Time Management Tip: What Music Can Teach You About Time Management

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A beautiful song that is pleasing to the ear, a lovely melody that you can’t stop singing, a catchy beat that moves your feet…music is a wonderful Eighth Noteuniversal language. Music can also teach you a thing or two about time management.

The following pointers are reflections from my own musical background: piano lessons as a child, playing the clarinet in symphonic bands, orchestras and quintets through grade school and accompanying lessons as a teenager, with a healthy smattering of music theory in high school and college.

How to Recognize What You Can & Can’t Do in a Certain Amount of Time.

Just as we have standard measurements of keeping time in our daily lives (seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, decades, etc.) music has similar equivalents (notes with different values, time signatures, etc.). I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details of music theory, but in music there are certain constraints or boundaries that you have to follow in order to make a song or piece technically correct. Understanding and working within these constraints is a big part of music theory (which can easily be translated to time management).

Time Management Equivalent: How much work can you physically do in one hour/one day/one month/one year?

How to Effectively Use a Time Keeping Tool.

In music, a metronome is used to help keep a tempo of a musical composition. It’s easiest to think of a metronome as a type of musical clock that is set to a certain speed. For example, if I’m going to use a metronome to help me while I practice a piece, I’ve got to practice interacting with the metronome to make sure I am playing at that particular tempo; such as playing a little faster or slower, etc.

Time Management Equivalent: If the clock says 7pm and you need to travel 30 minutes to be somewhere at 7:30pm, will you leave your home at 7pm or not?

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How to Appreciate There’s a Time and Place for Everything.

Entrances and exits can be tricky things in music. If I am playing a solo part in an orchestra and start playing before or after it’s time for my solo, I probably won’t be heard, or will disrupt the whole flow of the orchestra with my untimely interruption (oops…). I’ve got to come in and leave at the right time for my solo to be effective.

Time Management Equivalent: Ever want to speed up time so that you can get that meeting over and done with? Unfortunately you can’t force time…you have to go with the flow and wait for time to pass.

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.