How To Schedule Your Time: Making Your Days Count

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Hello, everybody, I have been struggling with this concept for a while now as you all know. I have both a YouTube Channel and this blog plus everyday life that I must juggle.

I decided to do some research on how to get myself on track and wanted to share with you what I found out.

Perhaps you could use some of this information in your life too and we could get ourselves better organized together.

Life is busy. Now there is an understatement if I ever heard one! There is so much to do that we must somehow find time to cram into our day if we want to get everything done.

 

The question is how? I found out the very first step to organizing your time is to make a list of all the things you want or need to accomplish.

We need to define the problem in order to find a solution.

Okay, here is what my list looks like; at least all that I can think of at this moment. I may add more items later if I suddenly remember more.

Make YouTube videos – various topics

Write posts for my blog -various topics

Practice my mandolin

Answer Emails (from YouTube and my blog)

Do dishes

Make the bed

Do laundry

Make meals

Sweep and wash the floors

Play with RCs (sometimes I want to just for fun and not always for videos)

Clean the church

Attend church

Read books

Surf the internet

Sleep

Phew!! I am getting exhausted just looking at that list; no wonder I have trouble getting it all done. Is your list as long as mine? Or longer?

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Next step? Prioritize; what must get done (needs) and what you want to do for yourself or others (wants)

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NEED : Make YouTube videos -various topics

NEED: Write posts for my blog -various topics

NEED: Practice my mandolin

NEED: Answer Emails (from YouTube and my blog)

NEED: Do dishes

NEED: Make the bed

NEED: Do laundry

NEED: Make meals

NEED: Sweep and wash the floors

WANT: Play with RCs (sometimes I want to just for fun and not always for videos)

WANT: Clean the church

WANT: Attend church

WANT: Read books

WANT: Surf the internet

NEED: Sleep

All right, now we are getting somewhere. I have ten items on my NEED list and five items on my WANT list. It’s okay; no need to make sure there are even amounts on both lists.

Different activities take different amounts of time. Besides, I am sure you can expand your wants to fill any time not taken by your needs. LOL 😉

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Now we get down to the nitty gritty and figure out how long and how often each thing takes. An average is okay; no need to define your schedule down to the last minute or second.

It is not nice to put that much pressure on yourself!

NEED : Make YouTube videos -various topics  (this one varies as some videos are easier to make than others. I will call this 2 hours and it needs to happen every day). If I get a lot accomplished I will simply add them to scheduled videos and get ahead of the game.

NEED: Write posts for my blog -various topics (strangely enough this is the same as videos and I will schedule 2 hours every day for this one too). If I get a lot accomplished I will simply add them to scheduled posts and get ahead of the game.

NEED: Practice my mandolin (I should be practicing every day or two for 20 minutes to 30 minutes). Let’s call it 30 minutes for sake of fitting it into the schedule more consistantly.

NEED: Answer Emails (from YouTube and my blog) (I could easily spend hours upon hours keeping up with comments on both my channel and my blog but being reasonable I will devote 1 hour to this task every day so it doesn’t get backed up too far).

NEED: Do dishes (I do dishes once a day after dinner. They take 20 minutes to 30 minutes since I handwash – I don’t have a dishwasher).

NEED: Make the bed. (This one is easy – under five minutes and every morning when I get out of bed.)

NEED: Do laundry. (Usually I do laundry on weekends when hydro is cheaper but the odd weeknight I will have a load that I do at night after 7pm – again to save on hydro. Wash and dry  1 -1 1/2 hours).

NEED: Make meals ( Most meals I make take no longer than 30 minutes to cook and I do that  three times a day if I am lucky; quite often it is twice a day.)

NEED: Sweep and wash the floors (This chore takes me 1 hour and I do it once a week).

WANT: Play with RCs (sometimes I want to just for fun and not always for videos) (As I was saying when it comes to wants I could expand to whatever time is available to me). I would be happy with twice a week.

WANT: Clean the church (This happens once a week – usually on a Friday and it takes my husband and I 30 minutes to tackle all the chores together).

WANT: Attend church (Also once a week, from 11 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. every Sunday) This can expand to 10 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. when hubby is on stage and I run the soundboards to allow for setup time and brief rehearsal)

WANT: Read books (LOL, any chance I get and for however long I can. I have been known to read for hours at a time.)

WANT: Surf the internet  (same as above only surfing the net instead of reading books.)

