When you’re too far away from an event its hard to plan because it’s hard to predict what’s happening that far in the future. When you’re too close to the event it’s hard to plan because there’s no time and various services are already booked. There’s a sweet spot. It’s another analogous graph–where’s the sweet spot in a life or your project?
When you’re starting something–in this case a sustained activity like running or cycling–your heart rate shoots up as you start, and then levels out to a consistent level. Despite its efficacy being a much debated topic, the fat burning zone holds a nice analogy for other projects. They take some effort to get going, but eventually you settle in a rhythm of making steady progress, even if it’s slow.
This is analogous to time spent doing things when learning a skill. At the beginning you can do basic tasks fairly slowly because you need to go through the whole process to get comfortable with it. A you progress you get faster handling those basic tasks and maybe some intermediate ones. As you continue even further the time increases because you can take on more difficult tasks or at least take a more nuanced approach.
You can test nearly indefinitely and still learn something. This graph addresses the marginal quantity of lessons, which is never zero. However, not shown is that the quality and importance of what you learn also decreases over time. At some point there’s a cutoff of where the next lesson you learn is so insignificant compared to the initial lessons that you need to cut if off. Where’s that place for you?
When you test more than one variable at a time, the clarity of the results sharply decreases. This is the whole point of testing–to learn how a single variable affects a system.
As you spend more and more time on something in a single session, you learn fewer and fewer additional things per minute spent. By taking some breaks you can continuously operate in the higher breakthrough region on the graph.
Many times video games let players experience mechanics in an upcoming boss fight in the levels preceding it. This makes the player understand what they’re about to see, even if it’s applied in a slightly different way in the proceeding level. How might you give yourself or others a chance to preview something in such a way that sets the person up for success in the real thing?