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4 Learning Strategies Quick Learners Master But Never Told You

4 Learning Strategies Quick Learners Master But Never Told You
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Learning doesn’t just stop when we leave school or university – many of us have goals and dreams that require a level of learning or perhaps just learning new skills for personal growth. Either way, our modern, fast-paced society tends to create a mindset and a need to learn something as fast as possible in order to keep up, and as a result, we often expect more progress and faster mastery of the subject in a shorter amount of time.

4 Steps To Learn Efficiently In Much Less Time

1. Get Over Your Fear of the Unknown

Many people give up quickly on their dreams because the unknown conjures up feelings of uncertainty and threat. Ambiguity brings doubtfulness [1] which creates an unstable mindset. When we think about achieving our dreams, this can be a massive goal killer.

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Many of us are more prepared to give up than face entering unclear and insecure territory because it can cause such emotional discomfort. However, learning to dispel this fear will go towards developing a more determined mindset. Making the effort to get out of your comfort zone and believe in what you’re doing will take you further much faster.

2. Discover Clarity Early On

The more clarity you have,[2] the more motivation you’ll get to achieve your goals and dreams. But don’t get too ahead of yourself as the key isn’t to get clear too far up the path. As we mentioned in the last point, the unknown is always there and we can’t clarify what we don’t yet know. However, making sure you’re clear about the next step or two will keep your brain motivated to carry on and not give up.

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Many times, not having clarity at each step will cause people to delay the next step or give up all together until motivation resurfaces, resulting in slower results overall. Break your learning down into structured chunks; firstly, plan when you aim to get each one done. Once you finish each step, be clear about what you need to do next and how you’ll best achieve it e.g. extra resources. This will streamline your forward movement.

3. Keep Your Purpose in Mind

We all have reasons as to ‘why’ we want to learn something, but we can sometimes lose sight of our ‘why’ along the process. It’s really important to keep coming back to what you’re learning and the why behind it [3], as this helps you to keep your brain motivated. When we start the learning process, there are key stages along the way that can trip us up – whether it’s demotivation or difficulties – and it’s these that slow our learning way down.

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Knowing why you want to learn something can help in elevating your focus and steadying your motivation, as well as help to connect your interests and goals.

4. Learn in Context

This is probably one of the most important steps in streamlining your learning process. Context-based learning helps your brain connect the dots more easily. A perfect example of this is learning a new language. Speaking and practising with a native speaker or going to the country and forcing yourself to speak the language will help with context.

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Whatever you are trying to learn, try to apply what you do learn to real-world scenarios. Not only does this allow you to see just how it works but increases motivation and allows it to click in the brain more easily.[4] Context-based learning also involves making sure you get consistent feedback or coaching as it not only reaffirms what you know, but points out areas of improvement and increases that essential motivation.

Using these simple steps to prepare your mindset and ultimately streamline the process, will allow your journey of learning and growing to be a less bumpy and more efficient experience.

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Reference

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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