NEED: Sleep (This has to happen every night. I try to get at least 6 hours of sleep).

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Finally, we are at the stage of putting all of this planning down onto a weekly schedule. A quick chart to post on the fridge would be handy to keep things in mind as you go about your day.

If you work outside the home of course work will also be on your schedule and must be accounted for if you like to do things like eat and have a place to live.

A daytimer or appointment book is useful to keep tabs on what you need to do and when but also consider your smartphone. They are handy and can be set to vibrate or sound an alert when it is time to switch activities.

I believe I will be posting on the fridge and setting my smartphone up as reminders. That way wherever I am I will have my schedule with me.

So, in conclusion, I have tallied up the figures on the various things I need to get done and I can get it all done in 14 hours per day and that includes my 6 hours of sleep a night.

Out of a 24 hour day that leaves me with 10 hours to sprinkle in some “me time” and the things I want to do; that make me happy and fulfilled as a person.

I have just set up all of the “events” on my phone. I now have the times blocked out and can see that there are gaps of an hour here and there throughout in which I can choose to do something off my wants list.

I am not putting down anything in particular for these times but instead will allow myself to gravitate toward whatever I feel like at the time.

This way my wants won’t become another “chore”.

I will write another post to update you on how things are working out for me in about a months time.

That gives me four weeks to get into the routine of things and accurately judge how well it is working; productivity wise and satisfaction wise.

There is one thing I would like to know; if you would be so kind as to leave me a comment, do you have a schedule to get everything done or do you fly by the seat of your pants as I have been doing all this time?

Thank you for once again visiting my blog to read my thoughts today. I do appreciate all the support, my friends. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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A Progress Update: How I Am Doing With My Mandolin Now

 

LOL, I love that Keep Calm And Play Mandolin Meme…that is what is on my desktop on my computer right now; not that I need it to remind me to play. I love this mandolin!

I have picked it up every day; two or three times a day since bringing it home. Oh, and the picture to the right of it is my left hand fingertips after six days of playing. I am not sure you can see it in the photo but the calluses are building nicely.

Below is a picture of me holding my mandolin. I am thinking of making this my profile picture on Facebook and a few other places on the net. 🙂

 

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All of the research I have been doing on the net has been paying off. Not only have I gotten a fine musical instrument and a heck of a deal on everything that it comes with but I have various chord charts for beginners.

There are a few in the instruction booklet that came with the package but the ones from the internet allow me to print them out full size on printer paper.

This way too I won’t have to flip through the book to find a certain chord.

I have a binder that I have plastic sheet protectors in and I put all my photocopies in there. There is even a pocket on the inside cover of the binder where I have tucked my instruction booklet.

As I collect songs that I can practice and play I will be building myself a journal of sorts that will show my progress from beginning to my current level.

This will help keep things organized and let me find whatever I want to practice on, easily.

The booklet that came with my mandolin takes you through the very beginning of everything and you do not need to have any musical experience to play the mandolin.

So, it begins by showing you the various parts of the mandolin, how to hold it, how to hold the pick, and so on. It then talks about keeping time by tapping your foot and how to read sheet music.

I took music theory in high school and a lot of it is coming back to me althought I do prefer to use songs with the appropriate chords above the words.

I find it easier to follow and if I wonder about the beat or tempo I need only listen to a recording of the song to get the idea.

There are a multitude of videos on YouTube showing how to play certain chords or songs and also some on care and maintenance of your mandolin.

It is from one such video that I recently saw that I learned how to lower the strings closer to my fretboard. I lowered the action, as it is referred to, in order to be able to play easier and not hurt my fingers as much.

Don’t misunderstand…they still hurt, just not as badly. 😉  My fingernails are now kept closely trimmed so as to not interfere with the strings as I form the chords with my left hand. I keep my right hand trimmed the same way too.

This is not a huge deal for me anyway as my nails never seem to grow to any appreciable length without splitting or peeling. They never have been long and beautiful until I got artificial nails put on a long time ago.

Then there were the endless appointments to go and have them filled as my real nails grew out underneath them. I must admit that when I had artificial nails I felt more feminine.

I am glad I got rid of them years ago as they would just complicate playing the mandolin now.

As I explain in my update video I just posted on my YouTube channel (Embedded Below) I am now practicing quick licks that Scotty Grove showed me on his YouTube channel. What is great about that is it involves all the chords I have just learned.

