Here is the Logic, Learn faster by focusing better. Focus better by thinking smaller
There are a lot of good ways to learn faster, but I’m pretty sure this is one of the simplest and most widely useful. It doesn’t involve detailed study plans, copious notes, or complicated systems, though it can work with those if you wish.
In short: work on one thing at a time, with complete focus, for a the duration of your natural attention span, then rest, spike your energy, and go again.
- Pick one thing to work on. This could be a chapter to read, a concept to figure out, a sticking point to resolve, a problem to solve, whatever, as long as it’s something you can do within your natural attention span. Write that down, as specifically as possible, in a place you can see it to keep yourself on track.
- Start a timer for your natural attention span, ideally 25–30 minutes. Work without distraction until the timer goes off. If your span is shorter than this, it can lengthened with training.Then, decide the next thing to do, and write that down, as in the previous step.
- Do rapid deep relaxation for five to ten minutes. This will be easy if you know how to meditate. If you don’t, you can learn from apps like Calm or Head space, or free guided meditation scripts on YouTube, along with a good pair of headphones and some binaural beats. When you get good at this, you may start day dreaming after five minutes or so, which is a great break from work and will accelerate your recovery.
- Do some quick calisthenics like squats, jumping jacks, or 10–20 push ups. This is to wake you up, make you alert, and get your blood flowing. Now, repeat on the next thing you wrote down.
Now, you may notice that I’ve described the Pomodoro Technique with a few additions. To finish the description, if you work for between 25 and 30 minutes, you’ll have about 8 of these in you per day. If your breaks are 5 minutes, take a longer break after four rounds. If you take longer breaks in between each round, like I do, the longer break in the middle may not be necessary.
This setup is very simple, and it will significantly improve your focus and productivity for just about any solo intellectual task, studying or otherwise.
In general, optimizing your focus gives you way better bang for your buck than trying to be more organized or to have more will power.
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