3 Hacks to Learn More Efficiently
While this access to information is extremely empowering and expansive, it can be accompanied by the challenge of overload resulting in burnout symptoms and feelings of overwhelm. With information coming at us from every angle, it helps to have some hacks in your back pocket for integrating knowledge in a healthy way. Try our 3 favourites below.
This is a counter-intuitive approach to what is usually required of us, but more and more research is showing that mono-tasking or solo-tasking is a far more efficient means for learning and productivity.
But hold on-uh, what is it? It’s simple: mono-tasking is focusing on one task without distraction for a certain period of time or until the task is finished (that means no emails, texting, Instagram or making shopping lists in between).
A popular study from Stanford University found that multitasking led to far more errors, trouble recalling information and lower productivity; while focusing on purely one task at a time was much more accommodating to memory retention and better-quality work in a shorter period of time.
2. Teach Someone
The best way to integrate information is to take action- to do what we learn. A good, actionable practice is to teach or explain a topic we have just studied to someone else. If we are not able to explain a topic, it means we have not fully integrated the information and need more time with it.
This method can even be practiced alone by explaining an idea to an imaginary person (no judging, promise) to gauge what your grasp on the subject is like; or it can be practiced on others. Engaging with others and diving into conversation on a topic is a great way to really come to grips with subject matter.
A study by Applied Cognitive Psychology, led by Aloysius Wei Lun Koh revealed that amongst four groups separated into acquiring information in different styles such as re-writing the information, completing written exercises and teaching the materials, they found that the group who taught the materials had the best understanding of the subject matter.
3. Meditation and Mindfulness
What on earth does this have to do with learning? Well, meditation and mindful practices create space in the mind. They are designed to clear the clutter of thoughts resulting in better focus and reduced stress. Meditation supports learning by improving memory and attention-span. The EOC Meditation Research Institute has shown that memory storage centers in the brain are stimulated during meditation, and that by flexing these muscles, our information storage abilities increase. So, basically, meditation is like exercise for your memory- making it better, stronger, and faster.
BONUS HACK! Learn Online
Applying these 3 hacks helps our brains to learn more efficiently; but in addition to this, it helps to be able to create the right external circumstances for learning too. Online has proved to be the most efficient place for acquiring information: it can be done at a time that suits you and at a pace that suits you. It’s the perfect setup! So stay curious, focus that mind (on one thing at a time) and log on to your best learning life.