The reality is we’re all learning everyday. We’re soaking up information all day long. Whether it be on the train, talking to a mate or playing the guitar, our brains are absorbing information.
But what if you could introduce a few learning hacks to focus your efforts and learn faster.
It all starts with focusing your efforts on what you really want to do in life. Then you can use certain techniques and mind-sets to make sure you’re getting the most out of your time.
Learn anything faster with the following tips.
Setting Long-Term Goals
The big question is what do you really want to do in life?
Can you see a clear picture of the kind of person you want to be in the distant future?
This is probably the biggest thing you could ask yourself. But, getting that bigger picture sorted will help provide guidance and clarity when trying to make it happen.
Think of that picture as a kind of shepherd and aim high, don’t sell yourself short!
From that bigger picture, you can map out long-term goals. They could be getting a degree, losing 8 pounds of body weight or doubling your salary.
Whatever they are, your long-term goals will involve gaining knowledge.
Throughout your process of learning, keep that picture in your mind. It’ll keep you focused. It’ll get you through the difficult times.
Breaking Things Down Into Bite-size Pieces
Now you’ve got your long-term goals, it’s time to make them digestible. It’s time to break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
What things will you need to do to get to your long-term destination? Will you need to go to more networking events? Study a course online? Hit the gym twice a week?
The great thing about smaller goals is that you’re going to get a buzz out of completing them. That’s scientific fact.
With each success, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. When dopamine flows in the brain’s reward pathway, we get feelings of pleasure, motivation and experience greater concentration.
Scientists have shown that higher levels of dopamine are linked to forming lifelong habits, such as perseverance.
It’s the consistent completion of your small-term goals which is going to make you learn faster. It’s an upward spiral. You can literally get addicted to it.
A Little Bit Everyday
Quite frankly, you can’t escape the fact that you’ll need to put the hours in. The more time you spend doing something, the quicker you get it done.
Pick the same time everyday to learn so you can get used to it. It could be before work or after work. Only has to be an hour at least, but it builds up. Putting the hours in is what counts.
Doing a bit everyday keeps your mind on the task. Doing it at the same time everyday sets a routine. Setting a routine makes you more productive.
Improve Your Focus And Concentration
Making the mind razor-sharp is a big step to hacking your learning. Do you want to absorb information quicker? Get more done during the day? Reach super-human status?
Then, you’ll have to commit to keeping your brain in tip-top shape.
Apologies, but we need to talk the obvious here. You’ve got to pay attention to your health. That means eating the right foods. Garbage in, Garbage out as they say. Drinking loads of water and eating whole foods is the best way to go. Oh, and check out those Omega 3’s.
Here’s another obvious one…. Exercise! There’s an overwhelming amount of research establishing a connection between exercise and the brain. One study discovered that mice doubled the part of the brain associated with memory and learning by running every night for six weeks!
Also, taking a vacation everyday has amazing benefits. Whilst physically almost impossible, meditation allows you to do it, well, spiritually. This isn’t some sell all your possessions and retreat to a mountain type of exercise. Research shows that meditation improves attention span and memory.
Giving yourself 20 minutes a day away from everything will dramatically increase your focus and concentration!
Do A Simple Plan
Create a realistic study schedule and stick to it. Being realistic means giving yourself time for some all-important relaxation time. That ‘me’ time. No, it’s not being lazy, it’s being smart. You need to allow yourself to recover between periods of intense work.
Scheduling relaxation time is called ‘the spacing effect’. It’s known to improve long-term recall.
Practice What You Learn
Do it, do it and do it again.
Ever heard of the saying ‘in through one ear out the other’?
That’s what can happen if you don’t lock what you read into your brain through action.
You need to make it applicable to your life. Taking action wires your brain so that certain behaviors can be easily recalled in the future.
Watching hours of videos about how to do something? Just do that something. There’s more satisfaction in the doing.
The more you do, the more information you’ll hardwire into your brain and the quicker you’ll learn.
Knowledge without action is pretty much useless.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Accept this fact now: There’s going to be things in the way.
Just take the journey anyway.
Remember those long-term goals we spoke about earlier? As you learn along the way, things will be difficult at times. It won’t always go according to plan. You might fail a few assignments. You might not hit your short-term goals. You might be told off at work for being too outside the box.
Whatever it is, one of the keys to learning anything faster is being ready to fail so that you’ll succeed. A speech by JK Rowling at Harvard in 2008 highlights this.
It’s in the perseverance that you’ll get things done quicker.
Those who give up or don’t try at all don’t learn as quickly.
At Douglas Business School, we try and facilitate faster learning with our online programmes. Find out if Online Learning is a suitable option for you.
Download our Course Delivery Guide to see what you can expect from an online programme.