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Last Updated on January 29, 2021

How to Learn Fast and Remember More: 5 Effective Techniques

How to Learn Fast and Remember More: 5 Effective Techniques
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Have you noticed that the older you get, the harder it becomes to learn things fast? When you’re a teenager, it seems you can learn endless amounts of information in rapid succession. However, as you age, reading slows down, as well as your ability to remember and recall facts and figures.

As you’ll discover in this article, there are several simple techniques to help you learn how to learn fast and remember more. Once you adopt these techniques, you’ll develop a love for learning that will last a lifetime. This will also increase your overall well-being in life, as well as boost your confidence.

For example, imagine learning a new skill (perhaps being able to speak, read, and write a new language). This could dramatically improve your life. You might secure a new job that requires a bi-lingual speaker. You might decide to retire in a new country that speaks the language, and you might even meet a new partner who falls for your verbal charms!

One thing is certain: Once you begin to enjoy learning again, you’ll reignite your life. You’ll have more energy, more drive, and much more fun.

Join me as I reveal five tips for you to learn more in a shorter amount of time.

1. Keep It Short

Set out to intentionally learn in short bursts with various learning strategies when you want to know how to learn fast. I recommend aiming for 30 minutes once a day, and then building up from there if necessary. This will prevent you from being overwhelmed by trying to take in too much new information, which will get in the way of effective learning.

Some studies, though, have suggested that the ideal study session consists of 50 minutes of studying followed by a ten-minute break[1]. However, every student is different, and you’ll have to experiment to find what kind of learning sessions work for you.

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For example, if you’d like to begin learning a musical instrument like the guitar or piano, don’t try to learn too much, too soon. This will likely be counterproductive, as you’ll not only tire your brain — but you’ll most likely tire your fingers, too!

Instead, speed up your learning by spending half an hour a day on learning your instrument. This will allow you to make slow but steady progress.

The same applies to reading a business or self-improvement book. If you want to successfully digest the key information, then don’t try to read the whole book in one session. You’ll take in much more if you just read a chapter a day.

2. Go Old School

Have you noticed that most learning nowadays involves computers? While this can be a great way to learn, research shows that it helps to write notes by hand with a pen and paper if you’re interested in discovering how to learn fast and remember more.

Writing down what you learn has double the impact, as you’re actually making yourself acknowledge the fact twice, rather than hearing it once and letting it slip away. Also, by writing it by hand, you’ll have more investment and care towards the words you write down as you’ll be summarizing what you hear into key points that will mean something to you later. This will make what you’re learning more significant and memorable.[2]

Personally, I like to carry a notepad with me at all times. This enables me to write down ideas that I come across during the day. It can be especially useful in meetings or presentations, where I can easily jot down key themes to work on later.

3. Take a Nap

Studies show that once you’ve crammed lots of new info into your brain, you can help better store it in your memory by taking a nap.[3] This is because taking a nap (as well as getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours sleep per night) helps keep your attention span and mental alertness at their peak.

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Napping after studying can also help your subconscious mind process the information that your conscious mind has taken in.

So, whether you’re trying to cram for an exam, prepare for an important work presentation, or you simply want to remember the tips in this article, make sure you take a nap when you need to. This will ensure that your brain and memory are both operating at their best.[4]

How Long to Nap

    If you’re still unconvinced by the power of napping, then consider this:

    Researchers from Saarland University in Germany[5] found that a short daytime nap of around 45-60 minutes significantly boosted brain function. In fact, they found that learning and memory could be improved by up to five times. (Now that’s something for you to remember!)

    4. Don’t Multitask

    When learning and retaining something new, it’s vital that you pay attention and put 100% of your focus on the task. If you want to know how to learn fast, one of the answers is to avoid multitasking.

    For instance, trying to learn Spanish while cooking dinner and checking your emails may seem like you’re being efficient—but the truth is that you’ll retain way less by doing this than if you just dedicate a solid 30 minutes to studying Spanish.

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    Years of observing people working in offices has convinced me of the fallacy of multitasking. Sure, it looks like multitaskers are incredibly busy and productive. However, in reality, they’re spending their time and energy in a very unproductive manner. It’s a bit like trying to run, dance and cycle all at the same time—you won’t get anywhere, and you’ll look ridiculous!

    If you’re a multitasker, check out this article: Can’t Focus? Why You’ve Been Doing It Wrong and How to Focus Better

    5. Drink More Water

    When I was in college, I hardly ever drank water, as I was much more interested in drinking Coca-Cola. Not only did these taste great, but I mistakenly believed that their high-sugar content would help keep my energy levels topped up. In reality, these drinks cause a dangerous see-saw in energy and blood sugar levels.[6]

    I became interested in drinking water when not only my energy started to fade, but my overall health, too. It was at this time that it became obvious to me that I was chronically dehydrated through consuming almost exclusively soft drinks.

    As soon as I began drinking 2 to 3 liters of mineral water a day, I noticed a huge difference. I felt much more lively, my appetite improved, and I found that my brain worked better than before. I could learn things easier and quicker, and I also discovered that my ability to recall info was boosted.

    But you don’t need to just take my word for the benefits of drinking water. According to a recent scientific study, drinking adequate amounts of water during exams was shown to improve students’ grades.[7]

    The Bottom Line

    If you want to revitalize your learning ability and discover how to learn fast, then start putting these five tips into action immediately. Sure, it requires a bit of investment on your part — but the results will definitely be worth it.

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    Once you realize that you can remember and recall things easily again, your confidence will soar, and you’ll almost certainly catch the “learning bug.”

    With your newfound drive, motivation, and superpower memory, you’ll be able to tackle things you may have only dreamed of doing before. For example, you could go back to college to study coding or philosophy. You could create a business plan for that company you’ve also thought of starting. You could even start crafting the first chapter of that book you’ve always wanted to write as you speed up the learning process.

    Being able to process and remember information will set you apart from others. You’ll be known as a quick-thinker who always has the necessary facts at their fingertips. What’s more, you’ll start to appear younger than your age, as your quick and agile mind will be more like that of someone 10 years younger than your real age.

    It’s no exaggeration to say that being able to learn fast and remember more will transform your life for the better.

    The only question that remains is: what are you going to learn next?

    More About Learning

    Featured photo credit: Adam Satria via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

    How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done
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    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

    How Serious Is Information Overload?

    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

    This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

    When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

    We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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    The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

    Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

    But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

    Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

    Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

    When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

    How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

    1. Set Your Goals

    If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

    2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

    If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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    • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
    • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
    • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

    If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

    (You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

    Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

    Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

    3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

    Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

    Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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    4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

    The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    Summing It Up

    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

    I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

    I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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