By Charlie Doom

We’re still adjusting to the time change here, it’s been hard going. The coffee machine is down for the count; the tech says it wasn’t designed to funnel more than 24 gallons a day, and nobody is quite sure how soon the new one will arrive.

Come Armageddon. Come.

However, this rather dire situation has spawned at least one good thing; we’ve been exploring other ways to stimulate our heads throughout the day – out of desperation, mind you. But with desperate times come desperate measures and that, more often than not, forces you to get creative.

So, in an effort to break the shackles of Daylight Savings, here are a few things we’ve found to keep your mind awake and your chops strong throughout the day:

The Spock Exercise

This is a little challenging and might freak out your friends.

1. Make a Spock sign with your hands — extend ring fingers to pinkies, middle fingers to indexes.
(see the image to the right if you don’t know what a Vulcan is)

2. Transition from the Spock sign to the Westside sign — extend middle fingers to ring fingers.
West-side(see the image to the right if you think Snoop Dog is a beagle)

3. Repeat over and over until you can’t stand it anymore!

Two Handed Finger in the Eye Trick

This will sharpen your hand-eye coordination and it’s kind of fun.

1. Put both your hands flat on a table and spread your fingers

2. Label the fingers on each hand 1 through 5
(I label my thumb as 1)

3. Set a pattern where you lift designated fingers one at a time i.e. 1, 5, 3, 1, 2, 4 do it until you get really fast at completing the pattern cycle, then create a new pattern and start over
Hint: your hands should mirror each other when doing these patterns

Write with your non-dominant hand

a_hand_writing1If you’re a righty, try becoming a lefty and visa versa. It goes without saying that writing with your non-dominant hand is hard, but you can get better at it, just practice. Get really good at this and take note of how it changes your playing.

Gangster Coin Roll

Just like Ol’ Bugsy, roll a coin down the knuckles and fingers of your hand. This will help your fingerpicking and dexterity, just refrain from indulging in poor Cagney impersonations.
1. Find a quarter (50 cent pieces work best, if you can find one)

2. Explaining how to do this is a little involved, so read this Wiki on how to properly roll a coin

Play your guitar for 3 minutes every hour

If your office is cool with you having a guitar by your desk, then keep a guitar by your desk. Just like smoke breaks of yore, take a guitar break every so often, we recommend 3 minutes each hour. That’s enough time to learn one of these 50 Blues Licks and by the end of the day you’ll have clocked in over 20 minutes of practice! Try this one on for size:

Improving your hand-eye coordination and learning how to control your body is the best thing you can do to beef up your chops outside of the shed. And the benefits will go farther than just the 24th fret.

Got any exercises you’d like to share? Post them in the comments!