I learned something interesting from the dentist today, something that was always there before, but today, the lesson resonated so well.
The lesson can be summed this way: How often before how well
Dentists generally start with the question: “How often do you brush your teeth?”
If you don’t give the expected answer , that will be the first and most important recommendation.
Then, you will likely be asked: “How often do you floss?”
Again, if this is not daily or near daily, that will be the next recommendation.
It is only after that do they have the conversation about how well we do it.
The principle here is that quantity typically precedes quality.
If we want to make better art, we have to first commit to making lots of bad art.
If we want to write well, we will need to commit to writing poorly and doing it often.
If we want come up with amazing ideas, we have to be willing to have lots and lots of average ideas.
Similarly, the analogy for productivity is that some hard work and experimentation precedes smart work.
The challenge, however, is making sure that we are conscious of this process and taking ownership of our learning.
Deliberate practice is far more effective than practice.
So, as you are working your way up the learning curve on a new gig, commit to quantity, just show up, plug away and put in the hours for a while.
Allow yourself to experiment, stumble and fall during this time, but, use all these opportunities to soak up the learning and get better.
Then, do better.
Do it more often, and then do it well.
PS: Adam Grant in his book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World writes in detail about this principle of quantity leading to quality.