22nd December 2012
If you’re a professional chess player, you’ll spend thousands of hours dissecting the games of better players.
If you’re a promising young violin player, you’ll attend programs like Meadowmount’s brutal 7-week crash course, where you’ll learn how to wring every last drop of value from your practicing.
If you’re a veteran knowledge worker, you’ll spend most of your day answering e-mail.
The main problem is that knowledge workers spend a lot of time doing self-management. Unlike chess players and musicians, they don’t have well-designed, comprehensive plans set in front of them, leaving their only task optimal execution. How much time would chess players have for self improvement if they had to run around finding out what pieces were needed, where they were located, and what rules might produce some sort of game that matches the vague description given them by their boss? Who ever asks a chess player ‘how much time do you thing you’ll need for this game?’ before he even knows what rules and pieces he’ll have to work with? ‘You said it would take two hours. Here it is going on three with no end in sight. I have to have a status report on the Chief Games Officer’s desk at 5:00. What’s the holdup?’