We all know you need to "make time" for guitar. Time isn't going to magically "appear" and say, "Hey, use me for practising and playing guitar." That kind of time only existed when we were in school. And, even then, some of us had so much going on that there wasn't time to practise.
This is thread is not about broad strokes principles like, "You have to make time for it." Or, "You have to want it."
This thread is about specific tactics you've used that have actually helped you play more, practise more or both.
And this is specific to guitar. A lot of advice can also apply to singing, recording, programming, etc but this is "Guitar Talk", so we'll keep it specific so that someone visiting this thread can feel like, "Lekker! This was written for ME!"
I'll get the ball rolling. Here's what has worked for me, in the past:
A guitar duel. When Myron and I did that "point vs paddle" headstock challenge, I had no choice but to force myself to practise.
I set aside a 30-60 minutes at the start and the end of every day to practise those songs. If I didn't? I would've sucked (even more than I did 😃) and I just didn't want to face that embarrassment.
So even though I was busy, the combination of a deadline and fear of embarrassment forced me to make time for guitar.
Jamming with friends regularly. Nothing makes you realise how slow you're progressing like meeting up with the same people every month (or every second month or whatever) and seeing how much they've improved. It really highlights how little progress you're making and, again, the combination of a deadline plus fear of embarrassment will force you to practise. Even if it's a tiny bit.
That's what happened to me with the Garage Days jams. I learned (most of) the bass for Crazy Lil Thing Called Love and then, for months, I didn't practise any of the other songs. And that really felt crap when I showed up without being able to play (almost) anything.
So for the most recent jam, I forced myself to practise a little. It was a tiny, tiny amount of practise but it was more than I otherwise would have played.
New gear. When I got my recent Cort, my looper and some of my other toys, I ended up practising quite a bit more.
This one has nothing to do with fear of embarrassment or deadlines. It's got more to do with that initial dopamine fix you get from playing with new toys. It's very short-lived in most cases. My Cort hasn't seen much love from me in weeks and the same rings true for my looper.
I have to say, though, certain gear definitely helps more than other gear. In general, I play more now that I have a looper than I ever did before.
Over to you!
Did any of these work for you? Got other tactics to add to this list?