In a recent FaceBook message, Boris Taratunin shared a link to a Blog by Cal Newport. This remarkable article chronicles the implications of data derived from a study of gifted and average violin students in Berlin. The results are counter-intuitive and have tremendous relevance to how we plan to spend our "productive time."
If You're Busy, You're Doing Something Wrong
In the early 1990s, a trio of psychologists descended on the Universität der Künste, a historic arts academy in the heart of West Berlin. They came to study the violinists.
- The average players are working just as many hours as the elite players (around 50 hours a week spent on music),
- but they’re not dedicating these hours to the right type of work (spending almost 3 times less hours than the elites on crucial deliberate practice),
- and furthermore, they spread this work haphazardly throughout the day. So even though they’re not doing more work than the elite players, they end up sleeping less and feeling more stressed. Not to mention that they remain worse at the violin.
- Hard work is deliberate practice. It’s not fun while you’re doing it, but you don’t have to do too much of it in any one day (the elite players spent, on average, 3.5 hours per day engaged in deliberate practice, broken into two sessions). It also provides you measurable progress in a skill, which generates a strong sense of contentment and motivation. Therefore, although hard work is hard, it’s not draining and it can fit nicely into a relaxed and enjoyable day.
- Hard to do work, by contrast, is draining. It has you running around all day in a state of false busyness that leaves you, like the average players from the Berlin study, feeling tired and stressed. It also, as we just learned, has very little to do with real accomplishment.
If You're Busy You're Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers
These results and recommendations are very consistent with the findings laid out in Frans Johansson's most recent book,"The Click Moment."
Blog Review of "The Click Moment"