August 30


How To Learn Faster & Smarter

By Joel

August 30, 2021

wwI’m super excited for today’s topic. Because today we’ll be diving into what are some of the best methods on how to study smarter and in general just learning better. So how can you avoid burnout, stop that annoying procrastination & increase productivity to the next level. I that sounds just a tiny bit interesting, well, then this video is definitely for you.

So how this video is going to be structured is that I will be going over the 3 components you need to master when doing this, and the 3 stages to learn and study smarter.

The 3 components I mentioned earlier has to do with getting your body in peak state, having a strong mindset and using the best scientifically proven learning/ study methods out there. They are essential in all stages of studying. The stages are before studying, during and after.

Let’s begin with some some of the most important things you need to do at stage 1, before you start studying.

Get into a great state. Tony Robbins is a big fan of really long immersive seminars. One of the reasons participants are able to stay engaged and learn is before even starting you’ll be putting yourself into a great state. It can be by listening to your favorite music, dancing, doing breathing exercises. Whatever gets you going will enable you to learn and acquire information much better because you are linking emotions to it.

Know your why. Another great thing is if you’re able to link a purpose to what you are learning, to basically know your why. We all know motivation is temporary, but if we have a bigger reason for doing it we have an easier time to pull through that resistance. This is one of the core messages from Simon Sineks great book start with WHY.

Setting goals. Talking about how to study smarter, I obviously have to mention to set smart goals. I will not go so in depth about it, there is other great videos it there for that. Usually if we’re in school the subject we’re taking already have some preset goals, which state what you need to understand to get a certain grade. But we can always set our own goals and learning outcomes for whatever thing we’re going to take on. One of the best ways is with smart goals. Make it specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound.

Schedule it. Block out time in the calendar for when you are going to do deep work. When and what are you going to study. Commit to follow your schedule.

Use the 5 second rule. If you struggle with procrastination, this is a great tool to use. Often we wait to do something because we wait for motivation to feel good before starting, that’s why we often push thing forward when we hope we’ll feel more motivated to do them. The 5 second rule is something author Mel Robbins tells us to do by just counting to 5 and then deciding to do it no matter how we feel. Because often motivation comes by itself when just sitting down and doing the works because we get momentum. For example if you set a goal of at least reading 1 page of a book each night, you are pretty likely to read more.

Hey, you doing great. Amazing job so far. That was stage 1, what you do before studying or learning. Now we will get into stage 2. What you can do during studies.

One of the most common things is to learn through reading text books. But most of us don’t have a strategic way of doing so.

Reverse engineering. Try to see the end in mind and work from there, backwards in time. Deconstructing the steps. You can obviously use past papers and analyze them. But an easy practical example how you can absorb any textbook in an amazing is by doing this. It’s an approach I think I first learned from Matt DiMaio, he’s an amazing teacher here as well.

  • Go through it page by page just looking at it. It gives you chance to make sense of the material like how much text is it, what images, exciting titles
  • Check for quizzes or summary at end of the chapter. It helps you know what to look for when reading through it more deeply. Basically tells you what probably is most important to understand
  • Read the bold. The titles, sub-headings, topic headings. It’s basically what the author uses as a highlighter to mark important sections
  • Read first and last part of the paragraphs. The fist can be seen as an introduction and the last part as a summary of the paragraph. So what you’re doing is that you are exposing your mind briefly to the different building blocks of the text. And without reading everything your brain can sort make sense out of it. You can’t fully understand it, but now you’re exposed to it and can have a map of what’s important and can easier see the bigger picture easier make connections once you read through the material more in detail.
  • Now you can start reading each chapter and taking notes. This without having to re-read each chapter a bunch of times. You have turned on your reticular activating system, which means you can easier scan for information, and be aware of what is most likely important and good to learn.

Capture it. If you don’t have a specific book to read and have to gather research on your own, it’s good if you have a convenient way to capture information. Nowadays there’s great web clippers out there such as the notion web clipper, evernote or pocket. I personally use Notion. It’s a great way to be able to also database information and easily sort things when you need to find it.

Note taking the good way- by linking your thinking. Shout out to Nick Milo who’s an amazing content creator of this concept. It’s not enough with just collecting and databasing things. You need to be able to write with your own words and connect ideas with each other. The author Arthur Schopenhauer describe it as this, I quote “when we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process”. So it’s crucial to make sure you know what you are reading, and somewhat engaging with the content. The way I do it is with a form of the Zettelkasten method, using a really cool tool called Obsidian. This means you are taking smaller notes and then linking relevant notes to each other. They can be evergreen and evolve with you overtime as your knowledge grows. In Obsidian you have a graph view that’s amazing and if you take notes in a smart way it’s almost like you learning in a way that as natural as when neurons in the brain link to each other it’s called synapses and you are making the connections stronger with a system like this. can go into this more in depth in another video if that sounds interesting.

Okay, we have covered a lot so far. Are you still with me? Of course you are. And that’s amazing. I believe you are someone wanting to achieve outstanding results. And after watching this video you definitely will do that.

That brings us into the next point. Even if you are a high achiever, it’s important to:

take breaks. Some people use the Pomodoro technique and stay focused for 25 minutes on a task and take a small break of like 5 minutes. I personally work for longer periods because I feel it’s hard to get into the work in that short period and be in flow. For me it works best to take a small break every hour or 90 minutes. Great things to do is to get more air to your brain and blood moving in your body so you could just be dancing, jump around, take a walk or improve your juggling skills.

Speaking about breaks, if you like this video so far and think it provides value, I would appreciate it so much if you took a moment to hit that like button, subscribe to the channel, don’t forget to turn on all notifications on that bell icon, please comment down below if you have any questions so far or what you are excited about so far.

