Hand planing wood by hand requires us to choose a technique that’s suitable for the specific job at hand, and doing this requires us to understand the wood, the tools and the project in question.
Despite the daunting amount of work, large projects can be surprisingly good practice when learning how to hand plane wood effeciently, because you can often get away with looser tolerances and still end up with a decent result.
Practicing to take shavings is a good first stage when you’re new to hand planes, but I’d encourage you to experience things in the context of a project as soon as you can, because that’s when you’ll get a real grasp of techniques.
This video shows the surface planing (or tarting up) for the underside of one of the top boards for my English Workbench, a very large project.
In this case the wood has a big hump right down it’s centre. The board is very long and flexible so I needn’t worry too much about straightness along it’s length, and being the underside there’s also no need to aim for a perfect finish.
So the goal here is to flatten the board along it’s width and remove that hump. A very slight cup down the centre would also be acceptable, but leaving any of that hump, even slightly would prevent the board from sitting flat upon the frame of the bench.
With this understanding of the intension of the piece, and it’s relation to other parts, you can govern your tolerance and know where you can loose it.
This is not rough, but essential.