First off - I'm not the best at practice. I'd like to be, but sadly it's not something I'm good at. However, what I do have to offer is years of experience in getting the best out of the time I do have to practice. Some things have worked for me, others not. Alot of these ideas are work in progress and maybe will change over time. I'm happy to receive feedback or edit this post at a later point.
- Be free from distractions. This is the number one killer of concentrated work. Even if you are only able to work ten minutes a day, do those ten minutes fully focused. Switch off all gadgets and other things that are likely to disturb you. Likewise make sure you have a place where others do not disturb your time and energy.
- Have patience. Practice takes practice. Yes, the greats all worked huge amounts of hours but it's not going to happen over night. Build it up. It can take years for your level of concentration and interest to be sufficient to work those long hours you would like to.
- Start early in the day. If possible schedule time first thing when you are fresh and the mind is rested and ready to work. We all know that the day can go anywhere from there, and the earliest part of the day is the most likely point when work will get done at it's best. Work can happen at night too - but try to keep the more concentrated things for earlier on.
- Plan your practice. Another big time killer is unplanned work. You've woken up early, you are fresh and... you are not sure what you should be working on, and already half an hour has passed. Keep notes and a diary of everything you do so that it's clear where to start off. Especially if you have breaks from practice during the week for other things, this is very important.
- Vary your practice routine. Sometimes working on one particular thing for long periods can kill some of the enthusiasm for work. A change is as good as a rest as they say. Once those scales are done, move on to something else. It's surprising how often this can extend your concentration levels.
- Take breaks. It's been said many times before but this helps alot. When concentration starts to lapse, take a break. Be careful though! Picking up the phone or switching on the laptop is not a good idea. It will fill your mind with other things and won't be restful. Have a drink, take a walk. Anything quiet that rests the mind. You will be surprised also during that silence how much of the work you were previously doing is being assimilated. This in itself can be a topic for another post.
That's probably enough for now. I'll share more tips later on. There are plenty more.