Let’s now jump into maybe the most exciting part with some of my favorite and absolute best scientifically proven learning methods. You might have heard the saying “repetition is the mother of learning”. I see it as some of the most useful skills to be able to reinforce what you learn and really make it stick and be certain you really know things.

Active recall- build a question box/ bank- Notion. Active recall is just what it sounds like, you being able to actively talk or write about the information you have studied. Main takeaway is to not remain passive while studying. One of the best methods is by building a question bank/ box, whatever you wanna call it, filled with relevant questions about the subject. Then asking your self questions and having to find the answer in your mind before checking if it’s correct. I use a program called Notion for this. Mainly because it has a toggle option, so you can write questions and hide the answers. You can also use something like google sheets and hide the column with the answers.

One of the most effective ways to use active recall is with a method called:

Spaced repetition. This is especially common among medical students or language learners, where you have to remember many new words or complex terminology. It is is using active recall in a systematic way by using the science of the forgetting curve. It’s how our memory ability as human’s works. It was discovered by the psychologist Herrmann Ebbinghaus over a century ago that there’s a certain amount of time from when we learn something until we forget something. And knowing the time when we should reinforce information is crucial to make it stick in our memory. It is shown here in this graph. Today there is great app solutions out there that helps you do this. Best is to use a flashcard app. One of the most popular and most powerful apps is Anki. With it you create flash cards with questions and answers. Then grade yourself on how well you know the information. Depending on how well you said you remember it, you get the same question showing up in a time frame right before you are starting to forget about it. It can be within 3 minutes, then 4 days, then 2 weeks and so on until it’s in the long term memory.

Something we often forget to do, even though it might be the best method of them all is to:

Teach others. If you would see learning methods as a pyramid, teaching others would definitely be on top as one of the best ways to acquire knowledge. The National training labratory, suggests that most students only learn 10 % of what they read, but when they teach others they can reatin as much as 90 %. So that’s quite a difference. If you want a great method for this I highly recommend the Feynman technique. It works like this:

  1. Choose a concept
  2. Teach a toddler
  3. Identify gaps
  4. Review & simplify

It is essentially like being questioned by that annoying kid that always asks why, why is it like that, why though, why. What it makes you do is breaking things down to the root, and simplifying with your own words, so you truly know what you think that you know, and NOT like we talked about “simply repeating someone else words” with the illusion that we really understand it.

Woow, you’re still with me. Keep on going! Now it’s the last stage. This will be shorter. What to do after studying/ learning.

Reflection. You can obviously do this along the way too. But extra important is that you finalize something with a reflection to really sum up your thoughts, feelings and experiences around it. It helps you to unlearn old truth and learn new things. Reflection also helps in general to remember things better.

A method for doing this is to use Roger Greenway’s “active reviewing cycle”. You can think about it as 4 F’s of reflection. At the company I work with Colearn, we have also added a fifth F too. But they are these:

  • Facts- An objective understanding of the experience
  • Feelings- Connect to emotional reactions
  • Findings- Question assumptions and draw conclusions
  • Future- Decide how to apply learning in the future
  • Friends- Share reflections, learnings, and actions

So these are some questions you can reflect on after reading, watching or listening.

  • What are the elements from the content that stuck with me?
  • What emotions did I feel when I was engaging with the content? What do I feel now?
  • What did I learn that I didn’t know before? What challenged my existing knowledge?
  • How might I use this new or surprising information in the future? What shall I read/watch/listen to next?
  • Who am I going to tell about this, and when?

An end of the year reflection can look like this:

  • When I think back over the year, what moments stand out to me? Write a list of them.
  • What are the 3-4 dominant feelings that summarise last year for me?
  • What did this last year teach me about myself? What was predictable? What was surprising?
  • So, what am I going to focus on for this coming year?
  • Share what you have learned about the last year with someone close to you.

When it is over. And also along the way I should say, remember to:

Celebrate your achievements.

Reward yourself for progress along the way, heading in right direction. Generates dopamine to keep on going like when you run a marathon need to encourage yourself along the way about how good your doing

So many people forget about this. And it’s so unfortunate. Because it’s so important. Many of us achieve a lot, but we are just not fully aware of it or take time to celebrate and reward ourselves. When you celebrate accomplishment it can fuel yourself with energy and create more hunger to continue. A great way like we’ve touched on is to journal your journey. For example thinking about and writing down:

  • What are the magic moments today or this week?
  • What are the successes today or this week?
  • What am I grateful for and appreciate?

Other things you can do can be:

  • Having what we call in Sweden Fika with friend’s, basically going for coffee in a café or something
  • Go to the cinema, bowling
  • Treat yourself with watching some Netflix
  • Host a celebration party
  • Simple things like going for a walk, buying yourself your favorite ben and jerrys ice cream

No matter what you do. Remember to just stop for awhile. Appreciating and feeling proud of what you’ve done or just the progress you’re making at the moment. When you acknowledge your greatness you reinforce it and build momentum to keep going. What gets rewarded- gets repeated.

Well. That’s it. It’s a wrap. You’re now equipped with some really powerful tools and are ready to dominate studying and learning new things. I really hope you have learned a lot and found this video useful. If you did, then please share it with maybe your class mates, colleagues at work, your children, your parents… your dog. Maybe. Maybe you got a really smart-ass dog. I don’t know. But I do know that it would mean so much to me if you like it that you actually hit like on the video, subscribe to the channel, and comment down below if there’s anything that you learned, found interesting or that you are curious about that I can do for the next video?

Bye for now, and remember.. to STAY CURIOUS!

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