When we can learn and give ourselves the space to pick up new skills or engage our minds differently there is almost always a uptick in the way we innovate. Being a productive learner in today’s day and age with the amount of information entering in from all angles it is hard to be a learner. It’s hard to compartmentalize the work and then apply it.
Some of the ways you can become a better learner you can find are pretty simple. I am a learner by trade, always have been since I was a kid, so these are things I’ve found over the years that actually work for anyone. It’s consistently muscle I practice and has served as a top skill of mine. I absorb anything I can get my hands on. To a degree I’ve made learning a profession.
The first thing is to focus on one thing you want to learn for a long period of time. Look for every place you can where a study or research of that topic has been revealed. Then just take as long as you need to become comfortable calling yourself a subject matter expert. Sometimes this could take up to several months. Learning needs to be slow and intentional at times. I do this a lot with the IBtP blog where my posts actually are the outputs of my learning journey. Spreading yourself over a multitude of topics will bury and bore you. Specialize.
I would try to put what you’re learning into buckets. Get some frameworks around what your digging or diving into to learn. Give it some sense of purpose even if you don’t know what that potential purpose may be at the end of the learning journey. When you build some structure around your learning work you can see it better and you can enjoy the learning more deeply. There are so many ways to bucket your learns whether you’re a note taker, use software like a mind map application, or just like to pick up books find a practice to organize the work you’re doing.
What are you keys? After reading or studying or watching, what are the takeaways you would bring back to look into deeper?
Great question to ask yourself as much as you can when finishing a great video or subject matter deep dive. This is an essential third idea when learning. If there really isn’t any take aways you might want to decide whether this subject is really that engaging or something you want to continue with. Sometimes, it’s required learning as in a skill we need to have for work and we’ve got no choice but to learn the subject. Keys you can recall simply to help you continue to practice readily available or at hand are great to have.
Lastly, take a break from learning. Pace it out. To much input will result in polarized learning where you might get numb to the subject you’re trying to learn or burn out. You want to get in for a bit and get out for a bit to think or put to practice what you learned before biting off the next chunk. Information feasting and information fasting is a great way to think of pacing your learning out.
There’s a lot of places, apps, and people who will tell all different kinds of ways to take short cuts to learning. Bottom line, be intentional with your learning time. Make it seem like it’s a profession and skill you have to have. Make yourself feel that with out it the learning you in to, you’d not be as effective in your current role at work. Your end game is to have behavioral changes coming out of your learning cycles. The surprise and delight is to leave something you’ve learned behind for someone else to pickup or become curious about. That won’t happen with out placing an importance on some purpose as you go in, stay in, and come out the other side.
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