This gives me something fun to try and get better at and while I am doing that I am practicing the chords at the same time. It makes practice a lot more fun and interesting.

Please take a moment and have a look at it. It is just five minutes long and you can see and hear what I have learned thus far.

I will be doing further update videos as I am able and when there is a sufficient amount of new stuff to show you.

 

 

I think the next thing I will have to work on, besides the quick licks, is my strumming patterns. Until you play a stringed instrument you really can’t appreciate how much coordination one must have to keep the beat with one hand and the notes with the other hand, at least I didn’t.

It is quite the workout for the brain and I have a new respect for musicians everywhere. When I think of the many instruments this is true of it leaves me in awe of the people that can not only play but with such skill too.

I want to be that good one day with my mandolin. Thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I wanted to talk about today. I do appreciate the support.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section; either here on my blog or on my videos on my YouTube channel. I try to get to every one I receive.

Have yourselves a wonderful day/night wherever you are. Now I must go practice some more and master that F Major chord. 🙂

 

 

Extra, extra read all about it. =)

 

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This is what comes in the box and it IS the same color – Sunburst!

This is an extra post to my usual every-third-day schedule…I just couldn’t wait to tell you guys the big news. I am so excited because today I went and picked up my mandolin at the music store where it was on layaway.

We had the money to finish paying it off and bring it home. I told you I was paying for this myself, and I will be, but my husband is a wonderful man that is fronting the money for me so I can get it sooner.

I will then pay him back. So in the end, I will have paid for it myself because I think that is an important part of my motivation to keep practicing. If I fail to practice and learn I will be failing myself.

First of all, in my other post where I told you all about finding this and hoping to put it on layaway I was mistaken. I thought it was brown not sunburst but it IS sunburst.

I guess looking at so many mandolins on the internet, on our local buy/sell/trade website Kijiji and in the store I lost track of which one it was. LOL, I am pleased to tell you it is the sunburst pattern after all.

Just a couple of hours ago I did an unboxing video for my YouTube channel and it is compiling now so I can upload it later tonight.

I just recently learned how to embed videos in my posts so I have decided to embed the video from my channel below instead of posting a link. Enjoy! Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think. 🙂

This mandolin is just beautiful in person. Since Kevin, my husband, can’t teach me how to play (he has never played mandolin) which has a different string arrangement than guitar I am on my own to learn to play.

I will be learning by myself with the book that is included in the pack plus the various instruction videos on the internet plus printable chord charts, scales, and songs.

The strings on the mandolin are arranged in pairs…from top to bottom the strings are G, D, A and E. and that means notations and chords will be formed differently as well. I am totally psyched to teach myself how to play this instrument.

I can hear you now…sure, sure…they all say that in the beginning. Just wait, though, you will see. As I have told you already, I have an intense drive inside of me to learn this instrument.

The profile is much thinner than an acoustic guitar and the neck is both shorter and thinner than a guitar as well. Those two factors alone make this better for me to play as I found these the biggest factors in not being able to play guitar.

I have already found out how to use the digital tuner that comes in the kit and have tuned all eight strings to perfect pitch. In doing so, I have learned that the picks they include in the kit are too thick for me.

The strings will have to be tuned every time I play, especially since they are new strings and there will be stretching that happens. There will be lots of tuning before they settle down and stay in tune for the most part.

Back to the picks included, they are bulky and awkward. Luckily my husband has a ton of picks he has collected over the years. I am now using one that is .48mm thick which is much, much thinner and more responsive to strum with.

We will be getting more of that size so I can fill up the pick holder that Kevin gave me to stick on my mandolin. These things are good for keeping your picks from getting lost and keeping them handy to grab as well.

I have decided to begin learning by using the instruction book that came with my mandolin. It covers everything from the parts of the mandolin to the basic chords, how to hold the instrument and even has some songs to start practicing.

Tonight will find me once again picking up my mandolin to do some more learning and practicing. Since coming home with it I have played with and set it up with strap and pick holder and tuner.

I have, prior to all that, shot an unboxing video for my YouTube channel and edited it plus editing another video for my channel on how to make homemade beef stew in a crockpot.

On top of all that I have made lunch and now must do some dishes and make dinner. Then I will upload my videos to my channel and  while they are tying up the internet bandwidth I’ll have time to go back to my mandolin.

