Adults with Jobs, Spouses, and Kids - How do you find time to advance

dougstrum

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I played a lot in my late teens to mid twenties. Marriage and kids changed a lot of things, but I could always play a bit while finishing my coffee or after the kids were tucked in. I also had one night a week when I got together with friends for music, and occasionally even have a gig.
Kids will grow up and you will still know how to play the guitar 🎶
 

dougstrum

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how much TV do you watch?

i'm not a parent, but i've seen my own parents waste at least two or three hours on it every day after dinner for the last 30 years. TV on and sitting on the couch or in bed from 8-ish to 11. that's like 15-20 hours a week, practically a part time job's worth. i don't even think they are really aware of how much time they blow through.

if you count your time put in and it's considerable, then cut it out of your life, save for a favorite show or whatever. it's not worth it.
Ha! We didn't have a TV in the house till the kids brought one home at Christmas when they were in college 🤣
 

MarkieMark

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I think you just described the primary reasons I haven't "advanced" in 40 years.

And FWIW, I don't watch more than 40 min. of TV a day, multi-tasking during dinner. No sports, nothing.
So that ain't it.

Currently, I run a business, targeted on final retirement funding plans. I am remodeling my house to optimize resale value. I have spent nearly zero time on hobby or "fun" pastimes for... years.

I might hope to get some practice time in when I am front porch sittin' and can't get up without help. If I am lucky.
Thats life.

I still have appreciation!
 

AquariumRock

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When I was in peak "raising kids" years, my guitar playing and physical fitness both suffered. Once my kids were old enough to do things for themselves, things got much better.

Some tips:
Maximize your practice time. 30 minutes of planned, focused growth and learning beats an hour of noodling.

Minimize non-productive time. How much time is wasted with your work commute? Would being closer to your job or having a work-from-home arrangement give you more time? Are you going to the store to shop when you could order online and have things delivered?

Over the last few years, I've become absolutely ruthless about how I spend my time. I give my time equal or greater value than money and I'm willing to spend money to save time.

I can pass money on after I die but I won't get more time.
This is inspirational.

I admit, I am guilty of using my time poorly and then complaining about not accomplishing things.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Charles Bukowski poem, Air and Light and Time and Space, a lot these past years. The last stanza is very appropriate here:

“baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses
for.”
 

lammie200

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Even if you can't practice playing can you listen to music more frequently? Like instead of having the tv on can you have the stereo on instead? Can you do your chores listening to music? Can you do your day job listening to music more often? You may be surprised how well you progress at playing just by being immersed in listening.
 

Flat6Driver

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I used to worry about this. Upping my skills. I'd play out at open mics and stuff. Then 2020 came and I stopped playing out. I was working a lot online and my escape from the house was to ride my motorcycle. The kids are back in school and play sports so I go to their games. My playing is.far less. Oh well. The guys still come by to jam. I'll work on it more when the kids are in college. It's not as important to me else I'd make it more of a priority.
 

1293

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I've advanced in all those criteria by not playing guitar.
 

Deebers

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OP, I used to have the problem of waking my spouse with the alarm. I have found that using the vibrate alarm on my smart watch is a far more pleasant way to wake up for me, and it does not wake her up either.
 

teletail

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I’m certainly not implying in any way that it’s easy, but as an example of what can be done, Stephen King wrote Carrie, his first novel when he was working full time, married and had a child. You find a way to do the things you value. Maybe a combination of 1) kids are taught that daddy gets some time to practice and they need to amuse themselves 2) wife watches the kids for you, you reciprocate so you both have “me” time 3) you get up early, stay up late to get some practice time in.

I don’t know where this thing that parents need to devote every waking second to their kids came from. When we were growing up, our parents had parties we weren’t invited to, went to friends houses for parties without us, did things without us. Just my humble opinion, but I think you can be a better parent when you tend to your own needs as well as your children’s needs.
 

4pickupguy

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Yes. Its tough. I my case I had to stop playing out for about 4 years and finally quit completely, selling all my gear etc for another 13 years. No regrets. My wife and kids needed me completely involved. My situation was unique in that we were taking care of a sick child. Sounds like you‘ve got a plan to keep engaged and growing. Have faith, music will still be there and be fun when you’re ready.
 

Lou Tencodpees

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I got into a ready made family situation at 24 (wife, 4 and 5 year old sons). We both worked. My wife started her job early so I got the kids ready for school, took them to school, drove 30 miles to my job. I often picked them up after school, cooked dinner, did the man stuff around the house (baptism by fire). Musically I had a band that rehearsed (at home) twice a week, played weekends. I was at an age when I still had the dream and worked it fairly hard. When I take it all in totality I honestly don't know how we did it. My wife worked a high stress job with EDS (dating myself), I was already 8 years entrenched into a dead end job that lasted 34 years. The only lesson I've learned is youth is your best friend and not to be squandered.
 

sax4blues

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I had a list of activities which were/are just hobbies with never had enough time to improve to some higher level; music saxophone/guitar, golf, cycling, snow skiing. For me all of them were more about the doing than the achieving. Even if I could have doubled/tripled/whatever my efforts, the result would have just been a more accomplished hobby.

