5 Tips to help you learn faster!

These 5 tips will help you learn faster (if you follow them). When I follow them, I feel more in control, less overwhelmed, and I remember more things.

When I don’t follow them, I get anxious and I forget things.

Here we go!

Tip 1: Don’t Panic

Panic freezes the brain. When you panic, you can’t think.

If you panic, you need to STOP panicking. Here’s an easy way:

  1. Set a timer to 10 minutes.
  2. Start the timer.
  3. Sit and breathe until the timer rings.
  4. Continue whatever you were doing.

When you sit and breathe, you tell your body to calm down and relax. This deactivates panic.

The timer is there to let you breathe guilt-free. You know you won’t take too long—only 10 minutes—and you can allow the stress to completely leave your body.

Try it now.

I’m serious!

Go try it before reading the rest of the tips. Do it even if you’re not panicking now. You’ll take in so much more afterward.

Tip 2: Go Slow

WHAT?! How does going slow make you learn faster?

Let me explain.

When I think of learning fast, I expect things to go smoothly:

  1. I find the perfect tutorial on the first page of Google
  2. The article explains everything I need—in the way I need it
  3. It contains all the code I need to test things out
  4. I can follow everything perfectly

But this doesn’t 10 out of 10 times. It’s not reality.

This is reality:

  • I don’t find ANY good tutorial.
  • Tutorial speaks in confusing terms I don’t understand.
  • Tutorials don’t go in-depth enough, so I have to figure things out.
  • Tutorials give me a full-blown project (and I’m not interested in downloading that sample…).

When you want to learn fast, you expect things to be smooth. You aren’t ready for challenges that show up. You’ll brush challenges off because they’re annoying. You just want to LEARN it! Why is it so hard?

Here’s the irony. We learn from challenges. By brushing off the challenges you face, you’re effectively throwing away everything you want to learn.

When I allow myself to go slow. I sit down and figure it out. I work through the challenges. When I work through the challenges, the knowledge gets locked in my brain and I don’t forget them.

I also make myself understand concepts before I take on new things. I actively clear my doubts and questions so I ‘m ready for new knowledge. I can only do this when I go slow.

Imagine you have a cup filled with dirty water. This dirty water represents your doubts. If you try pouring more clear water in, would the dirty water clear up? Nope. You have to clean up the dirty water.

My new mantra when learning (or even doing things) is: What’s the slowest I can go? With this mantra, I learn in the shortest time possible. I also finish work faster than before.

For example, I always thought Object-oriented Programming was hard. But I understood how to use them in 4 days. Just 4 days!

Tip 3: Take notes

When I read, I forget.

When I write, I remember.

When I take notes, I force myself to remember the things I read.

I can organise my notes to help me make sense of the topic I’m reading.

This helps me learn.

I also write down any questions I have. later, I’ll drill into the questions to get a clearer picture of the topic. (See what I said about clearing doubts above).

Tip 4: Code along

I always code along with things I want to learn. This lets me check what happens for each block of code. When I do this, my brain links up the concepts that were taught and the actual execution of the concept. This makes the learning concrete for me.

Do not copy-paste. Type things by hand so you’ll remember them.

Feel free to use the suggestions provided in your text editor. You don’t have to type every letter. That’s not cheating. Using suggestions is part and parcel of coding. When you use suggestions, you make lesser mistakes as well.

Tip 5: Follow your curiosity

Here’s the funny thing.

I didn’t want to learn code. I was afraid of code. I wanted to learn design instead.

One question popped up in my head after I learned photoshop for a few weeks. “How do I put this up online”? I followed this itch and googled. I found out about HTML and CSS here.

This was the start of my coding journey. It led me to where I am today.

Curiosity is an amazing tool. We are interested in the things we’re curious about. We learn the most when we’re interested. So when you follow that curiosity, you learn much faster. You also get to where you’re happier.

Some people force themselves to learn to code, but they don’t have any interest in coding. They’re not curious about it. If you’re not curious about what you’re learning, it’ll be an uphill battle. Go find something else to do instead.

Here’s another great thing about curiosity:

  1. It gives me a greater breadth of knowledge because I understand more of what surrounds the topic
  2. It also gives me greater depth because I drill in and figure out things that weren’t taught.

Over time, I learned so much more than I thought I could. And I’ll do this in much shorter than I think was possible.

Remember one thing

There’s one phrase to sum up these five tips:

Take the long way.

Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency.

And then you won’t waste time doing it over.

Seth Godin

The long road is the shortcut.

Take the longest road you can think of. Learn it well. Do it well. You’ll reach your destination much faster than if you try to find shortcuts.

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