You would probably agree that in today’s age everyone has to constantly learn new stuff.
Whether you’re a student revising for exams.
Or a working professional who has to stay up date with technological advances.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could learn all that stuff in less time, and spend more time watching Netflix?
Well – I’m gonna show you how to do just that in this article:
You’ll find 12 ways you can use to dramatically accelerate your learning in any area of your life.
Just note down the techniques you are not currently using, apply them, and this article will be worth your time.
1) Learn Through Osmosis
Learning through osmosis means gradually or unconsciously adopting new ideas by exposing yourself to them frequently and in a variety of formats.
Do this now: research 3 books, 3 websites and 3 YouTube channels that teach the skill you want to learn. Chose authors whose teaching style you resonate with. Then make it a point to learn as much from these resources as you can.
The more you expose yourself to those ideas you want to internalize, in different formats and explained by different teachers, the faster you’ll learn.
2) Address Personal Procrastination Patterns
Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but no one does it in the same way. Procrastination patterns are highly individual.
Personally I like to over-read on certain topics and forget to implement what I learn. I do that because I find reading theory easier than actually doing stuff.
Others might procrastinate by taking too much ineffective action, and never ask themselves if those actions actually bring them towards their goals.
The more you become aware of your personal procrastination patterns, the easier it will be to overcome them. The next time you feel resistance, take out a pen and paper and perform a Resistance Analysis. Simply write down all the reasons why you don’t feel like taking action, then address them one by one. That way you’ll understand what is causing your resistance, which makes neutralizing it much easier.
3) Track actions and results
If you want to learn something fast you have to track your results as well as the actions you take towards those results.
Otherwise you don’t know if you are making progress and it’s easy to deceive yourself about how much action you are actually taking.
- If you want to lose weight track your weight, exercise and nutrition habits.
- If you want to get more traffic to your website, track monthly website sessions and from what sources they come.
- If you want to improve your sleep track when you go to bed, what you do in the hour before and how long you sleep.
In my experience measuring your progress automatically adjusts your behavior, improves motivation and keeps you on track in the long-run. Which tracking tool you use comes down to your personal preference.
I’ve tried Excel sheets, word documents, note books and my iPhone. Chose one you find appealing and start tracking!
4) Build on your Preferences
I first learned this from the PrecisionNutrition coaching program. The idea is that when you have the choice between two activities that are equally effective at bringing your towards your goal, chose the one you find more exciting.
Let’s say your goal is to improve your improvisation skills on the guitar by learning more licks.
You have two options:
- Create your own licks, write them down and practice them.
- Find licks from famous guitarists on the Internet and learn those.
To build on your preference just chose the option you like better. Both are likely to improve your improvisational skills, but the one you like is the one that will keep you motivated, engaged and excited.
5) Consciously Set Priorities
To progress fast in an area of your life, you have to make it a priority.
I recommend regularly sitting down with pen and paper to ask yourself these two questions:
1) What area of my life do I want to make a priority right now and for how long?
2) What areas of my life am I willing to neglect or just maintain during that time period?
These questions help you get crystal clear on what your priority is, for what period of time, and what you are willing to give up/maintain during that time period.
The second question is especially important as it eliminates wishful thinking. For example you might think you want to lose 5 kg. But when it comes down to it you don’t want to give up the 3 nights of partying per week you are currently enjoying.
Which is totally fine. The lesson is: Set priorities consciously and be aware at what cost they come.
By setting priorities consciously in a well thought out manner you are more likely to stick to them, stay motivated in the long-run and learn faster.
6) The 3 Whys
One day you may wake up feeling energized, ready to go and inspired to do something. Another day you might wake up tired, stressed and feel like shit. Then most days you are probably somewhere in between.
The idea of the 3 Whys is that what motivates you to take action differs on each of those days. Let’s say your goal is to get straight As at university.
On an inspired day big-picture ideas like “Getting As will allow me to have greater financial freedom and security in the future” might propel you towards action.
On a normal day you might be more motivated by practical outcomes, such as “I want to get As so I can apply for x kind of job and make sure my parents are happy.”
On a shitty day I’ve personally found drill sergeant type self-talk such as “Stop being a bitch and sit down and study” does it more for me.
If you get more attuned to what motivates you on an inspired, on a normal and on a shitty day, you’ll take action more consistently and as a result learn faster. I’ve used this exercise lots of times before and recommend writing down at least 5 motivations for each of those 3 Whys when you start learning a new skill.
7) Speed of Implementation
Speed of implementation is about the time gap between learning theory and applying it.
The smaller this time gap is, the faster you implement what you learn and the faster you progress. The longer the time gap the more time you waste and the less likely it is that you’ll ever apply what you learned.
To become a fast implementer always decide on a next action immediately after learning some theory. So after reading a book, watching a video etc. ask yourself:
“What have I learned from this book that I can implement right now?”
Then go and do it.
8) Analyze your Learning in a Journal
Whether its strength training, studying for university, drawing or other hobbies – I’ve found journaling helps me internalize new lessons faster, become aware of sticking points and identify opportunities for progress.
Do this now: Grab a pen and a piece of paper, chose a skill or area in your life where you want to make faster progress and ask yourself these questions:
- What has worked well for me in the past to make progress in this skill? Can I do more of that?
- What is my #1 sticking point that keeps me from making progress?
- Which mindsets and behaviors of mine do I have to give up to overcome this sticking point?
- What actions do I have to take to overcome this sticking point?
- What are some resources (books, podcasts, websites, videos) that I can use to learn more about this sticking point and how to overcome it?
These are just some example questions you can ask yourself in a journal. Ultimately you want to ask questions that help you make sense of your experience and identify ways to make progress.
Last tip: You don’t need to buy an expensive notebook.
I’ve found that I rarely reread the notes I take, as the process of writing stuff down is where I get the most value from.
So just write on a napkin and feel free to bin it afterwards.
9) Polish your Productivity Skills
Being able to manage your time and knowing how to prioritize tasks is a prerequisite for accelerated learning. If you find it difficult scheduling time for learning, get overwhelmed by your schedule and are not the most organized person then check out my Simple Productivity Roadmap. In the article I help you make sense of the big picture of productivity.
10) Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Groups help people learn from each other, exchange ideas and push each other out of procrastination.
If you want to learn something fast try go and find like minded people in your area by attending classes or finding meet up groups.
However if its hard finding relevant groups in you area, participating in online forums and communities around your topic of interest is definitely a valuable substitute.
11) Get Laser-Like Focus:
Learn to focus intensely during your practice and learning sessions. The idea is simple: You are learning ineffectively when you are distracted, and effectively when you are focused. I wrote about how to improve your focus in this article, so check that one out if you are easily distracted. It’s a quick read and well worth your time if you struggle with this aspect of learning.
12) Study Learning Philosophies
Learning is a meta-skill, which means it’s a higher-order skill that’s applicable to many other skills.
I’ve found that the better I understood the process of learning in general, the faster I was able to learn different skills. And that’s the reason I wrote this article: to show you some ways I picked up over the years on how to learn faster.
If you enjoyed the strategies and tactics in this article I recommend digging deeper into the topic of how to accelerate your learning. My 3 favorite books on the topic are:
All of them explore learning as a metaskill, an understanding of which will help you speed up your learning in general.
I hope some of those tips were new to you. If yes – make sure you apply them today!