Follow the three rules of deep practice


  1. Schedule consistent practice sessions.
    Consistency is key when developing a new skill, as it helps create a routine. Think about when you are most alert and motivated during the day, and schedule your practice sessions accordingly. For example, if you're a morning person, dedicate 30 minutes each morning to practice. Be consistent!
  2. Chunk up the skill into its simplest components
    Identify and focus on the most basic parts of the skill you're trying to learn. This could mean practicing single notes on an instrument before trying to play chords or working on your footwork in basketball before attempting full plays. By isolating each element, you can give it your full attention, making it easier for you to understand and execute it perfectly. What is the smallest action you can practice right now to hone your skill?
  3. Practice at a slower pace.
    Practicing slowly lets you spot and fix your mistakes, which is great for building a strong skill base. When learning a musical piece, for example, start by playing it slowly. Ensure you understand it correctly first before increasing the speed at which you practice. Then, just gradually increase it as you get more confident in your skills.
  4. Engage in deliberate repetition.
    Focus on repeating each component of the skill carefully and with intention. Remember, it's better to do a few things well than many things poorly. For example, aim for ten well-formed basketball shots instead of rushing through a hundred. After each practice, reflect on what you've learned and how you've improved to make your practice even more effective.
  5. Learn by feeling.
    Pay attention to how it feels to do the skill the right way versus the wrong way. Notice the details in your movements and how they affect the outcome. If your golf swing feels smooth when it's correct, or if a dance move feels awkward when it's not right, use those feelings to guide your practice. Adjust your actions based on what you feel, and you'll find your skills improving more naturally.


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