Even today when I do have much more time available, I participate because it's enjoyable for me to do the practice, not because I'm a better player.
 

BrazHog

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v.. e.. r.. y.. .. s.. l.. o.. w.. l.. y.. /// /// /// ///

Focusing on one thing (or less) at a time. Enjoying the journey.
 

Skydog1010

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At seemingly rapidly now approaching 70 YO,
There's not much I have not done that I wanted to pursue. With that said, IMHO the absolute best INVESTMENT you can possibly make, is time with your family, especially children and grandchildren.
Create no debt for toys.
Save every penny you possibly can.
That's my hard earned two cents worth!
 

Maguchi

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Possibly a sensitive subject for some, I don’t know. Long story short, I fit the profile in the thread title, and I am very involved in household upkeep, cooking, and child care. I’m honestly kind of flummoxed at how so many people I know find the time to indulge their hobbies, but I suspect that they don’t take on as much as I do. I think I’ve settled into a good suite of material to stick with for a while that combines fretboard learning, theory, and repertoire effectively (Frank Vignola’s Modern Method/Inversion Excursion from Truefire, Tim Lerch’s Truefire Channel, Martin Taylor’s Artistworks page), but I just have a hard time finding time to really practice effectively. I’d like to get at least an hour a day in, not necessarily all at once, but I’m usually lucky to get fifteen minutes, in which case I just work on a tune. So I’m basically treading water but I know I can be better. I’ve tried waking up early to practice with headphones but my wife is a light sleeper and can’t get back to sleep if my alarm/getting out of bed wakes her. In the evening I’m basically on daddy duty and then when the kiddo is in bed my wife wants her quality time, which I understand.

So I don’t know, what do people do to carve out time for an effective practice routine?
An honest answer is after the age of 25-30 I kept playing but had a lot of things on my plate and didn't advance a whole lot. After the kids were grown, I retired early in Feb. 2019 and have advanced much further in the last almost 4 years.
 

Dismalhead

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I stagnated for a long time on the same plateau; like 30 years as a garage band B guitarist. I actually used the lockdown time to finally break out of the rut. My job was only six hours a day from home instead of the normal eight at work, and I used those extra couple of hours to play. I'd guess I played about 20 hours a week for a year and a half. I'm far better now than I was in 2019 now.

Since I went back to work it's more like 10 hours a week and my progress has slowed, but that's OK.
 

Peegoo

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It's not easy.

When you have too many "must do's," they can take up all of the limited time in your day. Playing an instrument, painting, stamp collecting, etc., all take time to really enjoy. These are "wanna do's" for many because they're a hobby.

But if you can find a way to gain some time in your day and move 30 minutes or an hour of a "wanna do" into the "must do" category, it becomes easier to accomplish without dealing with the guilt of doing so.

For me, playing guitar is a must-do activity because it keeps my mind clear to deal with all the other stuff in life. It is not something that's disposable.

30 minutes of planned, focused growth and learning beats an hour of noodling.

^^^ That ^^^ should be engraved in the cornerstone of every house where a guitar player lives. Similarly, playing live for two hours in front of an audience is better training than six months of music lessons.
 

Skyhook

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So I don’t know, what do people do to carve out time for an effective practice routine?
I don't.
There is no practice.
There are no gigs.
There are no recordings.

I don't exist. Only my results do.

Mrs Skyhook reminds me that I'm the one who wanted more kids, and while that is 100% true
you need to notice the "I'm" in that sentence. As in "I'm the one who wanted more kids" as
opposed to "The dishes that just got done wanted more kids".

So that turned into a ramble. And a downer.
The dishes that just got done should stop whining and start counting some blessings instead!
Problem with "counting blessings" is that it's usually a way to just hang on to the (undeniable)silver lining
instead of dealing with the cloud. I.e "It could be worse"... true but it could be better as well and we lose
sight of that if we chant the "It could be worse" -mantra. It stops improvement.

Sorry about this. Better here than in a song. The stupid irony of that would be awesome though.
A song about not having time/possibility to record songs.

... but you can imagine some angry blues licks between the sentences if you want.
 

Skyhook

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For me, playing guitar is a must-do activity because it keeps my mind clear to deal with all the other stuff in life. It is not something that's disposable.
I believe you.
It's just that I could never sell that well enough for it to work.
 




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