As long as I can remember, I always studied well: I graduated from school with a silver medal, and a university with a red diploma. None of the regalias ever came in handy for me, but in those fifteen years, I learned how to learn. Now I do it for my own pleasure: now I am learning graphics editors, then a third foreign language, then drawing. At the same time, I work in an office, play sports, I can play a set-top box for several hours in a row, I go to bars and coffee shops with friends – in general, I live a normal life. They ask me from time to time how I manage to study without damage to rest and other things. I pondered and decomposed my traditional answer “nothing special” to seven simple tips.
1. Get interested
To study what you are not interested in is a huge and useless work. Boring lessons and I want to walk – and if you do not skip, the facts are still remembered poorly, and forgotten easily. Perhaps you yourself noticed it – say, in school. For example, I loved foreign languages and could not tolerate science. The physics formulas disappeared from my memory almost immediately after graduation. But (it is nice that there is a “but” in this story) twelve years after graduation, I still speak German well.
In most cases, adults can choose what to learn – and that’s fine. If your case does not apply to the majority and the need to learn is dictated by external conditions – stimulate yourself. Need to learn R so that you are finally taken to the project on Data Science? Great incentive! Think of interesting problems if the language itself leaves you indifferent. Think about career prospects. In the end, think about the salary.
The council will also fit for those who are tired of learning and want to quit everything (sometimes even inveterate schools like me attend such moods). Remember for what it is you all. Once I was encouraging myself with thoughts of vacation, conjugating another Portuguese verb for the hundredth time: “Now I will suffer, and in the summer in Porto everyone will understand me”. By the way, that’s what happened.
2. Find a teacher
Or at least a mentor. You can learn a lot without help, especially if the area of knowledge is adjacent to yours – this is true. It is also true that it is difficult to organize yourself without an external constraint. And then, who will fix your mistakes? Who will show non-standard solutions? Who will patiently explain an incomprehensible topic for the fifth time?
Teacher, school or courses are good in the first place because they form your schedule. Binding to external factors organizes: two or three times a week you have lessons, in between — homework assignments — and now you already do it regularly. The bonus of studying with a mentor will be tricks for the initiates, whom he will probably share, experience and ideas of classmates, explanations on the fingers and the opportunity to ask the teacher a question. Studying on courses gives a reason (or even obliges) to redraw the schedule and continue to adhere to it.
3. Put yourself in context
It will be useful if studying becomes a part of your everyday life. Just imagine: knowledge is fixed, you do not get out of context, but at the same time continue to sit on Twitter or watch YouTube. It is enough to subscribe to thematic blogs – and the trick is done.
If you learn a foreign language, add a couple of speakers to your tape – so every day you will read something in the language, and at the same time you will learn slang expressions that are not in the textbooks. There should also be obvious advice about serials and movies in the original language.
Another life hack that works for me is to listen to podcasts in foreign languages while I go to work or do household chores. Audiobooks will work too.
Support your favorite bloggers at Patreon (a platform where you can support content creators with money). Many Internet celebrities of various profiles are registered there: programmers, designers, mathematicians, illustrators – whoever they are. Yes, it is paid, but the amount of donations starts from one dollar per month – and this is not so much. So you get access to a private blog, where creators often share the secrets of their work. This is a way to look under the hood of things that you like and thank their creator. Success!
4. Do not ignore inspiration.
Discipline and constant immersion in learning will do most of the work, and inspiration will be your accelerator from time to time. At the same time, you should not rely only on him: you can sit for a long time waiting for the right mood, but you can’t wait for him. Judging by my educational practice, inspiration appears more often if I practice regularly. I do not know how it works, but the mood to tinker with a difficult task comes more often if you are immersed in context. Perhaps regular practice drives away the fear that nothing will work out: mistakes are usually interspersed with successes, and this motivates.
If you want to solve a problem right now, do an exercise, draw a picture – do it. Do not tell yourself that it is better to wash the floor or watch a movie first: they can wait, but inspiration is a flying thing. When you watch the movie, the mood may disappear, but the learning task remains unsolved until the next time.
5. Neglecting something boring.
My schedule does not always fit everything that I want to accommodate there. Therefore, I prioritize and from time to time I postpone non-urgent and uninteresting things for the sake of my studies. If in my schedule they are fighting for a place to study and cleaning (I did not miss the last cleaning), then … I will choose to study in. Perhaps this method does not suit very conscientious people, but here everyone decides for himself.
To see if I can put off something boring and indefinite, I ask myself a few questions. What will be the consequences if I postpone this matter – and how serious are they for me? Which choice will make me happier right now? If I already missed cleaning last time, it means that now it is more priority than study. But if the refrigerator is empty, and I do not mind eating pizza from delivery, then you can safely do it. The main thing – be honest with yourself and do not be afraid to break the established order. If you do something wrong once, as you are used wireless headphones too, nothing terrible will happen.