No Substitute for Time in - But Perfect Time in
One of my favourite thought leaders and authors, Malcolm Gladwell, studied what made people experts in their field. Through his studies, he found that people who put more time in became more proficient and more expert. His magic number was 10,000 hours makes a person expert. Want to become a piano master? Practice for 10,000 hours. Want to become a great artist? Practice for 10,000 hours.
I took karate for about a decade. My karate instructor said "perfect practice makes perfect - practice alone does not". There is validity in that - spending the time practicing wrong just makes you perfect at doing things wrong.
I also know this from playing internet chess mindlessly. I can put the hours in but get no better. To improve requires focus, study and perfect practice.
I know there is no substitute for time in. I have an organic vegetable garden. If I spend time, it has few weeds and few pests. Interestingly, in this case, mindless puttering gets the job done - no perfection required.
But it is not all about time - it is about energy. I know when I am high energy (like early mornings), I have the focus to do "perfect". When I am tired, I tend to do mindless. So from an efficiency view - anything I can do to increase the amount of energy or high energy hours, the more effective I will be. And if I spend my high energy hours on high perfection task, I will accomplish more.
And the puttering time can still add value to the things that can be accomplished with puttering.
A good friend of mine's daughter did her movie debut in a Jennifer Anniston movie - Life of Crime. I am looking forward to watching it.