"It takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master a skill."
This is the much-quoted statement by Professor of Psychology K. Anders Ericsson, Florida State University. His conclusion that experts in a given field have clocked around 10,000 to gain expert level skills has been popularized by Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Outliers: The Story of Success (affiliate link) and is now part of popular culture.
The point that is often overlooked is that we're talking about deliberate practice... practicing in a structured and optimized fashion.
Clocking untargeted, random work for 10,000 hours is useless busy work. It won't matter that you've done it for 10,000 hours, it won't get you anywhere!
What is deliberate practice?
Deliberate practice should stretch your comfort zone, challenging you as well as guiding you to practice what you do not yet know.
Deliberate practice means responding and adapting to immediate feedback and scheduling the next step accordingly, so your skill and memory bank systematically improves.
Deliberate practice blends practice to build mastery and automaticity with introducing new material at the right time. It means working on your goals with high levels of motivation, even the repetitive "drill"-type components of your practice.
Deliberate practice builds memory effectively by scheduling review points in a well-planned cycle, responding to the point you accomplished mastery by moving on.
Deliberate practice means studying for results in a mindful manner. It's at the core of what we do at LearnThatWord, where every session is custom designed to your goals, skills and learning history.