Starting a small business requires a lot of learning. Furthermore, keeping it going requires continual learning to keep up with the times. Not to mention, if you ask any successful entrepreneur one of the most important skills, they'll tell you "Have a passion for learning."

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Overview

In this post we're going to talk about the most efficient way to learn. It's good and all to have a passion for learning, but realistically no one has all day to invest into learning. Therefore, the more efficient we can become at it, the more we can learn. Let's dive in!

Taking Notes

One of the fastest ways to learn something fast is to take better notes, and become better at doing so. If you want to learn how to improve your learning, learn how to take better notes.

First, you may have heard it before in school and brushed it off, but studies show taking notes with pen and paper is drastically more effective. Due to the fact that using pen and paper involves more senses, your memory retention will be better when notes are taken with pen and paper. Not to mention, since using pen and paper is a slower process than other note taking techniques, it requires you to summarize the content as you write it down. This leads to your brain thinking of the information in new ways, rather than simply parroting exactly how it was worded to you.

Finding a note taking technique that works best for you is an essential skill to develop. Experiment with different things to find out what works best for you. I use a simple outline format. It's simple, yet exceptionally effective for me.

Study Before Bed

Another practical tip on how to learn something fast is to study right before bed. This doesn't necessarily mean doing an in-depth study session before you go get some sleep. However, it does mean reviewing your notes before bed will help you remember them much better. Don't believe me? Try it out! It will shock you how much you remember after you wake up.

There was a study done at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston that was researching this very point. There were two groups of participants. One group was told to study the images in the morning. One group was told to study the images right before sleeping eight hours. Each group was given the same amount of time to study. The interesting thing was when both groups were tested to recall the images they saw, the group that studied them before bed had a significantly better recall rate, and more confidence in their choices.

Numerous studies have concluded the same thing: studying before bed leads to higher memory retention. Curious on how to learn something fast? Don't let this power tool escape your toolbox.

Mental Breaks

The human mind is capable of immense concentration and focus only for a period of time. Trying to learn something when you are not focused on it is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing out. You are trying to do something while outside forces are preventing you from completing it.

You've probably experienced this too. Have you ever been multi tasking and trying to learn a new concept? Oftentimes when this is the case you might read a few sentences on the subject, then instantly forget what you just read. This is because even though your eyes were reading the words, your mind was preoccupied with other things. Multitasking is something best left to do while you're not trying to learn something.

Taking mental breaks is essential to learning faster because it allows you to get more study sessions in of immense concentration. The trick is learning how often to take a break, and when to push yourself. The United States Army Research Institute underwent numerous studies only to conclude the optimal time to take a break is every 50-90 minutes, and the break should be 15-20 minutes. This is due to the human ultradian rhythm.

Taking breaks may seem counter-productive when you have a lot of stuff you have to digest in a short amount of time. however, not taking a break will do you dirty in the long run.

Making It Practical

Learning how to learn is a skill. And, learning how to learn something fast and effective is a talent. Another great tip to increase how fast you can digest new information is to make that new information practical (which it already should be if you're spending time learning it). But, take time to think of how to make it personal. Attach what you're learning directly to the reason why you chose to learn it.

When your mind understands the importance of the information at hand, it will put effort into digesting it. It will crave the information. If you are learning tax stuff, don't think of it as just "tax stuff" because that's boring. And if your mind thinks it is boring it will reject it, or at least try to. Instead of thinking of it as "tax stuff" think of why you need to earn the "tax stuff". Is it for your new business? Well then think of it as a way to save your new business lots of money. Because doing taxes the right way will actually save your business more money than doing them the wrong way.

Make your learning personal. See the joy that comes from new knowledge. In school there is often a negative view on learning. As just something you have to do to make it through and not fail. But when you stop and think of the doors that new knowledge opens up, you begin to crave it.

The Goal of Learning

Above all, remember the goal here. The goal here is not to memorize something. The goal is to understand. Seek to understand, not to memorize. When you truly understand something, you will naturally memorize it. Not to mention, why would you want to memorize something, but not understand the why behind it?

A perfect example of this is math equations. Math can be a very complex subject, with exceptionally difficult equations, and more often than not the tendency is to just get really good at memorization and memorize the equations so that you can blindly plug in numbers when needed. However, when you understand why the equation is laid out the way it is, you don't have to memorize it because when you are stuck, you can simply retrace the though process that lead to that equation in the first place.

Conclusion

Learning to learn is a skill. Learning to learn fast and effective is a talent, and will save you loads of time.

Catch you on the flip,

-Noah

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