In sport, you practice the fundamental movements of a discipline. In music, you rehearse the equivalent – scales or other drills. In both, you’re not really accomplishing anything (on the surface, anyway) and you’re not producing anything. There is no finished product – yet.
Drilling it in
Mechanics are drilled in until they become automatic. They become effortless. Very little (a bare minimum) of conscious thought is required to execute. And this has a huge advantage when it comes time to perform. When it’s time to produce that finished product – a performance on the stage or field – attention is available for strategy, communication with other players, or for adjusting to changing circumstances.
The person who practices the fundamentals has a huge advantage over those who don’t. In the heat of the moment, they simply have more capacity to tend to a wider array of items that may require attention, items that it’s difficult or impossible to rehearse. Unpredictable items for which there is no drill. Situations that require more than rote skills. Items that may likely make the biggest difference to the final outcome.
What about work?
So, how can we apply this to work? What things can you study, rehearse, and explore now that will put you in a better position to react to dynamic situations in the future?
It’s probably not scales or free throws, and may prove not to be something rote in nature. But surely there is a way to spend time in the lulls that better prepare you for sudden demands that peak times require.