I have a fairly active brain. Stuff's always popping in there. If my mind isn't immersed in what I'm practicing (i.e. running through something I already know, sight reading, warming up), I get all sorts of half-baked ideas that must be pursued immediately. Some examples:

  • I ought to memorize all the 2-letter words in the official Scrabble dictionary.
  • I wonder if there's anything good and cheap on Craigslist today?
  • I'm hungry.
  • Is there a pool close to LAMA where I could swim laps next year?
  • Could I program my own neural network to predict stock prices?
  • I should put all of Spin Magazine's top 40 album lists into a Rhapsody playlist. That would be an excellent use of 3 hours.
  • If the gov't funds health care, then of course it's in their best interest to protect us from ourselves. Down the slippery slope of seat belt laws and smoking bans we go.
  • When's the next Blue Judy show?

Too often, my practice schedule is sacrificed as I run to Google for answers to these pressing questions. My train of thought is diverted to tangent after tangent until I realize what horrors I've committed. Must heed the sign. I feel like Ray Stantz, choosing the form of the destructor. "It just popped in there."

I think I finally found a solution. I budget time every day for this type of screwing off, Googling, reading news, etc. While I'm practicing, I keep a notepad and pen available to jot down ideas for later. Then I have a list of things to do when break time arrives, and I haven't lost more than a few moments of practice over it.

This technique has been working wonders for a few weeks. I usually fill a page with this garbage every day. I also now have a massive queue of Wikipedia pages to read on guitar, libertarianism, chess, and poker.