3 times a week
Consistency is key.
As an avid learner, I've realised that consistency of said activity is more important than the intensity. Obviously, if you have both, nothing can stop you (cue Don't stop me now by Queen). However if you're like most people, you have other priorities and there's never enough "time". Well, once you've realised you do have time and you just need to reprioritise, you might end up doing something at the weekends, on a Sunday evening - sound familiar? If you only do something once a week, if you ever miss that day, you're down to once every 2 weeks automatically. And then to once a month. And then to "Oh, I can't remember the last time I...". And then it's game over.
My new rule now if I want to learn something, be something or generally succeed in something, I'm going to only do it if I can commit to at least 3 times a week. This doesn't mean if I want to write a blog post once a week, I can't do it. It means I need to be writing at least 3 times a week working on it consistently, instead of rushing to get it done at the last possible moment (which is a true story of how my last blog ended up crashing and burning). The 3 times a week doesn't mean I have to spend an entire evening on it. It can be as little as 30 minutes, or less depending on the activity. It has to be enough that I can progress in that session, but that's my only rule. You just need to pick a number and stick to it. At least for couple weeks, if it's too little or too much you can adjust, but don't change the rule every session.
Why 3 times a week?
- It gives flexibility in that if I ever miss a day (for emergencies of course! ;]), I still have many more days to make it up and if I don't make it up, at least I've done it twice already that week!
- It gives you enough time to consolidate the information without context.
- It's not too much that you have to carve out time everyday (although more is almost always better).
- And lastly, most importantly, it creates good habits.
Everything I've ever obtained proficiency in, I had to be consistent in my learning. An intense binge session can be good to get the juices going, but at some point you need to commit to a manageable weekly (or daily) goal lest you lose the juice forever.
Carve out that 3 times week. Today.