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New eBook from Lifehack: Back to Basics Productivity

New eBook from Lifehack: Back to Basics Productivity

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    This is an important day for me – after months of preparation, I can finally announce the launch of our new ebook store and our first title, Back to Basics Productivity!

    Back to Basics Productivity

    The easy way to get more done in less time so you can concentrate on living your life

    If you’re looking for down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts advice on how to make your work and your life better organized, less stressful, and more productive, Back to Basics Productivity is for you. Collecting in one place some of Lifehack’s most popular posts – each one expanded and revised – along with two completely new chapters, Back to Basics Productivity walks you through some of the basic concepts in personal productivity and shows you how to apply those concepts to your own life. Whether you’re a productivity beginner looking for a few simple ways to get a grasp on your life or a devoted follower of a personal productivity system (such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, or Neil Fiore’s Now Habit) looking for a refresher and some practical tips, Back to Basics Productivity will help you get – and stay – on top of things.

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    To celebrate the launch of our ebook store, for the next 7 days Back to Basics Productivity will be available to Lifehack readers for $2 US off the already affordable $8.99 US cover price. Just use the coupon code “B2BLAUNCH” (without the quotes) at checkout to receive your discount.

    Order Back to Basics Productivity now from our bookstore. A free preview chapter is available.

    More ebooks coming soon!

    Back to Basics Productivity is only the first of an ongoing series of ebooks to be released throughout the coming year. Future titles will cover personal finance, careers, entrepreneurship, technology, and of course personal productivity.

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    Beginning next year, we will also begin accepting submissions for new titles; if you’re a writer, keep an eye out for our guidelines, early next year.

    Become an affiliate

    If you have a website and want to promote Stepcase’s growing selection of ebooks, be sure to join our affiliate program (login or join E-junkie and this link will add you to our affilaite program). You’ll receive a 30% commission for each ebook sold through your affiliate link. Our affiliate program is administered through E-junkie, which independently tracks sales so you can easily keep tabs on the sales you generate.

    To join the affiliate program, simply sign up through E-junkie and use the unique affiliate link they provide you to direct your readers to our products.

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    Review our books

    If you’d like to receive a copy of Back to Basics Productivity for review on your website or in print, please contact us using our contact form. Be sure to select “Press and Media” from the Subject dropdown so your message can be directed to the proper recipients. We will be happy to consider your request!

    Into the future…

    I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Lifehack has long provided some of the best tips and advice about productivity, technology, finances, small business management and entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and much more. Publishing our own ebooks will allow us to dive further into these topics than we ever could in the space of a blog post.

    We look forward to sharing the adventure with you!

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    Order Back to Basics Productivity now from our bookstore.

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    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) How to Admit Your Mistakes How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques How to Learn Something New Every Day and Stay Smart

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

    The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

    Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    How to Self-Taught Effectively

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

    More About Self-Learning

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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