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15 Little Things You Can Do Every Day that You Never Knew Could Make You Smarter

15 Little Things You Can Do Every Day that You Never Knew Could Make You Smarter

Do you want to become smarter? Many people want to exercise their brain regularly, but struggle to find the time or money to take classes or invest in their intelligence.

Check out 15 little things that you can do every day to become smarter.

1. Start a productive hobby.

Doing something every other day will help you to learn more without even noticing. Knitting, running, and learning to read sheet music are all examples of fun, cheap hobbies that will help you to become smarter without realizing it.

2. Check the news online or read the newspaper.

Checking in with current affairs will help you to become more aware of world events and the society you live in. It will also help you to form educated and well-formed opinions that you can later discuss with others.

3. Start two to-do lists.

Start a to-do list with long-term goals and second with short-term goals. This will help you to figure out your priorities, and you can set yourself realistic career-based and personal goals.

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Your short-term to-do list should cover the next month or so, and your long-term to do list could take anywhere between one year or 25 years.

4. And an “I did” list.

Write a list of all of the accomplishments you have achieved this year, and add to it as you accomplish new things. Include both small and big achievements, to help motivate you to push further.

This can also show you how productive your week has been, and how you can be smarter and more proactive next week.

5. Read a chapter in a book.

Try to read a chapter in a book every day. Many people believe they don’t have time, but there are plenty of options; when you’re commuting to work, during your lunch or in the evening instead of surfing the Internet.

It doesn’t matter what you read; fiction can help you to see from another perspective and become more analytical, and a non-fiction book will teach you something new, whether it is about history or a biography.

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6. Come up with five different ideas everyday.

Be creative and use your brain every day! From solving your daily problems to thinking of funny movie and book ideas, coming up with ideas will exercise your brain and help you get used to relying on yourself, rather than Google.

7. Find answers to your questions.

Do penguins have knees? No matter how silly the question, try to find the answers to all the little, random question that fly through your head. You will become more knowledgeable in many different areas without feeling like you were learning!

8. Share your ideas with others.

Debating with others gives you the chance to analyze your ideas while adding to each other’s knowledge.

Debating also helps you learn to express your ideas coherently and intelligently. If you feel a little nervous, try joining a knowledgeable forum and join in a debate that is already happening.

9. Try different mindsets.

Take something you already have an opinion on and try to see things from the other side. Coming up with evidence to support it will help you to become more open-minded and inquisitive, helping you to think outside of the box on a daily basis.

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10. Start a list of things to stop doing.

Try to monitor your procrastination every day for a week, and write down your results. What activities do you do when you procrastinate, or it there anything that you do that leaves you feeling uninspired?

This will help you to break bad habits and figure out what you need to stop doing, making every day more productive for you.

11. Subscribe to interesting feeds.

If you like to spend time on social media, make your feeds more interesting and knowledgeable to become smarter. There are groups on Facebook and Twitter that cover science and political news, so consider searching through a few and finding a couple that really interest you personally.

12. Talk to someone interesting.

You are surrounded by interesting people, from your family to your boss to strangers on the street. People often learn more from strangers than their own loved ones.

13. Explore.

If you can’t afford to explore the world, explore your city. Try things you wouldn’t normally consider, from opera to going to a live music night. New experiences come with new facts and knowledge for you to discover, so take an adventure and see what you learn!

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14. Watch educational videos.

YouTube is filled with interesting vlogs and TED talks, so try to watch one a day while you’re relaxing. The videos range from 5 minutes long to 30, so even when you’re busy you can normally fit a 5 minute video into your day.

One of the best parts of these videos is that the information is presented in easy, digestible chunks, so even if you are half-listening you will probably end up learning a few things and becoming smarter!

15. Do something scary.

People who fear leaving their comfort zone can limit themselves with fear. From public speaking to eating a food you don’t like, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone once a day. These steps will help you to realize you can accomplish anything you want, as well as helping to make you more curious and open minded—as well as fearless!

Do you have any more tips that people can do every day to become smarter? Comment your ideas below!

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

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.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

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

The Nature of the Problem

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 post we don’t even consider reading it, 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.

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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. 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…

Why information overload is bad

It 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.

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

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So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your 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. What to do 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.

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If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or 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. 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 Body,Tim 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.

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.

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

In Closing

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.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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