If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers

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(Blogger note:  borrowed from David’s Blog:  Highly recommend a visit–great stuff)

“Study Hacks” answers the question “Why elite players are better than the average players?” in his post titled ”If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers.”  Interesting conclusions…

  1. The obvious guess is that the elite players are more dedicated to their craft. That is, they’re willing to put in the long,Tiger Mom-style hours required to get good, while the average players are off goofing around and enjoying life.  The data, as it turns out, had a different story to tell…The time diaries revealed that both groups spent, on average, the same number of hours on music per week (around 50).
  2. 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.
  3. But the researchers weren’t done.  They also studied how the students scheduled their work. The average players, they discovered, spread their work throughout the day.  The elite players, by contrast, consolidated their work into two well-defined periods…one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
  4. The researchers asked the players to estimate how much time they dedicated each week to leisure activities — an important indicator of their subjective feeling of relaxation. By this metric, the elite players were significantly more relaxed than the average players, and the best of the best were the most relaxed of all…furthemore, the elite players slept an hour more per night than the average players.
  5. The average players are working just as many hours as the elite players but they are not dedicated these hours to the right type of work.  And furthermore, they spread this work haphazardly through 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.
  6. This analysis leads to an important conclusion… 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’re the average player…not the elite. You’ve built a life around hard to do work, not hard work.
  7. 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.

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