My fingers don’t hurt yet but I aim to make sure they do before I go to bed tonight. The calluses must be started if I ever want to be able to press down the strings and form chords without pain. 🙂

Wish me luck folks! Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are and thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I am writing about this time. 🙂 You are all AWESOME! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want this so bad it hurts.

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Today’s post comes from the inspiration provided by one of the 365 days of prompts from The Editors here at WordPress.com  You can find them here: 365 Days Of Writing Prompts

Practice makes perfect Tell us about a talent you’d love to have…but don’t.

Okay, from my post on August 28th I think you can guess what talent I would love to have…but don’t (yet). That’s right, I want to be able to play the mandolin.

First, great news to report since my last post about this Fender Mandolin Pack I looked at in Music City. I have since put 20% down on it and it is officially on layaway. I have 90 days to pay it off and bring it home. That could be putting so much a month on it or wait until the 90th day and just pay it off to bring it home, or any way I like as long as it is paid for by or on the 90th day. 🙂

Once I get that mandolin home out of the layaway at Music City I will begin. I know sore fingers are in my future. I will endure and persevere.

The title of this post is no exaggeration either folks. I can feel the need to learn this instrument deep inside. I dream about playing and even have a picture of it on my computer desktop.

I have played instruments in my past. When I was in high school I played the clarinet. I love music and need it in my life.

My music teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, was so impressed by my music theory marks that she gave me the option to pick another instrument after the clarinet and I chose the flute.

Those are both wind instruments though and after years of smoking my asthma is much worse now than it was then. I have tried to learn guitar since high school but failed miserably.

I don’t think I was motivated enough…I didn’t want it bad enough. So I started off fine but soon stopped practicing as often, then stopped altogether.

This frustrated my husband who was the one who bought the guitar for me and was teaching me chords and techniques. He plays both acoustic and electric guitar and just could not understand my lack of devotion.

I would have thought he, of all people, would understand because he had to push through long enough to make it a habit and master how to play. Then again maybe for him, the guitar was to him what the mandolin is for me.

It was his musical instrument of choice; something he felt compelled to play. Perhaps it is just his personality that makes it easy for him to set his sights on a goal and never let up until he achieves it.

I want that so badly…to be that kind of person.

I have already set out the reasons why I think I will stay focussed this time in my other post (the one from August 28th –> Something exciting I am planning… opens in a new window).

Most of all I want to achieve this goal so that I have something to play along with when my husband plays guitar. I also need to redeem myself in his eyes from the whole guitar fiasco so he can be proud of me.

Never have I had this level of determination, this drive, to learn an instrument. Even in high school, it was mandatory for the course to play something. Besides, I had a teacher on my case every school day in the fourth period.

Here at home, it is up to me to keep picking that mandolin up; even though my fingers are killing me, even though I am tired and can’t be bothered, even though I need to cook dinner.

You are all going to be witness to my determination this time. I will probably bore you to tears whining about my fingers or complaining that I can’t  quite get the rhythm down. LOL

Please be patient with me while I develop the discipline to persevere day after day to master the mandolin. I do appreciate all your support when it comes to my blog.

I am almost at the four-year mark since quitting smoking. As of December 17, 2016, it will be four years! If I can do that…I CAN LEARN MANDOLIN. lol 🙂

In this Fender FM100 Mandolin Pack, even a book is included to begin learning with, the chords and even a few songs to learn to play. Plus there are lots of lessons for free on the net.

There is absolutely NO excuse for me not to succeed this time. Once I post that the mandolin is out of layaway and here with me, I give you guys permission to ask me about playing in the comments of any of my posts thereafter.

I want you to keep me accountable. That will help, really! 🙂

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This is what comes in the box but this is not the same color.

I will be making a YouTube video for my channel when I bring it home so you will be able to see it in real life and not just in pictures like these.

Can you tell I am excited? LOL, I am one of those people (the ones when they start going on and on about a topic you just wish they would shut up). I am sorry but I can’t help it. 😦

It was a wise decision to put some money down on the one at Music City. I had my eye on a couple of used mandolins on our local Kijiji website and contacted the sellers. The first one failed to get back to me and then the ad disappeared.

The second seller took a day to respond and long story short after a lot of back and forth texting they said they are out of town until next week. They were also really shifty about the price they were asking too.

Hubby and I agreed…there are reasons why I was not meant to get either of those. That is how we look at these things now; if it is meant to be it will happen. If there are problems then we are not meant to have that particular item.

