Chapter 7: 8 Ways On How To Increase Your Learning Curve
Human beings have a natural thirst for knowledge and whether this thirst is fueled by some wild curiosity or the genuine desire to stay informed, the fact remains we all have a spirit of adventure within us. In the quest for more knowledge and skills, some of us grasp faster while others are not so good at keeping the pace. This rate at which we grasp information and learn new skills or gain new experience is what is referred to as a learning curve. In this Chapter, we shall explore some of the ways on how to increase your learning curve so that you can make the most of your time and be more productive.
Analyze Your Work Criteria
Understanding the way you work is the first step in improving your learning curve. This understanding comes from careful consideration of the amount of time you take using the resources you pool in to give out a particular output. In a nutshell, what you need to discover is your strengths and weaknesses.
Just like a computer, human productivity is measured in terms of input and output. If you take four hours to fully discharge a particular function, it would be unrealistic if you assigned yourself multiple such functions under the same time duration as this would mean your productivity is greatly impaired. Therefore, any changes in your work criteria should take into account all the dynamics in order to ensure your learning curve increases normally.
Take Time to Learn
Learning is a continuous process and regardless of how educated one may be, there is always something one is yet to discover. Therefore, try to keep an open mind and ask the right questions so that you fully understand a concept.
Do not for a moment think of yourself as an accomplished individual with nothing more to add because as we learn new things, some of the things we had previously learnt are rendered useless, thus creating more room in our minds for more information.
Break the Monotony
Monotonous tasks create a comfort zone from in we may later find ourselves trapped. These comfort zones stifle our progress as they create an illusion that things are perfect when they actually aren’t.
Therefore, a good way to ensure your learning curve improves is to break away from your monotonous routines. If you work in, say a hotel’s front desk and it is the low season with few or no guests, you may find yourself updating same records every day, thus adding no value to yourself or the organization. However, you would be better off trying other tasks such as preparing lunch or breakfast for staff members. This way, you will not only receive the satisfaction of breaking the monotony but may also acquire a new set of skills.
Learn One New Thing Everyday
I’ve mentioned this earlier in the book. We can never grasp everything in an instance but with sustained efforts, we may eventually be masters of all trades. The trick, therefore, is to ensure that you learn a new thing every day.
The good thing with this is you do not need to restrict yourself to a certain course of study as long as you can stand and claim at the end of the day that you know something you were ignorant about when the day began. Additionally, you need not be tied to boring tasks; you can choose an area of your interest. If you are interested in the culinary arts, you will find satisfaction in knowing that you learnt to bake a pancake on Monday, learned to make on omelet on Tuesday etc.
Take Regulated Breaks
The learning process is often an exciting one but if not handled carefully, you may find yourself overburdened and weighed down by tasks. This will leave you greatly demotivated, which is why you need to ensure you take regulated breaks.
These breaks will not only refresh your mind but will rejuvenate you so that once you resume your assignments, you will do so with renewed vigor. It is important to note that the breaks do not necessarily mean a period of lull in your learning process, they may as well be a period within which you pursue other tasks, especially tasks you are passionate about. Giving to charity is one of the most reassuring ways of expending your breaks.
Our mind can handle so much, and would I typically do is work 20 minutes in a hour, and then take a break. Refresh my mind and get back at it the next hour. When working on multiple projects, I dedicated 2 different 20 minutes so total 40 minutes total to each project per and rotate. So, if I have 5 projects in total, the first hour, I would tackle 2 different projects 20 minutes each. Next hour tackle 2 different projects, and the third hour tackle one new project and prioritize what I can finish from the other 4 projects. This method is called the Pomodoro technique, here is the exact method if you wish to follow this particular method:
***IF POSSIBLE SUMMARIZE THE METHOD BELOW. This is verbatim to what the site wrote
The Pomodoro Technique isn’t like any other time-management method on the market today. What makes it so unique?
- WORK WITH TIME – NOT AGAINST IT
For many people, time is an enemy. We race against the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it. A revolutionary time management system, it is at once deceptively simple to learn and life-changing to use.
- ELIMINATE BURNOUT
Essential to the Pomodoro Technique is the notion that taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates the “running on fumes” feeling you get when you’ve pushed yourself too hard. It’s impossible to over work when you stick to the system. You may end up taking fewer sick days, too!
- MANAGE DISTRACTIONS
Whether it’s a call, a Facebook message, or suddenly realizing you need to change the oil in your car, many distracting thoughts and events come up when you’re at work. The Pomodoro Technique will help you log your distractions and order them according to priority levels. Often, they can wait.
- CREATE A BETTER WORK / LIFE BALANCE
Most of us are intimately acquainted with the guilt that comes from procrastinating. If we haven’t had a productive day, it’s pretty easy to end up feeling like we can’t enjoy our free time. Becoming a Pomodoro Master involves creating an effective timetable, allowing you to truly enjoy your time off.
The fundamentals of the Pomodoro Technique are simple yet incredibly effective.
- CHOOSE A TASK YOU’D LIKE TO GET DONE
Something big, something small, something you’ve been putting off for a million years: it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s something that deserves your full, undivided attention.
- SET THE POMODORO FOR 25 MINUTES
Make a small oath to yourself: I will spend 25 minutes on this task and I will not interrupt myself. You can do it! After all, it’s just 25 minutes.
- WORK ON THE TASK UNTIL THE POMODORO RINGS
Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. If you suddenly realize you have something else you need to do, write the task down on a sheet of paper.
- WHEN THE POMODORO RINGS, PUT A CHECKMARK ON A PAPER
Congratulations! You’ve spent an entire, interruption-less Pomodoro on a task.
- TAKE A SHORT BREAK
Breathe, meditate, grab a cup of coffee, go for a short walk or do something else relaxing (i.e., not work-related). Your brain will thank you later.
- EVERY 4 POMODOROS, TAKE A LONGER BREAK
Once you’ve completed four pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 minutes is good. Or 30. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
This might sound crazy but it helps refresh your mind to accept the same thing over and over again, it helps create routine and behavior pulses, helps you crunch in those effort effectively and efficiently. Okay, you might not be like me and want to tackle all these projects, but you can definitely use this method for one or two projects. If you plan on writing a book, or an article, this definitely helps you reread your current article and think twice before submitting or publishing your article or believe that your work is good. This is just my theory, i’m sure you can pick up other strategies that can work for you
When you are learning something new, you may be tempted to trust your memory. There is no denying the fact that some of us are endowed with the most retentive memories but it is also a fact that memories have a way of letting us down when we really need them.
We have all experienced that moment when you know you have met someone but you simply cannot place them. However, unlike our fallible and unreliable memories, what is put in ink is never deleted and this is precisely why your learning curve could increase if you do not commit everything to memory and instead note it down. This makes it easier when you need to cross check your facts in future.
One of the surest indicators for growth in your learning is listening to feedback – both positive and negative. Feedback is a great way of assessing your performance and whether it motivates or demoralizes you, all you need to do is take it positively.
The goal here is not to let the positive feedback deceive you into thinking you have arrived, neither is it to make the negative feedback hold you back with the assumption that you are not good enough. You should learn to properly harness every feedback and improve where necessary. Also, never forget that however perfect you try to achieve anything, you will always have those who think you should have done it differently.
There is a common saying that goes, “knowledge shared is knowledge doubled’’. When we teach other people what we have learnt ourselves, we open up more avenues to learn even more.
This is because teaching others enables us to assess our abilities, thus invoking self confidence as we get to put our skills to test. Additionally, teaching others also makes it possible for those with whom we share information to share something back and this creates a ripple effect which eventually adds to our knowledge base, thus helping us increase our learning curve.