“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.
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com
Last Updated on September 16, 2019
How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators
You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.
We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.
The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.
Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:
1. Break Your Work into Little Steps
Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.
For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –
- (1) Research
- (2) Deciding the topic
- (3) Creating the outline
- (4) Drafting the content
- (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
- (6) Revision
- (7) etc.
Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.
2. Change Your Environment
Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.
One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.
3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines
Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.
Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.
My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.
Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines
4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops
If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.
Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.
I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.
5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action
I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You
Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.
As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.
6. Get a Buddy
Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.
I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.
7. Tell Others About Your Goals
This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.
For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.
8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome
What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.
9. Re-Clarify Your Goals
If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.
Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?
10. Stop Over-Complicating Things
Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.
Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.
11. Get a Grip and Just Do It
At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.
I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.
More About Procrastination
- 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life
- 10 Best Ted Talks About Procrastination That Will Ignite Your Motivation
- Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)
- What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)
Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com