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Deliberate practice involves constant feedback and measurement

Practicing something without knowing if you are getting better is pointless.

  • Identify the most important metrics related to performance. Keep a record of them each time you practice.
  • Be careful of vanity metrics. For example, if you use deliberate practice to improve email marketing skills to get more customers for your business. An increase in email subscribers is a vanity metric; the number of paying customers is a useful metric.

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Geoff Colvin

"…A critical part of self-evaluation is deciding what caused those errors. Average performers believe their errors were caused by factors outside their control: my opponent got lucky; the task was too hard; I just don’t have the natural ability for this. Top performers, by contrast, believe t...

GEOFF COLVIN

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Defining deliberate practice

Defining deliberate practice

The term "deliberate practice" is mostly attributed to Karl Anders Ericsson, an influential figure in the field of performance psychology. Deliberate practice turns amateurs into professionals. It creates top performers in any field.

Doing something regularly but mindlessl...

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Deliberate practice requires your full attention

The deeper we focus during deliberate practice sessions, the more we get out of them.

  • If you can pay your full attention for only five minutes in practice, then take a break every five minutes. Increase your focus time as you get better.
  • Figure...

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Deliberate practice requires rest and recovery time

Deliberate practice is very challenging and impossible to do all day long. At the high end, top practitioners rarely spend more than three to five hours per day on deliberate practice. More hours often result in diminishing returns. One hour per day is enough for...

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Deliberate practice leverages the spacing effect

The spacing effect refers to how we can better remember information if we learn them in multiple sessions with increasingly longer intervals between them. It is nearly impossible to practice something once and expect it to stick.

Every time you're learning a new part of a ...

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Deliberate practice is challenging and uncomfortable

Most often, deliberate practice is repeated frustration and failure. Similar to a baby learning to walk, we will often fall for every step we take. That is the point. Since deliberate practice targets our weakest areas, it means doing the stuff we're not good at....

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Deliberate practice is structured and methodical

Our nature is to choose the easiest thing. When we practice something a lot, we develop habits that make the task almost effortless. While it may be helpful, it can interfere with our improvement.

Deliberate practice means finding the weak areas that impact your o...

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Deliberate practice requires intrinsic motivation

Persisting with deliberate practice needs a lot of motivation. However, the motivation needs to come from within, not from external rewards or to avoid a negative consequence. We need to enjoy getting better for its own sake.

  • Make a list of reasons you want to work o...

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Deliberate practice aims at constant progress

While engaging in deliberate practise, we are always looking for errors or areas of weakness. Once we identify it, we establish a plan for improving it. If one approach does not work, we keep trying new ones until it does.

In using deliberate practice,

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Deliberate practice: Using a coach or teacher

Deliberate practice is most effective when used with a coach some of the time to give feedback, point out problems, suggest techniques for improvement, and provide vital motivation.

A coach can see your performance from a different perspective. If you don'...

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Limitations of deliberate practice

Deliberate practice is more complex and nuanced than we like to believe.

  • Deliberate practice is necessary but insufficient. Once you reach a high level for any skill, everyone at that level is engaging in a lot of deliberate practice. Then more luck and randomness, i...

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Fields where we can improve performance

Deliberate practice is a universal technique employed in any area you're trying to be the best at or get a little bit better at.

For example, competitive fields with clear measurements such as music, dance football, horse riding, swimming, or chess. But we can also im...

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Deliberate practice takes time

  • Deliberate practice tends to fast track progress, but truly mastering a skill is a lifelong process.
  • There are no examples of people labelled as prodigies that did not put in enormous amounts of deliberate practice.
  • Creative genius tends to come after ten...

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