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Last updated on 1/6/20

Manage your learning environment

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Now that you have your personalised learning schedule, I shall, throughout this section, convey to you techniques to best carry it out. In other words, I am going to introduce you to accelerated learning.

This term may seem a bit bold, but I shall keep using it all the same, to draw your attention to the importance of the speed at which you learn. By accelerated learning techniques, you should understand: "productivity techniques applied to learning".

Imagine that you are launching yourself upon a 200 hour schedule to achieve an intermediate level in a new subject. A productivity gain of just 10% will, then, save you 20 hours. Think for a moment about what you could do with those 20 hours.

Acknowledge your learning environment

In the first section, you learned to adopt a learning stance. In other words, how to create internal conditions favourable to learning.

To create optimal external conditions, systematically identify and reduce all the frictions holding back your learning, which make you lose time and willpower.

I suggest that you begin by categorising them. Generally, these frictions or learning barriers will be either physical, material and physiological or digital and IT.

Summarise this idea in two tables - good and bad practice.

Control your physical environment

Factor 

Good practice

Bad practice

Posture

For good blood circulation, adopt good posture, Keep your back straight and your shoulders back. If you are sitting at a table, stretch your legs as soon as you begin to feel less alert.

Learning sprawled on a sofa or in a chair with the computer on your knees. 

Staying seated in the same place for more than one hour at a time.

Tools

Keep sheets of paper and marker pens within reach. Taking freehand notes has advantages for creativity. By getting tools out at the start of the session, you will save yourself time and a bit of willpower. 

Not getting out your tools except when necessary, or not at all.

Acoustics

Control your acoustic environment, favouring silence or instrumental music. Though it does not directly improve your learning, instrumental classical or electronic music can help with concentration.

Listening to songs (with lyrics). This takes up a lot of attention and forces you to constantly alternate between the task of listening to the words and the task that you are doing.

Nourishment

Eat (in moderation) what your brain craves: good fats, slow-release sugars, vitamins, minerals etc.

Food is a complex subject and I am not qualified to give you nutritional advice. Nonetheless, be aware that your food influences your energy and, thus, your capacity to concentrate and learn. Staying hydrating is also crucial for keeping your brain at maximum capacity.

Avoid heavy meals, excessively fast-release sugars or overdosing on caffeine. If a small amount of caffeine makes you alert by inhibiting the experience of tiredness, a strong dose degrades the quality of your sleep, which is so valuable for learning.

Control your digital environment

Factor

Good practice

Bad practice

Workspace

On your computer desktop, open only the tabs that are necessary and not one more. 

Keep entertainment tabs visible during your session.

Distractions

Shut down your phone notifications for the duration of your session.

Be aware of each new notification (even if you do not deal with it straight away).

Pauses

During your pauses, move away from your screen for a moment.

Take your pauses on Facebook, YouTube or another social network.

Notes

Centralise all your digital notes in a single tool.

Spread your notes across various tools.

Summary

  • Accelerate your learning by becoming aware of and controlling your environment.

  • Optimise your physical environment, considering posture, tools, acoustics and nourishment.

  • Optimise your digital environment, considering digital workspace, distractions, pauses and notes.

Continue to the next chapter to accelerate your progress through active learning.

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement