Have you ever sat down and tried to read for work or school and wondered if there was a way that you could learn the material faster and not forget what you’ve learned? I have great news, there is! Learning these five techniques will make a world of difference in how fast you’re able to learn your new technique, and how well you’re able to make it stick in your brain afterward.
Measure a smaller unit of success
Let’s be honest, when it comes to learning new things it isn’t always a breeze. You start reading information and a few times you probably comes across something that confuses you or is an area of difficulty. No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to find a way to get yourself to learn the matter.
Your first reaction may be to try and figure out what you don’t understand all at once. When you do this, you slow the learning process down. One of two things will happen: you’ll either never learn to do them well or it will take you a long period of time to do so. Instead, deconstruct the new skill or technique into much smaller components and work on them individually until you can put them all together.
Drill one thing until it becomes a habit, then move on
Each day, train your mind to focus on one thing at a time so you don’t lose focus
Everyone has multiple areas in their life where they’d like to make some improvements. Maybe you want to change your eating habits to be healthier, go to bed earlier, or go to the gym consistently. Even if you’re committed and have the best intentions to work towards your goals, it’s just natural to fall back into old habits eventually.
Each day, train your mind to focus on one thing at a time so you don’t lose focus. When you do this, you stop your mind from going off into a million different directions thinking about all the other things you need to do. It’s overwhelming and can be discouraging. Once you’ve made a habit or reached a new goal you’ve been working towards, then you can move on to the next one.
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Short periods of study every day is better than long, sporadic cramming sessions
When you study a little bit each day, you’re able to go back and review information from a shorter time span which will help you learn faster.
We’ve all crammed our brains with information in a short period of time, especially in college the night before a test at 8 AM. But if you think about it, how much of that information did you actually retain several days later? Probably not much.
You learn best from repetition. If you sit down and try and study for 6 hours and then come back and try to review, there’s a pretty good chance you will have remembered very little. When you study a little bit each day, you’re able to go back and review information from a shorter time span which will help you learn faster. This requires will-power so be strong!
When starting, test many different methods; when growing, stick with one
When you’re starting out with something new, start testing out a bunch of new methods that will help you learn faster as well as one that you enjoy. When you find it lock it down and stick to it. You may find at some point that things are beginning to level out or you’ve hit a plateau. This will be the time that you take a step back and think about the place you’re currently in. Things have changed now, you have changed, it’s time to switch things up so you can keep progressing.
Debrief to avoid making the same mistakes
When you’re learning new things, you’re going to make mistakes along the way no doubt. It’s difficult for some, but this is an important time to ask for help from someone who can show you where the mistake was made and what you can do next time to avoid repeating said mistake. When you mess up, you’re going to want a second pair of eyes on you to help you out. Find that person that will guide and help you jump over those hurdles.
Hopefully, you’ve found the 5 tips above helpful. You’ll notice a significant different in how quickly you learn new things. Remember, no matter how slow you’re moving, progress is progress.
This piece was first published in Life Hack.