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Distributing time between applying and learning to accomplish your goal

Let's say you have time t to complete some task g. So for an example we'll say your task is digging a hole that is a cylinder 10m deep with a 1m radius. Given values t and g, what can we say about how much time you should spend learning (i.e. reading a book on how to dig a hole well with a shovel) or applying what you know (grabbing the shovel and digging.)

This is a complex question because often one is not so sure how much can be gained by learning about the subject, if your intuition on how to use a shovel is correct then the book may be a waste of time. However there are a few conclusions and thoughts I've had regarding this problem:

1. As t->0 we want to apply more than we want to learn.

2. As t->infinity it is better to learn than to apply.

3. There is another process one can choose to dedicate time to, merely the one you and i are dedicating time to right now, which is the process of deciding how much time to spend between learning and applying, or in some sense the learning-how-to-learn process. Being stuck in this process could itself be a waste of time, ahh!

In closing, my guesstimate is you should spend 90% of the time learning and 10% applying, all else constant. But you're this question deals with incomplete information, so luck will play a large factor in which decision is correct.

One Response to “Distributing time between applying and learning to accomplish your goal”

  1. [...] quickly. But I discarded this dubious explanation because I am quite aware of the importance of learning before doing.1 The cause of my error comes from a deeper problem: I trick myself into believing I understand that [...]

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