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5 Common Misconceptions Which Hinder People From Learning Faster

5 Common Misconceptions Which Hinder People From Learning Faster

So you want to learn another language, HTML coding or marketing? Time dictates that you will have to learn faster and smarter. The only problem is that there are certain misconceptions about learning floating around. Let’s get these out of the way first. We can examine what is wrong with them and look at alternative approaches. Then you will be on the fast track to learn more rapidly and efficiently.

“It isn’t what people don’t know that hurts them. It’s what they do know that just ain’t so.” – Will Rogers

1. There are no shortcuts

Yes, there are! If you think that learning is a long, hard slog, then think again. Whatever your field or area of study, find out who the gurus are and what their advice is to make the learning curve less steep. By consulting the experts, you can find out nifty shortcuts. Did you know that 80% of businesses go to the wall within the first eighteen months? Why? Because most entrepreneurs are not taking product/market fit into account or learning enough about their customers’ needs. A lot of learning needs to take place to reduce that very high figure. One suggestion is to find the top 10 influencers in your industry and then find out what they know and above all, how they went about learning all that knowledge. Find out what books they read and what skills sets they have. Most of them are willing to help and pay it forward. This is an excellent time saver.

As to the actual learning process, you will be able to discover new hacks to get faster results. One study shows that just by doing 15 minutes of physical exercise, you can boost your thinking ability. Get expert advice on memory tips which will help you remember all that new information for longer. Learn to use all the technology and software in your field of study. Practise how to present the information by using mind maps or testing yourself by ‘teaching’ a friend what you have learned. Learn how to put multitasking in its place. No, it does not help you to learn better, most studies show.

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2. Note taking will not really help

Let us imagine you have to get through a ton of reading to complete your MBA or university degree course. Students mistakenly think that taking notes will be a waste of time. But notes are useful. They help you to clarify your thoughts and they are great for revising. If you read in small chunks, they are great for helping you master the concepts and facts. They help you engage with the subject matter and that is an essential part of the learning process.

3. Time management is overestimated

If students feel that they will study best when the mood takes them, they are under exploiting their best resource, time. Once you start to manage your learning time, you are on the road to success. You can establish whether you learn better in the morning or the evening. How long can you study productively? Build in breaks for physical activity and healthy snacks. You will need to dedicate chunks of time to study so that no time is wasted and you will avoid terrible cramming and maybe even resorting to stimulants, which is illegal anyway. Cramming occurs because of poor time management. Stuffing your brain with masses of information is the surest way to forget it!

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 4. Studying grammar and vocabulary is the best way to learn a language

Some teachers and students still pursue the mistaken idea that grammatical knowledge plus mastery of vocabulary will get you proficient in French or German in no time! The research simply does not support this at all. Stephen Krashen is a distinguished linguist and he has always advocated that the most efficient way to acquire language is to understand messages from people’s conversations and what we read. He defines this as “comprehensible input.” Watch him in this 3 minute video where he gives a practical demonstration of his theory.

5. Everyone learns with a different learning style

For many years, teachers have been convinced that learners have a preferential learning style, for example if they are more visual, auditory or kinaesthetic (learning through doing). But there is very little research to actually demonstrate that this is true. But about 90% of UK teachers still believe this is the case. There are still unanswered questions about how people really learn and there are moves to help teachers understand neuroscience in finding these answers. The best solution is for students to discover what gives them the fastest results and helps them climb the learning curve in the shortest space of time.

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The next time somebody asks you about which side of the brain you are using for learning, you could ask them to give you solid scientific evidence that this will affect the learning outcome. At the end of the day, learning is much more straightforward than many people like to think.

Featured photo credit: Learn/Got Credit via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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