Bringing Structure to Unstructured Time with a New Skill


Oftentimes when we lose structure, we also lose motivation. While the recent pandemic has tossed many of our lives into disarray and uncharted territories, this does not mean that you cannot create some structure while staying at home. For those of you who still have a routine, these tips certainly can and will help too! You can take it from me: finding time with my extremely packed schedule to learn a skill took some effort and time management, along with the helpful tips below.

1.) Pick A Skill

Every day we turn on the news to hear a constant stream of disheartening and negative news. It is time to disconnect and learn a new skill (or improve an old one). The first thing you should do is find something you are interested in learning and is reasonable to do so from the comfort of your home. Whether it is picking up a new physical skill, learning a foreign language, or even improving your cooking with some new recipes, what matters is that it is something you are interested in, and you have reasonable accommodations to practice. Skills can often be broken down into smaller skills (I’ll cover this in Step 4). This will make it more manageable and help you set your goals.

2.) Make Time

Once you have found a skill you want to learn, you need to dedicate time to it. You can create structure by reserving a time slot in your day, which you will dedicate to that skill. If you have flexibility, I recommend choosing the time you feel most productive as learning a new skill is most efficient when you can devote your full energy to it. Make sure you choose a realistic amount of time to work on it each day. Make sure to account for any downtime you need when you are feeling exhausted!

3.) Stick To It!

After you have chosen a time, stick to it. Even you are practicing a physical skill and your body needs to rest on some days, you can utilize the time you have set aside for it to immerse yourself in other ways to learn, such as reading up on techniques or watching how-to videos. You could also use the time to re-evaluate or visualize your goals. Establishing the structure and habit will help you along the way to learning your chosen skill.

4.) Break It Down

To help illustrate this point, I will use my goal of learning how to do a handstand press. While at first it may seem like a simple enough goal, once I broke down the skill, I noticed that it has many components working in tandem. You may discover that certain components of your skill are already within your ability!

  • Flexibility (Which can further be broken down into even smaller components)
  • Strength (Which can be broken down into: Core, shoulder, forearm, etc.)
  • Overcoming fear

As you can see above, I have broken down my handstand goal into subcategories. Some of these I have already attained, while others need working on. As a majority of my free time is prior to my classes and work, I have dedicated 30 minutes a day in the morning before work to practice building up my strength and flexibility. On the days when my body is recovering, I will spend that time reading and watching videos related to handstands.

5.) Have Fun!

Learning a new skill can be a fun creative way to add some structure to your time. With time and dedication, you may even end up juggling pins or baking the most amazing cake! I cannot wait to hear about all the skills everyone will learn!


Check out the Virtual 14Y for a multitude of classes to help your whole family develop new skills and pick up new hobbies! Or head to our Community Corner channel for videos from our staff with tips and tricks from their areas of expertise.