Practice Better, Enjoy Life More

Practice Better, Enjoy Life More

Practice Better, Enjoy Life More: Quality is more important than quantity in practice.

practicing the bass


Feeling stressed-out and under-accomplished? Perhaps you need to reconsider how you’re doing the work that needs to be done. Research shows that spending concentrated time on a single task has two benefits: the work is done better and you have more time for leisure.

Check out the article “If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers”

Scientists studied the habits of the highest performing musicians to discover the secret to their success. In the two groups of musicians, the “elite” players and the “average” players, researchers found that the amount of time spent practicing wasn’t important.

The difference was in how they spent this time. The elite players were spending almost three times more hours than the average players on deliberate practice — the uncomfortable, methodical work of stretching your ability.

How do we practice efficiently? Staying mentally focused and listening deeply (Hearing vs. Listening) are good places to begin. Consider using different practice strategies for “woodshedding” the hard parts. Blog entries with ideas include

Cal Newport in “If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong” ends his post with these sage words:

This analysis leads to an important conclusion. Whether you’re a student or well along in your career, if your goal is to build a remarkable life, then busyness and exhaustion should be your enemy. If you’re chronically stressed and up late working, you’re doing something wrong…You’ve built a life around hard to do work, not hard work.

The solution suggested by this research, as well as my own, is as simple as it is startling: Do less. But do what you do with complete and hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of the day.

For another article about different research with some of the same conclusions, please visit my blog post Research On Effective Practice Skills.

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