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How to Learn Smart and Become a Quick Learner

How to Learn Smart and Become a Quick Learner

Do you find you’re envious of people who are able to learn quickly? They seem to get a concept straight away while you’re still trying to get your head around it. We often form the belief that these quick learners are just more intelligent – that their brains are wired to understand and pick up complicated formulas, strategies and concepts more easily.

However, while everyone is different when it comes to learning, being smart has nothing to do with being a quick learner but rather it’s about adopting different learning strategies in order to allow the brain to figure it out more easily.

There are certain tactics to allow you to become a quick learner and proves that intelligence really has nothing to do with it. By learning these strategies, you can quicken up your understanding of a topic and apply it to pretty much anything you learn.

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Adopt These Learning Styles and You Can Become a Quick Learner Too

Learning quickly is all about retaining information more efficiently and enjoying the learning process. Since this is the case, almost anyone is able to become a quick learner so here are 5 concepts you can try out.

Visceralization

When we’re very young we learn through creation – drawing, painting, using vivid colours and visualisation which all fundamentally stems from our imagination. Once we enter our older years at school, we’re encouraged to forget all this and our brains turn to memorisation instead.

But, of course, this doesn’t suit everyone and it’s often the reason why many people struggle academically which plants the notion that we’re just not that smart compared to others.

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Connecting concepts with visual creation is a really good way for our brain to understand better. Don’t be afraid to create colourful pictures and diagrams in order to get your head around something difficult and mundane. Not only does this help with the learning process and connecting the dots, but it also excites the brain and keeps it motivated.

Using Metaphors

The brain remembers things better when you compare an idea or concept with something else. This is where metaphors are a good way of understanding and cementing information. Using one concept to illustrate another will, again, help your brain connect the dots – in other words, it’s about capturing the essential nature of a concept to explain the abstract.

Comparing radio waves to ripples on a water surface or electricity flowing to water moving through a pipe, for example, allows the light bulb to go off in our mind as our brain happily likes applying known concepts to new.

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Linking

If you’ve seen those people who can memorise a whole deck of cards in a random order then you’ll be pleased to know it’s not because they’re much smarter than others. They are using a technique called linking.

Linking is, again, using that imagination of ours. This time it’s using story-telling to link one thing to another to create a flow. If you wanted to memorise a grocery list – oranges, milk, bananas, honey – you could imagine an orange man (oranges) bringing a cow (milk) to a monkey (bananas) who got stung by a bee (honey). The beauty of this technique is that it can help you remember anything from extremely long lists to difficult abstract concepts. The more bizarre, the better.

Total Immersion

You’ve probably heard this technique when it comes to learning a new language fast. The idea is to completely surround yourself with what you need to learn in order to force your brain to use it and make sense of it.

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If you stay in a new country where they just don’t speak your language, then you have to adapt in order to survive. This survival mode and constant repetition quickens up the learning process ten fold because your brain is in constant learning mode.

The Five-Year Old Method

This is an excellent way to find out how well you understand a new concept. Imagine having to explain this new concept to a child or at least, someone who has no idea what you’re talking about! It’s all about being able to simplify what you learn by reducing the complexity and using analogies. So once you’ve been introduced to a new piece of information ask yourself how you’d explain this to someone else. Can you do it?

If you can, you know you’ve mastered it so make sure you stop once in a while and just explain it to yourself in a simple way to confirm that you’ve got it. Most of the time it’s difficult to learn quickly because we haven’t made sure we’ve understood all the concepts along the way. This technique will eliminate this.

So go ahead and give these concepts a try. If you’re struggling to learn something, take heart that everyone has their own style of learning. Don’t be afraid to go back to your childhood roots and unlock that imagination – it will go a long way in helping you learn more quickly.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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