“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” — Henry Ford
As children, we just couldn’t stop showering our parents, our teachers, and our friends with streams of questions. Curiosity seems to be instilled in us right from birth. However, as we grow older, this inherent sense of inquisition starts to fade away. This is most evident in students who have just graduated from college.
We are curious by nature and there is a little voracious child within us which thrives on as much knowledge as we can get. College is an important place in the knowledge cycle and not the end of it. You can still do many things to keep your journey for knowledge on track.
Below are five effective ways to keep learning after you complete your college education.Advertising
1. Learning A Foreign Language
You always wished to learn another language but something was holding you back. The completion of college studies opens the right doorway for learning the language you’ve always desired.
Learning a second language has social, economic, and mental benefits. It helps to improve memory and make our minds keener.
Try out apps and websites like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Busuu, etc. These are fun ways to study and you can earn points for new phrases you learn. You also can race against your friends. Of course, this requires practice, patience, and perseverance.
2. Building Your Vocabulary
According to recent research, people who have superior vocabularies have superior IQs. And, why not? In fact, words are mere representation of ideas. The more words you have on your side, the more ideas you can express with ease.Advertising
Vocabulary building is not easy at the beginning but if you keep practicing, your word arsenal will certainly become lethal with time. There are plenty of powerful tools available on the Internet to help you learn for free.
Vocabinuse is one of these tools. It features an advanced flashcard-based learning system driven by example sentences taken from world’s top newspapers to help people remember new words in context. It is a must-use tool for those who are prepping for standardized tests like GRE, SAT, ACT, and TOEFL.
Furthermore, there’s a morphology section which breaks down words into root, prefix, and suffix helping you learn the meanings of a lot of similar words in no time.
3. Taking Free Online Courses
Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of the person sitting next to you on the bus? Take a psychology crash course. Always wanted to improve your public speaking? There’s a course for you. Online courses provide you with a more comfortable learning environment and flexibility in planning your study time. In this regard, online courses can be better than a traditional face-to-face education.Advertising
Coursera and edX are among many sites that offer online courses for free, anytime, anywhere. Topics range from social sciences, arts, and writing to artificial intelligence, data science, and programming. You can even earn verified IT certificates from such sites if you complete all of the assignments given to you.
4. Starting A Business
“The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.” — Eric Ries
Entrepreneurship is a life skill. When college is over, you can create a lot of time for yourself and make a business around an idea you’ve always thought would work.
Being an entrepreneur helps you learn a lot of things, like team management, time management, public speaking, and so on.Advertising
Start a business around what you’ve always loved to do, whether it be freelance writing or a tech startup or painting, and you’ll never be devoid of new things to learn. However, blindly quitting your job because you can’t stand your boss and would rather start a business does not always work.
Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup teaches how to get products and services into customers’ hands faster. He explains a scientific approach and a Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop, citing how quickly reacting to customers’ feedback can make a business boom.
5. Learning To Play An Instrument
Playing an instrument is a productive way to unplug yourself from your hectic daily life. Whether you strum a guitar or play keys, it has significant mental, emotional, social, and physical benefits.
There are lots of channels on YouTube dedicated to helping you learn to play an instrument. What’s your favorite genre? Classical, Blues, Rock, Jazz — you name it. You can choose from thousands of videos. If you ask me, my personal favorite are Justin Sandercoe’s free Blues Lessons.Advertising
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com
Last Updated on October 21, 2021
How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness
Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.
Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.
The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.
Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.
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Program Your Own Algorithms
Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.
Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.
By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.
How to Form a Ritual
I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.
Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:
- Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
- Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
- Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
- Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.
Ways to Use a Ritual
Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:
1. Waking Up
Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.
2. Web Usage
How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.
How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.
Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.
One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.
6. Going to the gym
If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.
Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.
Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.
8. Weekly Reviews
The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.
We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.
More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination
- What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
- 5 Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Each of Them)
Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com