Consistency and Immersion

The balance between two ways to tackle a goal

Which is better? Brushing your teeth twice a day for 90 seconds each time? Or brushing your teeth every Monday morning for 21 minutes? Or brushing your teeth on the 1st of the month for 10 1/2 hours?

Of course, it's obvious that in the case of brushing your teeth, the consistency of spending a small amount of time more often makes the most sense. It's a Consistent Approach. However, not all pursuits warrant this type of schedule. In some cases, such as learning a foreign language, an Immersion Approach works better. If you were in a foreign country without an interpreter, you would be forced to have high focus and intense motivation for learning that language. When learning new things or pursuing new goals, along with setting a good goal to begin with, choosing how to approach and schedule your time around that pursuit can be just as critical. How do you know what the balance should be?

Most pursuits work best when you use a combination of these two approaches, in some sweet spot on the Continuum along that dichotomy. Learning new skills, gaining more knowledge, or achieving a specific goal is called a Pursuit. The exact days and time you plan to focus on your pursuit is called the Schedule. The type of schedule you choose for planning to focus on this pursuit is the Approach, likely a blend of both Consistent and Immersion ideas, and is a specific point along this Continuum. The overall plan, the Process, consists of these steps:

  • Defining the Pursuit
  • Characterizing the Pursuit
  • Finding the Sweet Spot on the Continuum
  • Constructing the Schedule
Defining the Pursuit

The first step, defining your Pursuit, is talked about everywhere. In fact, there is so much information on "Goal Setting" that you may have to set some goals on how to go about researching "setting goals." This is not something I will address in this article. However, keep in mind, to define your Pursuit, you should end up with one very specific sentence that captures the vision of what the final piece looks like.

Characterizing the Pursuit

Next, to identify where along that Continuum your Pursuit lies, you can use just few key characteristics of your Pursuit. Ask yourself these questions: 

By what date do I want to have accomplished this Pursuit? How much time am I needing to put in?
If your date is much further in the future, your sweet spot lies closer to a Consistent side of the Continuum. If you need to achieve this much more quickly, Immersion is more likely going to be successful. Having a "number" of hours or days you plan to put in can be helpful in the next step when explicitly build a schedule.

Is this Pursuit mostly doing or mostly thinking?
Muscle memory works best on the Consistent side, as we need constant repetition, in small doses, every single day to reinforce what we achieved, and build a little on top of that. However, with intellectual Pursuits, an intense focus, the Immersion, can help us make leaps and bounds, if not after an initial period of struggling at least.

What resources do I need? Which do I have and which do I need from others? How readily available are these resources? Can I utilize them at any time or do I have to work around other challenges?​
If you have all the resources you need and can use them at any time, you can choose to Consistently use them or Immerse yourself with them. You have a choice. However, if others control your resources, and say, those resources are only available once a week, then you have to plan around that. You must use a more Consistent approach. Or say, those resources are only available from now until next month, then you must use an Immersion approach. The key is, you have more of a choice if you control the resources; otherwise, your approach might be dictated by the ones who control the resources. 

Is this Pursuit an extension of skills I already have or is this all brand new to me?
If you are pursuing something that you already have quite a bit of experience in, your learning curve is probably getting more and more shallow. In order to jumpstart a spike in your progress, you might need Immersion, to really dig deep and gain some mastery. If, however, you are pursuing something brand new, the learning curve will be very steep, and you might choose more of a Consistent approach, so that you can allow new skills to "soak in" a little. 

Find the Sweet Spot on the Continuum

Now that you have characterized the Pursuit by answering some pragmatic questions, you can use a more precise scoring system or a general subjective system to choose where along the Continuum your pursuit might lie. 

Constructing the Schedule

All that is left to do now, is to take out your calendar, and write down specific dates and times that fit based on your total time. If you are choosing very to the Consistent side, make sure your dates are frequent in short bursts. For example: every day for 30 minutes for 8 months = 120 hours total. If you choose closer to the middle, but still on the Consistent side, your dates can be less often and duration in each time a little longer, which might make your accomplishment date further in the future. For example: once a week for 3 hours for 40 weeks = 120 hours. Slightly on the Immersion side starts moving the overall time frame as shorter and shorter again, and the frequency back to closer together, while the duration also increases. For example, twice a week for 4 hours each for 15 weeks = 120 hours. And still deeper into Immersion, you can spend less overall time but every waking moment. For example, all day, all in for 3 months = 120 hours. 

By using this Process to pragmatically plan out a fitting time Schedule for your Pursuit, you are more likely to stay motivated and focused, and ulitimately more likely to succeed!


  • 20 October 2018
  • Number of views: 1134
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Consistency and Immersion

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