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Successful People Make Learning a Daily Habit Effortlessly by Mastering These 4 Tricks

Successful People Make Learning a Daily Habit Effortlessly by Mastering These 4 Tricks

It seems more and more difficult to find people nowadays who love reading books even when they are not forced to.

As soon as we get out of school, we are eager to reject any form of learning, including reading books of our own free will: never reading another book in their life seems to be true for one-third of high school graduates, and even 42% of college graduates follow their path. Very high percent of adults and families also shy away from going into a bookstore, buying a book, and not to mention reading it.[1]

We become so resistant to learning, as we perceive it as an obligation, and as soon as we say goodbye to our formal education, we think – that’s it, no more learning, thanks god. What we fail to understand is that constant learning should be an important part of our lives, as it doesn’t just provide us with knowledge, but improves many other skills and provides numerous benefits.

You Can Easily Reap These 4 Benefits When You Keep Learning

Constant learning can make us more adaptable to the challenges and changes at work and in life and better our problem solving skills

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There are constant changes happening around us, in our everyday life we see so many technological innovations, and you are probably constantly facing changes at your workplace, as every business needs to keep up with this fast-paced modern world. UC Irvine neurobiologists found that learning helps your brain function at a higher level, and thus making you more adaptable to changes.[2]

Learning can make us happier and healthier which helps fight dementia and brain ageing

Gaining knowledge constantly and learning new skills is not just useful, but it is good for your brain as well. A comprehensive study by Thomas Bak[3] dealt with bilingualism and brain ageing. His findings suggest that learning a second language, even later in life, can benefit your brain and delay dementia.

Learning can make us more confident and interesting, which helps with our interpersonal relationships

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Working on your personal growth gives you confidence to engage in social interactions and participate in any conversation, and freely express your ideas with newly gained knowledge. While constantly learning, you come across many interesting facts that you can share with others at social gatherings and thus form many new relationships.

Learning can broaden our views and help us make better decisions

By constantly learning, you are constantly expanding your knowledge base, and are therefore to able to see things from different perspectives. When you develop this ability to approach every situation from a different angle, you will be more confident when making new decisions based on all the knowledge you are continually gaining.

Lifelong Learning Becomes Effortless When You Turn It into a Daily Habit by These 4 Ways

Learning new things might seem as an obligation, but as soon as you learn how to incorporate learning into your everyday routine, the process will become effortless.

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Keep the big goal in mind but do the minimum work

It is normal to want to achieve significant goals when learning, but it might seem overwhelming when you, for example say “I want to learn a new language in 6 months”, and you force yourself to learn 50 new words every day. After a while, it will start to burden you, and you will quit.

The best practice is to have the main goal in mind, but try to break it into sets of smaller achievable goals, and you will thus feel like you are making progress and will be more eager to continue. Decide what you want to achieve in the next month, for example, and the minimum of work you need to do every day. When learning a new language, you can say that you want to read 5 pages of a book in that language every day.

Make use of the “if-then” approach to make your brain feel less burdened

When incorporating new habits, it is often difficult to stick to them and find the time during the day, since we always have something else to do and tend to forget that we planned to learn something. If you want your learning habit to stick, try to connect it with your current routines, instead of trying to change them completely.

To do that, you can use triggers. When you say “Today, I want to learn for one hour”, it is to general as you cannot associate it with any other daily routine. It would be better to say “When I finish having shower, then I will learn” and you will have a contextual clue that will trigger the habit.

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Eliminate excessive options

When having too many options it is difficult to focus on learning – you want to watch something on TV, or you can play some games, or listen to music. Make a decision which period during the day you will dedicate to learning, and set the time aside just for learning. At the beginning of every week make a plan what learning materials you will cover and stick to your plan. Once you get used to the fact that you learn during that certain period, you will do it automatically without thinking.

Don’t just think about the desired result – visualize the process

A study conducted at UCLA [4] found that when visualizing the process and steps you need to go through to reach the desired result, you are more likely to stay consistent. Just visualizing the result and the end goal can make it seem impossible and too far to reach. So, you need to take one step at a time, and first visualize the next step towards your goal, and once you are done with that step, visualize the next step and so on.

Reference

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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