always the best way to push yourself. At the same time, someone who always runs faster or farther than you is not so motivating. Determine when a partner can help you achieve your goals, and likewise, when their goals are getting in the way of yours.
Ergonomics are pretty important to success.
I've read countless books on running, watched other runners who are fast, and digested much advice on proper running attire, shoes, etc. It turns out that better shoes, better clothing and accessories, and better form have made me a bit faster in time. Likewise, where my feet hit the ground, where my arms move, and the length/speed of my stride have made a great difference to how I feel when I run. Ergonomics are important to what you do, and the more comfortable you are, the better you can perform the task. Reflect on what could be rearranged/moved/omitted/added to make your tasks easier, more convenient, or more comfortable.
Break up your process into different goals.
Some days I go for short runs to work on my speed, and some days I do longer runs to work on my distance. Sometimes the goal is just to get out there (building up the frequency that I run), without pushing to run fast or far. Each of these different types of running helps me to become a better runner in time, and takes off pressure to perform the same way each time I go out. Breaking up your goals can allow you to push yourself in certain areas without it becoming too overwhelming. Figure out what processes do not go together well and split them into separate days.
Concrete, common goals can make you more successful.
Runners tend to know exactly how fast they've run a mile (or kilometer), and as well how far they've run (13.1 is my best so far!) There are some commonly understood goals and benchmarks that are pretty well understood in the running community. Commonly understood markers give you a way to judge your progress against yourself and others. While not all hobbies share that kind of concrete goal, you can make your own. Try committing your hobby's goals to paper so that you have a non-moving target for which to aim. For accountability, you could always put a due date on it and share the list!
Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed it :) I'm off now to rearrange some studio furniture and find some paper...