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Last Updated on November 18, 2019

17 Ways to Help You Learn New Skills Faster

17 Ways to Help You Learn New Skills Faster

In the movie Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and group possessed to learn anything in the matter of seconds. To download the ability to fly a helicopter and fight like Bruce Lee. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

Our current generation is being marked as the age of knowledge and information, through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style rapid learning.

1. Deconstruct & Reverse Engineer

Break the skill that you are desiring to learn down into little pieces and master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

2. Pareto Principle

Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 Rule. Identify the 20% work that will give you 80% of the results.

Take learning a language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words” for example and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

3. Make Stakes

Establish and implement some sort of punishment for you in not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Place a bet with a friend to light that fire under your bottom.

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4. Record Yourself

Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistake and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

5. Join a Group

There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it is a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

6. Time Travel

Visit the Library. Although everything is becoming more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

Whether it is a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

7. Be a Chameleon

Imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Mimic what you see.

Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. Youtube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

8. F.O.C.U.S.

Follow one course until success! It is easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

Ditch the whole idea of multitasking as it has been shown to be detrimental and a myth that it’s productive. Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

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9. Visualize

The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing.

Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results.

Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

10. Find a Mentor

Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning of a new skill. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

This article can help you find the one that fits you: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

11. Sleep On It

Practice your new skill within 4 hours of going to sleep.

Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics needed are ingrained at a quicker level.

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12. The 20 Hour Rule

Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magical number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill. His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[1]

Check out his video to find out more:

13. Learn By Doing

It is easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to do something and never actually get around to doing it. The best way to learn is to do.

Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice…research…practice…

14. Short Sprints

Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and have a stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks and so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

15. Ditch the Distractions

Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Before you sit down to practice, make sure whatever potential distractions are far from sight. Here’re some tips to help you focus: How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus

16. Nootropics

Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

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Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide, particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

Find out more about brain supplements in this article: 10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind

17. Celebrate

Every single small win that you experience on the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This will encourage you to press on toward the goal!

Final Thoughts

Learning a new skill should be exciting and something you cannot wait to practice every day. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

To love life is to continually be learning and challenging yourself!

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Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

Reference

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Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

So, what to do in free time?

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

1. Reading Files

Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

2. Clear out Inbox

Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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3. Phone Calls

Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

4. Make Money

This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

5. File

No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

6. Network

Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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7. Clear out Feeds

If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

8. Goal Time

Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

9. Update Finances

Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

10. Brainstorm Ideas

Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

11. Clear off Desk

Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

12. Exercise

Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

13. Take a Walk

This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

14. Follow up

Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

15. Meditate

You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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16. Research

This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

17. Outline

Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

18. Get Prepped

Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

19. Be Early

Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

20. Log

If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

More Inspirations on What To Do During Free Time

Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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