Do Less But With More Focus

“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.”

That is a quote from a post on the Study Hacks blog about a study done on elite musicians to see if there was any correlation between the amount of practice time vs the ability of that musician. The study found that all of the elite musicians spent about the same amount of time practicing every week. Butthe most accomplished musicians were the ones that spent a larger percentage of that practice time performing very difficult tasks that pushed their abilities on a daily basis, not just simple practice exercises. Those same musicians that performed the more challenging practices also conducted those practice sessions at two specific times in the day, once in the morning and once in the evening, while the average players spread thier practice times out evenly throughout the day. The study also found that the elite players on average slept an hour more per night than the lesser players and had more leisure time each day. The elite players were found to be much more relaxed.

So what does all of this mean for the rest of us? The message I take away from this is that it is more productive to have a shorter more intense or difficult session than multiple less intense sessions when you are planning a difficult activity. Sleep and relaxation is also very important. In our increasingly digital and always connected lives it is harder and harder for us to disconnect and truly relax and it could very well be having a negative impact on our productivity. So do less, but with a more intense focus and then get busy relaxing. If you need some inspiration for those intense sessions give this Wall Street Journal article a read. Even if you aren’t a cyclist this story about Taylor Phinney’s determination to finish a stage despite knowing he would finish dead last might give you a little push to focus just a bit harder. Taylor didn’t save anything for the swim back…

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.