Thursday, December 11, 2008

10 Ways to Learn Faster - Speed Learning

10 Ways to Learn Faster - Speed Learning

By Jim Estill

I spend a good portion of my time learning and I wish I could learn at a tremendously greater rate because I believe knowledge can be a competitive advantage. Knowledge is power; knowledge allows me to continue to thrive. As a result I have studied how I can learn faster. I blogged about learning faster a while ago.

Some tips are:

1) Repeat: Sometimes some of the things I need to learn are a little bit boring and I found the best way to learn them is through repetition. Space it over a bit of time for even better retention.

2) Use multiple senses: I learn when I listen to an audio program. I learn better when I listen to an audio program and make notes.

3) Take a speed-reading course: I have found that the greatest source of knowledge is through reading so it only makes sense to use the tool of speed-reading. Some people say they don't want to speed-read because they enjoy reading. Trust me, speed-reading does not take out the enjoyment of reading. If anything, it enhances it because you can read more. Others do not want to speed-read because they feel their comprehension will decrease; however, it won't. Trust me your comprehension will actually increase if you speed-read.

Consider speed-reading to be one of the best long-term investments that you can make.

4) Practise learning: I have a belief that we have multiple areas and facets of our mind and we tend to not exercise many parts of it. As a result I tend to do exercises for my mind outside of the area that I normally study. For example, I am not naturally a musical person so if I would try to do something musical, that stretches my mind. For some people, it might be learning a foreign language.

5) Exercise: I have read a lot on how to make a brain better and one of the repeated themes is to be healthy. The simplest of things is to create movement and exercise. This is everything from small passive movements to active engaged exercise. This is something I practise well.

6) Eat right: Eat nutritious food so that it will fuel your brain.

7) Sleep right -- yes, I finally said it. In my earlier time management seminars I often preached that sleep was for wimps. I have now changed my mind and believe that a lack of sleep causes a lack of learning, lack of memory, lack of retention and it just is not healthy. Because I want to be so involved in the world, it often bothers me that I have to sleep and I am afraid that I will miss things. I am not purposing that people over-sleep and I think seven hours is adequate for most people; but I do believe cutting sleep to less than five or six hours on a consistent basis is a bad idea.

8) Change: I find that learning for me tends to max out after I have been absorbed in something for a period of time. The easiest way for me to get around this is to change something else. It doesn't mean that I can't start learning something different but I tend to lose my focus, lose my learning energy after about 20 or 30 minutes. (I might be ADD.)

9) Have a learning plan: Like everything I do in life, having a plan helps me to move forward on things. There is no reason not to have a learning plan. What are the things that you want to learn, what are some tricks that will help you learn them?

10) Copy: One of the easiest ways to learn is to copy what others do and how other people learn. Simply copying how other people do things is often enough to get things done.


At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about all you wrote, especially the point about speed reading. The problem is that most people don't know where to go to learn to speed read so I thought you'd like to know I just launched a corporate quality online speed reading course that is delivered in just 3 hours, on your computer, 24/7. You can learn more about it at I hope this helps you and your fellow bloggers learn how to speed read!
Abby Marks Beale

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jim,

Since you came clean and publicly retracted your earlier stance on sleep, I promise to never tease you again about the "sleeping is for wimps" quote.

I found it interesting, but not surprising, that you said you might be afflicted with ADD.

Only this past week, during a seminar I gave in Calgary, I made the remark how a lot of people these days THINK, they might suffer from ADD.

I would like to suggest that there is a very good chance that you DO NOT have ADD. (My statement should not be construed as a reliable, medical diagnosis.)

What I'm saying is merely an observation, based on our collective decline of attention span. The latter is due primarily (if not exclusively) to our allowing the ever increasing speed of technology to erode our will and ability to slow down (if not stop) and think, or otherwise absorb and digest the information-tsunami pouring out of email, voicemail, Blackberies, etc.

Repetition is the mother of knowledge (retention), as you correctly identified it. But when was the last time you allowed yourself the luxury of going back to something you read before? There is simply no time for this, because so much new information is coming your way, like an avalanche.

No, don't worry about ADD. Instead, just like you may now allow yourself a bit more sleep, allow yourself to slow down (or giving more time) for your high priority tasks, which support your business and personal objectives.

At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

definitely suggest Speed Reading dude, It has helped me a lot in my studies. Well, sleeping right may sound cliche' but it works...haha, nice tips

At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those were nice tips.. I need to show them to my mum so that she can allow me to sleep well. She keeps on waking me up early morning for studies. Now I can show this to her and tell that sleeping is very important and I need to sleep :p


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