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7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently

7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently

All people were born with great gifts, talents and potential, including you. What makes a real difference in reaching your potential is the ability to be a smart learner. See what smart learners do differently and what they can teach us.

They always learn.

People often divide their time between learning and non-learning. Learning is usually much more focused, dedicated time. Even our education systems are built around that concept — first we learn for several years, and then we work. Smart learners do it differently. They use every occasion to learn something new — about the food they eat, the way things work, different cultures, different roles in the same organization, history, and the people around them. The world is a great source of knowledge and skills, available 24/7, so they ask tons of questions and connect the dots.

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They are good observers.

Walking or driving the same route hundreds of times does not guarantee that you will learn about all the buildings and other interesting things on the way. To do it, you have to look at the world with curiosity. Smart learners focus on the here and now, ready to observe the changes and the world surrounding them. They don’t have to talk much; they will instead ask questions.

They make mistakes.

Most people have a great fear of failure. It seems better not to do something rather than make a mistake. Smart learners exchange the word “mistake” with “lesson.” There is no better way to learn something than simply trying it, so experiment and observe. If one way didn’t work, try another one. Of course, sometimes many lessons have to be taken before something is mastered. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

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They don’t give up too early.

With great fear of failure comes giving up too early. Today, we are tempted to try new things just a few times and then resign. When we can’t master something quickly, why bother? However, turn back time and imagine yourself as a child learning how to walk. How many times did you fall down in that process? Probably hundreds! Now you possess that great skill without thinking about it, but what would have happened if you had given up too early? Learning takes time and falling down often — smart learners understand that.

They connect with smart people.

The world is a big network of connections. Some of them are better quality than others, and your time on this planet is limited. Smart learners understand that they need high quality connections — people around them who will inspire them, shake their worlds, and ask good and deep questions. We learn best when we are relaxed and have a real friend and mentor around.

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They try new things.

To be able to learn, our brain needs stimulation and then a good rest. Just look at how a small child explores the world, looks at everything with curiosity, then tries to put the pieces together and checks the taste. Later, the child “sleeps like a baby!” Smart learners possess that spark of curiosity and often try something new. Take part in some workshops or online courses, watch TED, and meet new people. They do some things differently and it keeps them from being bored.

They don’t think they are smart.

Smart learners don’t talk much. The knowledge and skills they have are not merely to impress others, but comes from their inner passion. They are humble enough to acknowledge how much they don’t know, and at the same time they feel good about and are energized by that. When they don’t know they don’t pretend to; they simply ask questions.

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We all waste so much of our potential by not learning smart enough. Let us take the right lesson from smart learners. You life will definitely be more creative, happy, relaxed and full of passion.

Is there anything you learned from smart learners? Feel free to comment!

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Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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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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