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8 Tips to Learn More Efficiently

by Mike Acker

Recently I was playing with my son, Paxton. As we played my mind drifted from being with him to focusing on work. I realized what happened and snapped back to focus on being with him. Why did this happen? Because, I have a lot going on. I was trying to mentally maximize my time. Have you caught yourself doing that?

We all need more time. Afterall, there is just so much going on. How do we find the time to develop and to learn new knowledge and skills. If you can figure out how to learn more quickly and efficiently, you can either spend the saved time doing something else, being with other people, or even use it to raise your level of expertise even higher.

Life is too short to be wasting time unnecessarily.

Thanfully, learning is a popular topic for research at the university level. There’s a lot we know about how to learn more efficiently and effectively.

Learn better and faster with these tips:

1. All learning strategies are just starting points. Each person has their own unique, best way of learning. Experimentation is important. Just as it takes time to find the best diet for your unique body, it can take time to find the best learning strategies for your unique brain.

2. Ongoing repeated effort is often the best use of your effort. Most things are better learned in smaller chunks of time. For example, it’s far easier and more effective to prepare for a foreign language vocabulary test by reviewing the words for 5 minutes a few times each day than to study for 2 hours on the day of the test. It’s better working on your speech each day than just a few large sessions.

3. Understanding can be just as important as memorization. Memorization can be essential but understanding can limit the amount of memorization that needs to be done. Look for the connection between different ideas. Seek to understand what you’re learning.This is a huge focus in coaching sessions when I teach people how to speak withouth relying on notes.

4. Use multiple sources. Different books, people, and other sources present information in different ways. Each perspective can give you a greater level of understanding. This is also a great tactic to use if you’re confused about something.

5. Working with others can help. This idea works better for some people than others. It’s not unlike the previous tip. Working in a group setting can give you another perspective. It can also be a means to get your questions answered.

6. Maximizing your memory requires practice. You only get better at memorizing things by doing exactly that, memorizing things. Work on your memorization skills each day. Even if you have to create a list of 10 words and see how well you can re-create the list from memory, you’ll be practicing.

7. Create your own notes. Reading a textbook is helpful. Using someone else’s notes can be helpful, too. But nothing is more helpful than your own, unique set of notes. List the most important information and concepts.

  • Create notes when you read a book that has information you want to learn. If you’re taking a class, rewrite your notes afterwards. If you borrow someone else’s notes, rewrite those, too.

  • Customize your notes so they work for you and accommodate how you think.

8. Take regular breaks. Experiment with yourself and see what works the best. Studies show that very short periods of time are best for memorization. For learning other things, 30-60 minutes is about the maximum before a break is essential.

Everything can be done better and faster. Learning is no different. Make the best use of your time by learning intelligently. Then you will have that time to focus on the areas and the people that matter most.

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