3 Ways to Learn Things Faster

In the past, it was enough to learn one skill or trade and then stick with that for life. But as entrepreneurs, we’re constantly having to take on board new information, learning about the world as we go. As such, learning has actually become a core part of what it means to be an entrepreneur. It’s about constantly re-skilling so that one is equipped to deal with all the new tools and technologies, generated by the modern world. Many of these tools also offer a significant competitive advantage.

Repeat Stuff Over And Over

Have you ever wondered why you can remember some stuff more clearly than you can other stuff? How about your drive to work in the morning? Do you remember the route? Of course, you do: you’ve done that route every day for the past five years.

Photo Credit Jisc

The reason you remember it so clearly is that you’ve been exposed to it time and time again. Your brain realizes that knowing the route to work is important, so every time you travel down it, it strengthens the connections between those neurons. Other things, like that article on entrepreneurship you read in July last year, aren’t as well remembered because you only exposed yourself to its ideas once.

Ander Ericsson from Florida State University points out that people think that exceptional performance is somehow different from normal performance and that individuals who are great at something must have some sort of innate talent. As it turns out, he says, they were usually just the people who did stuff over and over again until they got good at it. In other words, they strengthened the neuronal connections that they needed to master a particular topic.

Deconstruct Skills

The next part of “hacking learning” is to figure out where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. As this Udemy review points out, there are thousands of courses available for entrepreneurs on the internet, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. The question is, which are most relevant to your business?

Here’s an excellent opportunity to invoke the Pareto principle. It’s the idea that in business, 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your customers. It can apply to your employees too: many entrepreneurs will tell you that 80 percent of the value that they generate comes from 20 percent of their employees. The same thing applies to education: 80 percent of your results will come from 20 percent of the time you spend learning, so choose what you learn wisely.

Don’t Multi-Task

Here’s a simple rule to follow: computers are for multi-tasking, people are not. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a woman, a man or a child, our brains just aren’t wired up to focus on multiple things at once. When it comes to learning, multitasking can actually hamper our efforts by reducing our ability to focus on the same issue, long term. Distractions take cognitive resources away from our learning faculties and redirect them to the task at hand, even if it’s something as mundane as checking your Twitter feed.