On May 25th of last year I started keeping track of my focused practice time for a few things I wanted to get better at. As mentioned in this post, I was motivated by reading Make It Stick and the idea that getting better at something didn’t always feel like progress simply because it should be hard.
I built a really basic time tracking tool, which turned out to be a really strong motivator. Seeing a graph of my practice time each week made me want to keep focused. Here’s the graph from the past year:
I didn’t do as much as I had hoped but I feel like I made some decent progress. My final numbers were:
guitar: 81 hours (128 posts)
art: 21 hours (39 posts)
chess: 5 hours (10 posts)
vocals: 1 hour (2 posts)
Obviously I wasn’t that focused on vocals and I kind of gave up on chess pretty quickly, but I made a decent showing for guitar work.
I didn’t let myself count noodling while watching TV or going to band practice. This had to be focused practice where I was really trying to learn something new or fix something sloppy or work on a skill I was lacking. I would have liked to hit 100 hours but 81 is still a lot more than I’ve put in any year prior.
Art was a mild success. I did count my time doing Inktober because a lot of that was drawing novel subjects, but a lot of the other work was fundamental practice and sketchbook work. I also spent some time ramping up with drawing digitally, which I now use a lot for Look At Me I’m a Racecar comics.
This Input Coffee project has really been helpful in getting me to work on skills that I actually care about. Over the next year I’d like to hit 100 hours of guitar and branch out a bit to some under-practiced skills I’d like to have.