Is there any more 'efficient'/better ways to increase crafting proficiencies?

Is it literally just as simple as ‘craft items to learn it’s proficiency’ without any way to make it easier? Is there any particular advantage to crafting a few items that take much longer to make or constantly making really fast crafts to increase it?

Proficiency gain uses up focus, and is based on the base crafting time of the item - that means the “optimal” practice craft is one you don’t learn skill from and you’re missing only one prof for to keep the actual crafting time from ballooning.

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That’s great to know, knowing that I should be able to optimize quite a bit better

To add onto what @Venera3 said, it is very possible to learn an entire set of proficiencies over a couple of days using a single crafting recipe provided it is not training other skills while doing so.

For example, I was able to learn Fabric Waterproofing, Principles of Leatherworking and Garment Closures - 3 valuable proficiencies used in many clothing crafting recipes - by crafting the three Leather Pouches required to make a Survivor Harness to carry my rifle in.

Lacking the 3 proficiencies used in the recipe - but being 2 levels ahead in terms of skill - turned 12 hours of crafting into just over 2 days; however, persisting in said crafting made it possible to gain those proficiencies while crafting one thing I actually needed, rather than having to grind some obscure recipe over and over again without actually making use of it.

I can’t tell you whether doing it any other way would have been faster, but I feel the time spent crafting was not spent in vain here. I’m sure you’d be able to find another combination of proficiencies to train that way - for example forging your own set of tools, gaining the Principles of Metalworking, Blacksmithing and Manual Tooling proficiencies all at once.

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It’s also much more efficient to learn proficiencies if you have a book around that gives you some proficiency benefits. You still get the same amount of xp but it takes less time

Why not shut off skill gain for the relevant skill?

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Wait, you can do that? How?

On a less relevant note, I can’t help but find it somewhat pleasing to once again come back to the game and forums to see familiar faces.

I never noticed anything in the books I currently have about them helping with proficiencies. How exactly can you tell?

On the information screen (@), press Tab until you reach the skill section. Scroll down to the skill you no longer wish to train, and press Enter while it is selected. The skill will be toggled off (a different shade of blue), no longer trained and no longer gaining XP for you doing things related to it. This will prevent you from losing focus while participating in activities that would otherwise level you up.

It’s especially useful for when you want to stop losing so much focus on city raids (turn vehicles off) or when you’re trying to level a specific melee skill but don’t want focus to be wasted on the generic melee one. Press Enter again to turn XP gain for the selected skill back on.

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That’s a great thing to know, however I will probably forget at any moment I may want to actually use it.

The one book I have that trains a proficiency states that it does (I haven’t actually read it yet, but I assume it does what it says). This info is in the same section that informs you about the skill it trains.

[0.F stable] “Can bring your fabrication skill to 7. … This book can help you with the following proficiencies: Welding” (Welding and Metallurgy).
However, the 'R’ead screen shown only the skill trained, and might want to be updated to indicate proficiency training.
Similarly, since my skill isn’t at the max level the of the skill trained, it’s listed as the standard blue color for “can train” skills in the pick up screen, but I don’t know if there will be any indication of it still training a proficiency when the skill max level is reached (otherwise it will be yellow because of the recipes included).

It doesn train your proficiency, just helps you with it. Having a book like that around as a reference gives you part of the bonuses for having that proficiency.

Books are what causes the “(mitigated)” note @ missing proficiency (in &). I just tend to pile all my books near to where I craft.