As part of our personal development journey, do we all want to learn, grow and become better each day?
If so, then it may be a good idea to ponder how to not just consume information and data but to learn from it, not just know something but be able to use it and to grow because of it and become better each day. (in other words, it of no use if you are only a ‘content junkie’, consuming tons of all kinds of content every time, all the time. )
Here are some tips to significantly improve your learning and help progress in your personal development:
1. Have a goal or focus for your learning – We are constantly inundated/bombarded with all kinds of information through our devices. Therefore, it’s critical now, more than ever before, to decide what information you are exactly looking for, or know what exactly are you trying to learn. Having a goal for your learning can help to stay focused on the subject.
2. Become comfortable with the struggle of learning: The struggle that comes with learning anything new. When you are learning something new, the brain is being re-wired, its working hard. In the moment, it might be painful, sometime boring or sometimes even make you restless. But the pain is what creates the gain especially if that’s a new skill / technique / formula / process, etc.
3. Become curious – Rather than only consuming data, start with questioning, asking better questions, challenge all assumptions and stop with the presumptions. When you seek with curiosity is when there’s discovery, learning and growth in the unknown.
4. Learn in focused sessions – Research shows that it’s best to have concentrated sessions of 30 – 90 mins of learning any new material. Anything less is not enough to cement the learning in and anything more can be overwhelming to absorb or retain the learning.
5. Learn in multiple ways – Another tip is learning in more than one way. Instead of just listening to a podcast, which involves auditory learning, find a way to rehearse the information both verbally and visually. This might involve describing what you learnt to a friend, taking notes, or drawing a mind map. By learning in more than one way, you’re further cementing the knowledge in your mind.
6. Take Short Breaks – Your brain is like a muscle which can also get tired if you overwork it and then you really can’t concentrate on your work. So it’s important to realise the length of your concentration span and help yourself to give some rest from study. Taking regular short breaks not only help improve your focus, they can boost your productivity too. This gives the brain the best chance to restore the whole of your learnings.
7. Spaced-Out Repetition – You will agree that watering the lawn for 30 mins, thrice a week is much better than doing it for 90 mins at a stretch and will result in better and greener growing lawn. Similarly, with the brain – spaced out repetitions in whatever that is, that you’re learning about, helps in better assimilation and clarity.
8. Go deep versus wide – Going deep on one subject (in your niche) is far better than being shallow on a wide range of topics. Remember, the riches are in the niches.
9. Reflect, Revisit & Review all the information, to improve. Our brain pays less attention to anything we’re experiencing the very first time…Repeating information over longer intervals is crucial for the brain to store that information, in a ready-to-recall folder.
10. Teach someone else – you don’t know something unless you explain it to somebody else convincingly. If you don’t make sense to your audience, then you haven’t learnt it well enough. Remember, once teaching is twice learning.
11. Get enough sleep: Sleep is the best ingredient to help you focus. Lack of sleep prevents you from concentrating and reduces your ability to remember what you have learned. Get at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night.
Never stop learning, never stop pursuing growth. Become the better version of yourself that you deserve to be!