After dropping off the kids at kindergarten and school this morning I found myself having a blissful three minutes of free time before I had to head to the train to go to work.
I turned on my timer, turned off my mind and sat down at the piano to practice the first Invention by J.S. Bach. After the 3 minutes were over, I felt good, I had a short but productive practice session.
In these three minutes I was able to focus on the spots that needed my immediate attention. If I had had 30 minutes I would have gotten more done, no doubt. But it is still better to have 10 practice sessions of 3 minutes than just one of 30 minutes.
Sometimes when I go into my workshop knowing that I don’t have a lot of time, I decide to practice the craft just like a musician would do.
For example I will grab a scrap of wood and plane it flat to an uniform thickness, make the corners 90 degrees, make all faces and edges true and use a smoothing plane to finish the surface.
That is where my (ironically intended) matchbox holder was made. It is nothing more than a little practice session trying to make a piece of wood flat, square and smooth.
I can’t believe how much satisfaction you can have from practicing your skills, especially when you don’t have a lot of time. Because having a time limit can actually increase your productivity.
I make it a point to go into my workshop every day – even if it is just for a few minutes – to work on my projects or, if there is very little time or I don’t have space in my head, to practice my skills.
So this is to all my fellow woodworkers who find themselves with little time on their hands:
Get into your workshop. And practice.
Please give it a try and let me know what your experiences are.
4 thoughts on “Time restraints and woodworking”
Great analogy! I didn’t know you played piano. I do agree that when I have a specific amount of time to practice (music or woodworking) I can be a lot more focused and it seems I can get a lot done in a short time.
Thanks for your comment, Brian!
Funny that you have a similar experience when you have limited time, I think it is not a bad thing per se (though I always feel I wish I had more time)
Good advice and food for thought, Rudy. I think there’s a lot to consider here related to our perception of time and making the most of it. An overabundance of available time can sometimes lead to a bit of paralysis, sort of like a blank canvas with no limits. Limits can sometimes lead to increased productivity and creativity.
Thanks a lot for your comment! I couldn‘t agree more, sometimes it is a blessing to be short on time. Though in the basis we all desire more time for our craft, you are right that having too much time can lead to frustration and even idleness.
Finding the perfect balance can be tricky, and is of course greatly dependent on you as a person and your priorities. But tweaking your life to make it have those time limitations available is possible and in my opinion also desirable.
In some way, we are in control of our happiness and creativity/inspiration by letting those limitations not bother us but rather welcome them in as a contrast to what we love to do.
But not having enough time for woodworking can be frustrating when inspiration knocks.
Do you feel that you can devote as much time to your woodworking as you would like to?