Have you noticed that the older you get, the harder it becomes to learn things quickly?
I've certainly experienced this. When I was in my teenage years, I could learn endless things in rapid succession. This including being able to read and absorb complex books on computing in just a few hours. But when I got older, I noticed my reading slowed down — as did my ability to remember and recall facts and figures.
When I first noticed this, I became a little alarmed. However, instead of letting it get me down, I put my mind to finding some answers to the problem!
As you'll discover in this article, there are several simple techniques to help you learn faster and remember more. And once you adopt these techniques, you'll develop a love for learning that will last a lifetime. This will also increase your overall well-being in life, as well as boosting your confidence.
For example, imagine learning a new skill (perhaps being able to speak, read and write a new language). This could dramatically improve your life. You might secure a new job that requires a bi-lingual speaker. You might decide to retire in a new country that speaks the language. And you might even meet a new partner who falls for your verbal charms!
One thing is certain: Once you begin to enjoy learning again, you'll reignite your life. You'll have more energy, more drive, and much more fun.
Ready to learn the secrets of learning?
Then, join me as I reveal five tips for you to learn more and to learn faster:
1. Keep It Short
Set out to intentionally learn in short bursts of time. I recommend aiming for 30 minutes once a day, and then build up from there if necessary. This will prevent you from being overwhelmed by trying to take in too much new information.
For example, if you'd like to begin learning a musical instrument like the guitar or piano; don't try to learn too much, too soon. This will likely be counterproductive, as you'll not only tire your brain — but you'll most likely tire your fingers too! Instead, spend half an hour a day on learning your instrument. This will allow you to make steady but sure progress.
The same applies to reading a business or self-improvement book. If you want to successfully digest the key information, then don't try to read the whole book in one session. You'll take in much more if you just read a chapter a day.
2. Go Old School
Have you noticed that most learning nowadays involves computers? While this can be a great way to learn, I'd also encourage you from time to time to write things down with pen and paper.
Writing down what you learn has double the impact, as you're actually making yourself acknowledge the fact twice, rather than hearing it once and letting it slip away. And by writing it by hand, you'll have more investment and care towards the words you write down. This will make what you're learning more significant and memorable to you.
Think of it this way: Old school is the new school!
Personally, I like to carry a notepad with me at all time. This enables me to write down ideas that I come across during the day. And it can be especially useful in meetings or presentations, where I can easily jot down key themes to work on later.
3. Take a Nap
Studies show that once you've crammed lots of new info into your brain, you can help better store it in your memory by taking a nap.((BrainScape: Sleep On It! Why you’ll learn better with good sleep)) This is because taking a nap (as well as getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours sleep per night) helps keep your attention span and mental alertness at their peak.
Napping after studying can also help your subconscious mind process the stuff that your conscious mind has taken in.
So whether you're trying to cram for an exam, prepare for an important work presentation, or you simply want to remember the tips in this article — make sure you take a nap when you need to. This will ensure that your brain and memory are both operating at their best.
If you're still unconvinced by the power of napping, then consider this…
Researchers from Saarland University in Germany((Medical News Today: A short daytime nap could improve memory by fivefold, study finds)) found that a short daytime nap of around 45-60 minutes significantly boosted brain function. In fact, they found that learning and memory could be improved by up to five times. (Now that's something for you to remember!)
4. Don't Multitask
When learning something new, it's vital that you put 100% of your focus on the task.
For instance, trying to learn Spanish while cooking dinner and checking your emails may SEEM like you're being efficient — but the truth is that you'll retain way less by doing this than if you just dedicate a solid 30 minutes to studying Spanish.
Years of observing people working in offices has convinced me of the fallacy of multitasking. Sure, it looks like multitaskers are super-busy and productive. But in reality, they're spending their time and energy in a very unproductive manner. It's a bit like trying to run, dance and cycle all at the same time — you won't get anywhere, and you'll look ridiculous too!
If you're a multitasker, then please check out my article: Can’t Focus? Why You’ve Been Doing It Wrong and How to Focus Better
5. Drink More Water
When I was at college, I hardly ever drank water. I was much more interested in drinking Coca-Cola. Not only did these taste great, but I mistakenly believed that their high-sugar content would help keep my energy levels topped up. In reality, these drinks cause a dangerous sea-saw in energy and blood sugar levels.((Medical News Today: How soda impacts diabetes risk))
I became interested in drinking water, when not only my energy started to fade — but my overall health too. It was at this time that it became obvious to me that I was chronically dehydrated through consuming almost exclusively soft drinks.
As soon as I began drinking 2 to 3 litres of mineral water a day, I noticed a HUGE difference. I felt much more lively. My appetite improved. And… I found that my brain worked better than before. I could learn things easier and quicker than previously, and I also discovered that my ability to recall info was boosted too.
But you don't need to just take my word for the benefits of drinking water. According to a recent scientific study, drinking adequate amounts of water during exams was shown to improve students' grades.((BBC News: Drinking water improves exam grades, research suggests))
So there you have it: Five tips for boosting your ability to learn quicker and faster than ever.
If you want to revitalize your learning ability, then start putting these five tips into action immediately. Sure, it requires a bit of investment on your part — but the results will definitely be worth it.
Once you realize that you can remember and recall things easily again, your confidence will soar, and you'll almost certainly get the 'learning bug'!
With your new found drive, motivation and superpower memory, you'll be able to tackle things you may have only dreamed of doing before. For example, you could go back to college to study coding or philosophy. You could create a business plan for that company you've also thought of starting. And you could even start crafting the first chapter of that book you've always wanted to write.
Being able to process and remember information will set you apart from others. You'll be known as a quick-thinker who always has the necessary facts at their fingertips. What's more, you'll start to appear younger than your age — as your quick and agile mind will be more like that of someone 10 years younger than your real age.
It's no exaggeration to say that being able to learn faster and remember more will transform your life for the better.
The only question that remains is… what are you going to learn next?