What can you do to learn more effectively? Here are 7 things that can help you in your journey.
1. Form the habit of learning and practice.
A. Make your task easy to jump into
When the task is a mountain, you will procrastinate. Start with very easy goals, and perform them regularly. Then, slowly increase the bar – but only after you have begun to form the habit. Additionally, set your self up for success by making it easy to jump right in.
Example: If you wanted to run you wouldn’t start off running 10 miles a day. Starting with just 5 blocks each day. Additionally, you’d do things like placing your shoes and socks by the door each day so you can trigger the habit.
B. Focus on repetitions not amount of time
Time is not always a great measure of active progress.
Focusing on repetitions allows you to keep your attention on results.
If you were learning guitar, you would say to yourself I’m going to go through the following set of chords 10 times today.
C. Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself for a completing a task helps your brain in forming the task. The idea is to associate the reward with the task.
Every day you successfully hit your repetition goal give yourself a reward; a small piece of chocolate, a warm shower, a pat on the back. Verbally cheer yourself on.
2. Look for holes and mistakes and fix them.
After you have completed a round, go back and identify where you are weak. Then spend some time isolating that area to improve it.
This also applies to finding gaps in your understanding.
3. Get an idea an understanding of the tree of knowledge around the area of learning.
This means understanding the very roots of what you are learning, and why.
This will help you when you are deciding what you should focus on first, and then where you should learn next. The stronger your understanding of the fundamentals, the better you can grow the rest of your tree of knowledge.
4. Continuously apply your learning
To figure out if you really understand what you are learning, apply it.
If you are learning to play tennis, you’d find a partner and play.
If you are learning guitar, you might sign up fro a gig in front of an audience.
5. Isolate key parts of your learning. Change the speed
This applies especially to physical learnings – from violin to golf. Changing the speed to be a slow motion of the action, you can have very isolated focus on every part of the action.
When it comes to learning a more academic subject, you might become hyperfocused on a specific area and really pause to think through what every sentence means.
This applies well to languages. The easiest way to learn a language is to live and breathe it everywhere you go.
It works well for most other learnings too. If you are learning a sport, you might take time to watch professionals play, and really think through what and why they are making each specific move. You would then go back to your game and apply this. If you are learning an instrument, you might listen to great works of music that feature your instrument.
Immersion can be time-consuming, but it has the benefit of allowing you to notice progress – this can be motivating.
7. Find Flow
This flow is a special place where you have the right balance between your abilities and the challenge of the task at hand. It’s those moments when you are “in the zone” … finding this is something you can do.
You’ll want to first get an honest understanding of your current ability and then identify a set of tasks that are neither too easy (you would get bored) nor too difficult (you’d become frustrated).