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4 Learning Strategies Quick Learners Master But Never Told You

4 Learning Strategies Quick Learners Master But Never Told You

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.

Reference

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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