As you become skilled in a task, its demand for energy diminishes. Studies of the brain have shown that the pattern of activity associated with an action changes as skill increases, with fewer brain regions involved. Talent has similar effects. Highly intelligent individuals need less effort to solve the same problems, as indicated by both pupil size and brain activity. A general “law of least effort” applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action.
Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
…and we say “Well yeah, of course!” Yet, I don’t think we give enough credence to the importance of practicing cognitive tasks, especially when they drive our craft forward. Practice is as important for the coder, designer, writer or manager as it is for the athlete.