Early in my professional life, I struggled with how to balance all the demands of my job and my family, including two small children, not to mention my personal interests and growth. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day. A valuable mentor, with whom I consulted on many topics, told me to look at time as money. This concept is common in the business world of productivity but not so much in the arts. He taught me to put a dollar value on every hour and then to track how I spent each hour.
Did I get my "money's worth" out of how I spent my time? This question became a profound tool for self-evaluation.
This process helped me quickly realize that I was "wasting" valuable time by being drawn into unnecessary conversations, by losing focus and by not carefully prioritizing how my days and nights would be spent. Preparing for the next day in total and not just the next rehearsal proved to be a major shift in how I utilized my time.
My "to-do" list became better organized and completed faster, my score study time was more intense and rewarding, and my family time increased because tasks did not linger into the evening. There were and are still times where the work we do requires a longer-than-normal day due to events and deadlines. However, this "time-as-money" process helped me manage my "normal" days into more rewarding and "profitable" ones.
This article originally appeared in the 2017 V3 issue of Yamaha SupportED. To see more back issues, find out about Yamaha resources for music educators, or sign up to be notified when the next issue is available, click here.