Ep. 48: Tips from a time management coach on accomplishing (or helping our kids accomplish) musical goals this summer, with Elizabeth Grace Saunders

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June 23, 2020

How can I fulfill the desire to learn a musical instrument this summer – or encourage my child to learn their instrument without nagging?! This episode provides practical tips on structuring time to get the most out of summer while having fun and developing life skills. Bonus: Consciously undertaking a musical project will build deeper memories by forever linking the project to this summer!

Elizabeth Grace Saunders


Here to point us in the right direction is time management coach and author Elizabeth Grace Saunders. Elizabeth was named one of the World’s Top 30 Time Management Professionals; she contributes to Harvard Business Review; and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.


  • We discuss the difference between Realistic Optimists, and Unrealistic Optimists.
  • Elizabeth shares on structuring time for parents with kids in music lessons.

Elizabeth’s recommendations:

  1. Establish good routines, and work on your goal early in the day so it isn’t displaced; our default is the path of least resistance, so building effective routines ensures that things happen and reduces the amount of motivation we need to conjure up on a daily basis.
  2. Have clearly defined goals, and not an overwhelming number of goals
  3. Make it a “Third Party Thing” using a chart or app (Elizabeth recommends the Our Home app). Kids are responsible to complete and track chores/completion, and can earn rewards (optional). This process is invaluable for teaching life skill for kids – if they don’t learn to manage themselves now, they’ll struggle in college/as adults (they’ll be Elizabeth’s clients!)
  4. Pay attention to kids’ musical skills – attention is a currency; give positive attention and feedback; demonstrate an interest; ask for a performance of their song(s) at the end of the week; have them Facetime a grandparent or other relative or friend for positive feedback.
  5. Budget time in advance for the week, perhaps on Friday afternoons.



Elizabeth says: I really find that there are songs that have given me courage during this confusing time over the last few months such as “The Blessing” (YouTube video below), “See a Victory,” “Rattle,” and now “Revival is in the Air”. These give me hope and direction and recenter my eyes on God.

“The Blessing” is a new song that just premiered on March 6, 2020; it’s by Elevation Worship and the version most well-known is by artists Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes, which has over 17 million YouTube views:

Closing Words

Thank you so much to Elizabeth for joining us today! I was listening to another podcast this past week that had another interesting take on our topic from today. The June 16, 2020, episode of the Before Breakfast podcast is called “Build memories with a long term project (June 16, 2020).” In the episode, host and author Laura Vanderkam recommends taking on a “long-term project that you can associate with this summer. We are living through tumultuous times, and one way to deepen memories is to consciously undertake something that will always link your mind to this time. If you’ve ever undertaken a huge project, you probably recall when you did it.” And she goes on to explain some very strong memories that she has associated with specific times of her life as a result of a significant project that she took on.

One other thing that is worthy of mention, and that is a book recommendation that Elizabeth includes in her book, The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment. I don’t recall the context in Elizabeth’s book, but she recommends the book, The Exceptional Seven Percent: The Nine Secrets of the World’s Happiest Couples, by Gregory K. Popcak. I took Elizabeth’s suggestion and read the book, and it is hands down my favorite relationship book ever. So, a little extra bonus there, from Elizabeth and me!

If you have any tips on what has worked for you or your family when it comes to structuring summer time and accomplishing musical goals, let me know – you can connect with me on social media, email, and my website.

Thank you for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.



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