One of the biggest problems I have had in the past with belly dance and other dance classes I still do, is really to find the time. I guess you might call it dancers’ time management issues!
It seems like we now live in a world where we are always rushing and where there is so often something else that needs prioritizing over dance. Do you have the same problem? If so, in this article, here are 10 Tips for finding time to enjoy dance.
1. Commit to a Dance Workshop or Holiday
One of the best decisions I ever made was to decide to start going on the Funoon belly dance trips that take place annually in Morocco.
Now, this is not time management on a daily basis, but this deciding to commit to booking these trips for September of each year, has given me some definite dance time and already some great experiences and memories.
I think sometimes, to find the time for doing something you love, you have to commit and tie yourself in, to do it.
You might have read my previous report on the Funoon dance trips with Nawarra to Morocco. If not, then it is worth knowing that they are:
- in a different city or town in Morocco each time
- attended by belly dancers of all levels from countries around the world
- Very well-organized by Nawarra.
You can find her latest dance holidays here.
I am going and you might also want to tie yourself in by committing to a dance holiday.
2. Learning When and How to Say No!
This is a time management technique that my husband wrote about on his blogging for beginners website, but which I am kind of stealing from him as I think it is very relevant and important.
It is extremely hard to say no to those we love sometimes. To our husband, to our children, to our parents.
This is, of course, very good in many respects because we are kind, strong and just great women right! 🙂
The only problem is that we often end up sacrificing some of our own precious me time for others when sometimes we need that self-time.
I love to dance be it at dance classes, workshops, dance fitness in the local sports centre and going on dance breaks.
When someone makes demands on your time and when the task is really not that important, learn to say NO! And start using more time to dance!
3. Not Being Afraid To Learn Dance at Home Sometimes
I absolutely love the social side of dancing and I am sure you do too.
So, the idea of practising dance at home alone I appreciate will not excite all of you.
Using belly dance DVDs and YouTube videos (you have to choose the right ones of course) can be useful for perfecting belly dance movements, such as hip circles and shimmies, and, in this way, you will improve.
This, I find, is in addition to doing classes and workshops and something you can do if you know you only have a really limited amount of time to do some dance.
Dancing for 20 minutes first thing in the morning is actually fun once you get into the habit. It is a habit like most things and, the more you dance at home, the more likely I think you are to extend this activity to also getting out and more involved dancing with others.
4. Setting SMART Goals So That You Understand Where Dance Fits in among Your Priorities
How can you prioritize things in your life unless you are clear on what your real goals are? How can you find time for the things you really should be doing and prioritizing for your spare time?
This is where the concept of SMART Goals can be so valuable, not only in business but also in your personal life.
Finding time to do something is just as much about focus and motivation (as discussed in point 5 below) as it is about freeing time.
So, how do you focus on wanting to do something and how do you free up time for it, if you do not have a clear idea of what you want to do in the first place?
This is why setting goals for your dance practice is vital.
But these cannot be just any goals, they need to be SMART goals, which stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
A generic goal might be: ‘I want to learn some new travelling steps to use for belly dance’. Let’s see how we can make it SMART.
Specific means that you need to give yourself as much information as possible about exactly what you want to do. For example, instead of just saying that you want to learn some new travelling steps for belly dance, find out exactly which type of travelling steps you want to learn.
Watch other dancers (you can find many videos on YouTube, for example), identify the steps that you like, make a list and be as specific as possible. For instance, you can say that you want to do grapevines layered with hip shimmies and arabesque with a hip accent.
Also, to what level do you want to learn the steps? Let’s say you want to master them, so you want to be able to perform them without hesitation and with fluidity.
If your goal is specific, you will be able to visualise it better and motivate yourself to want to achieve it and, therefore, try harder to find time for it.
Measurable means that the goal needs to be quantifiable. You might think, how can I quantify something to do with dance? Well, it is possible! With the example of the travelling steps, you could say that you want to learn 2 new travelling steps to add to your repertoire.
If something is measurable, you will know when you have achieved your goal. If you learn 2 new travelling steps, you have achieved your goal.
Achievable means that it is realistic, something that you can achieve. For example, if you set yourself the goal of wanting to learn 20 new travelling steps in a short amount of time and to perfection, but you lead a very busy life, this is not an achievable goal.
You will not find the time to learn all of them properly, you will feel overwhelmed and you will give up. Instead, if you set yourself the goal of mastering 2 travelling steps, you will be much more likely to achieve your goal and you will feel great as a result. Then, you can set a new goal to learn two more steps and so on.
Relevant means that the goal is applicable to you at a particular time in your life.
For example, if you are a beginner, it is unlikely that you will be able to master a travelling step layered with a hip movement (i.e. doing the steps while at the same time moving your hips) in the short term. Layering is something that you will learn to do the more you practise.
So, the goal of mastering a layered travelling step is not relevant for a beginner but is relevant for an intermediate dancer. A beginner is more likely to succeed if s/he first learns the hip movement and the step separately and then, in the future, combines the two.
Time-bound means that a goal has to have a time target. If the goal does not have a time target, how do you know when you will achieve it?
So, you might decide that you want to learn your two travelling steps within two months from now. If you do not set yourself a time limit, you are more likely to postpone achieving your goal forever (thus never allocating the time that it takes to achieve it).
So, now, your generic goal ‘I want to learn some new travelling steps to use for belly dance’ has become the SMART goal:
‘I want to master 2 travelling steps: grapevines layered with hip shimmies and arabesque with a hip accent (I am an intermediate level dancer, so I am ready to learn layered steps). I want to do so within two months from now.’
Once you have this goal clear in your mind (actually writing it down is even better so it becomes, even more, real), you can start visualising it and allocating the resources you need (including time) to achieve it!
5. Understand the Connection Between Time Management & Motivation as a Dancer
The connection might not be immediately obvious, between motivation and time management and how it relates to being a dancer, but let me explain.
You need to make a conscious decision that you will find the time you need to practice and get involved in dance more or again. You need to believe you will.
Classic time management techniques such as managing your personal email or social media better, such that you only check them once a day, is a great way to free up more time.
But you need to have a clear plan (the SMART Goals discussed above can really help here) if you want to really feel the need to make these changes.
You need, in other words, to really have a dance intention. A dance plan!
Open up a Word Document or an A4 pad and ask yourself and then answer these questions.
In the next 12 months:
- I want to learn these dance styles: [Answer here]
- I want to learn these moves (if any specific ones such as hip shimmies): [Answer here]
- I want to spend X amount of time practising or attending dance classes each week: [Answer here]
- My overall dance plan is to:
- I will achieve this dance plan by doing these things: [Answer here]
Other Articles on Time Management for Dancers
- An article from Pointe.com on dance and time.
- Creative dance and their thoughts on dancers and time management.
- So little time to dance by Dance Plug.
- Pop dance and their take on finding that extra dance time.
- Time management for dance bloggers.
- Time Management training materials for trainers.
Get Involved – How Do You Find Time to Dance?
I would absolutely love to hear your tips, ideas and thoughts on what motivates you to dance and how you yourself manage to find the time you need to keep being involved in dance?
Please post your comments at the bottom of this post! xx Valeria
Hi – I’m Dr Valeria Lo Iacono and I am a dance researcher with a PhD in dance as a form of living heritage. I also teach belly dance and love to travel to discover new dances around the world. I have worked also as an academic and in the UK and in Korea. Thank you for visiting my site.