It may be damaged or about to break, it may be overpriced or just a bad deal altogether. There is always a reason it doesn’t work out.

All right, I will sign off for now and go surf the net for websites to bookmark that has anything to do with the mandolin; lessons, pictures, videos of people playing…you get the idea. 😉

Thank you for reading this far and letting me go on and on about this subject – you guys are awesome. 🙂 Have a wonderful day/night and I will talk to you on my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something exciting I am planning…

 

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This is the color of the mandolin I am looking at.

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This is what comes in the box but this is not the same color.

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See how small it is and how comfortable she looks playing the mandolin?

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This is how big and bulky guitars can be.

Hi, everybody! I am excited and looking forward to buying this sometime soon. I have been looking into learning to play the mandolin and doing a heck of a lot of research. Today I went to our local music store to actually look at one and try it out for myself.

Prior to today, I have done a large amount of research on the internet which includes, but is not limited to; shopping around different websites to see what the average price is for these instruments, watching YouTube videos of both people playing music on mandolins and teaching people how to play also discovering the differences between an A Type mandolin and an F-Type mandolin.

At the music store, I found the package pictured above for $249.99 plus tax (Canadian dollars). I actually held one of these in my hands and plucked at the strings trying to judge how comfortable I would be holding and learning to play one.

Verdict isI am stoked. I want to buy one of these for certain now. From my research, I know that I prefer an A Type mandolin. That is the one in the picture (pear shaped). The F-Type mandolin is like the one on the cover of the book you see in the picture with the weird curl up near the neck and the point on the other side of the neck.

The price point at Music City (the store I went to today) is absolutely great for what you get in the package. There is virtually everything I will need to begin playing and taking care of the mandolin. I need to buy nothing more.

Included in the package is the mandolin itself (which is just gorgeous in person by the way), the padded gig bag to store and carry it in, a tuner (to keep the strings in tune), a strap (to keep it secure while I play standing or sitting), a set of strings (spare set should one break), picks (the proper word is plectrum) and an instruction book with the basics to start playing and some beginner songs to try.

I know that Fender is an excellent company with quality products since my husband has had his Fender guitar for years now and not one problem with it in all that time.

The average price on the net for just a mandolin alone (no extras) is between $100 Canadian  for a cheap knock off to $1,000. or more for well-known brands.

There is some consensus that one should not go too cheap on a musical instrument in order to be sure there is enough quality there to ensure you won’t get frustrated and give up on learning due to breakage.

Over the years I have taken a stab or two at trying to learn how to play guitar. I have the advantage of my husband teaching me as well and I just couldn’t commit to it. I found even the smallest guitar too thick and bulky to get my arm over to strum the strings.

Another issue with learning guitar was the pain in the fingertips when it came to pressing down on the strings in order to form calluses. Yes, I am aware there will be some pain with the mandolin too since it has the same sort of strings but the difference is the mandolin is physically smaller.

The neck is narrower and flatter so it will not be so hard for my hand to stretch around it to reach the strings. The size and thickness of the body of the mandolin are smaller as well, shorter and thinner front to back. My arm easily reaches across to the front for strumming.

The strings are paired on the mandolin as well…not eight separate strings but four pairs of two strings. Each pair is treated like one so it will be much simpler to memorize where the note and fingerings are on the neck than the guitar was.

So what makes me think I can commit to the mandolin you say? Well, I have done a lot of thinking about that and have come to realize the profile of this instrument is thinner, shorter and easier to hold and use as I have just outlined.

There is also the fact that I will be on my own learning to play the mandolin as it is different from anything my husband has or has played.

I think these factors will help keep me inspired to train myself between the book included with the mandolin and the online lessons I can get for free. I am looking for an instrument that I can master that is different.

Kevin, my husband, plays both acoustic and electric guitar. He has played some piano keyboard over the years as well. Our landlord, upstairs, plays the acoustic guitar and the banjo.

I am excited to start learning something new. Plus, I will be sinking my own money into the purchase of this mandolin package. I think putting your money down helps with the commitment end of things – you are saying to yourself that you are serious because you are willing to part with cold hard cash.

Hopefully, I will be able to afford one soon or at least put one on layaway to chip away at the total until one day I can take it home. Cross your fingers for me, guys, please? Until then I will just stare at them on the internet and dream. =)

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