How to make time to practice when you are not just busy… but totally and completely overwhelmed?
At this point, I have no idea. Really.
I am currently learning some great lessons on what it means to be truly busy, overwhelmingly busy actually, and still try to make time for regular handgun practice.
My first lesson was that the word busy doesn’t even begin to cover it. So before I complain about the new challenges I am currently dealing with that have derailed my practice routine I want to confess. I may have underestimated the challenges that many of you face in trying to find time to practice. Yes – even though practicing is important.
Like you, I am normally busy. For me that meant I work close to full time in my medical device consulting business and I deal with the day-to-day business of Live Fire Drill Cards that is my passion. Too much work and all of the family life activities equal very busy, which is our norm as well as most people I know.
Then it all hit.
We bought a 5-acre farm in April which has been a dream of mine for many years. This particular farm was not maintained for 15 years and the farmhouse was a gut job. By the way, at this point I think “gut job” may be the two most expensive words in the English language.
This particular gut job means full renovations. I am learning some hard lessons that everything takes three times as long to do as you first think, that contractors cost twice as much as you hope and that if you can find a contractor, your life will revolve around their schedule. This has led to working 10-12 hours a day at the farm to get the work done because if it isn’t done, we can’t move. And this work doesn’t even begin to consider consulting and LFDC work.
And yes, I have to sell our current home with all of the requisite activities required to get it ready, advertise, market and keep it available to show at all times.
This was overwhelming, or so I thought.
Then my consulting practice activity increased. Then I had to attend two weekend shows in April and May that I had signed up for and look forward to doing each year, and the renovation was still taking every minute I could give it.
Each day I would think, I need to get some stuff done today and I will try to practice tomorrow or next week for sure. And so it went. Now I am 10 weeks without getting to the range. Even with my shooting buddy regularly asking me to join him, trying to keep me accountable.
How does this happen?
Sound familiar? To me, it is a new experience specifically because it completely interrupted an activity I enjoy and that is really important to me – to practice combat effective handgun shooting.
I have believed that people do what is important to them. So is practice really important to me? How important is it really? I had to wrestle with these questions. The answer is yes. But if it is yes, then why haven’t I practiced for so long? I have only one answer and it is a great lesson.
I was overwhelmed. Completely overwhelmed. No margin left. Negative margin.
To a degree, I am not out of the woods yet. I still need to complete our farmhouse, sell the condo, make money to pay bills, have a family life…. but I needed to do some things differently. I was doing nothing to refill my tank – no downtime to refresh.
So here is my new plan to get to the range.
I realized that I was working so many hours that my productivity was suffering greatly. This means that I should be able to do the same stuff in less time if I could improve my productivity. It also means that taking a couple of hours in a week or two should not really reduce my actual output and could actually boost my energy level and give me a mental break.
I am going to take things one step at a time until things get normal busy again. This is my emergency action plan to make time to practice!
- Make a single appointment to shoot within a week time frame. Longer than that is too unpredictable.
- Shoot with a friend so I have the added pressure to show up.
- Set a goal to shoot each week but at least every two weeks. This is what I believe I can actually do right now.
- Go with a plan to shoot specific drills with a goal for learning something from each.
This is my journey right now and I will post a follow-up to report on how it goes. I am stuck with the kitchen installer for the next week but then I am going to figure this out!
What is your experience making time to practice?
Do you have a similar story dealing with being overwhelmed and didn’t practice for a long time? What happened and how did you react? Share your story and tips and tricks you used to weather the storm?
I can use some fresh ideas and will pass the best ones along to help others as well.
Note: This is a follow-up to my previous article “4 Simple Steps to get to the range when you are too busy to get to the range“.