Now that you have your personalized learning schedule, throughout this section I’ll share techniques to help you implement it. In other words, I’m going to introduce you to accelerated learning.
This term may seem a bit bold, but I’ll keep using it all the same, to draw your attention to the importance of the speed at which you learn. Accelerated learning techniques are productivity techniques applied to learning.
Imagine that you are about to start a 200-hour learning schedule to achieve an intermediate level in a new subject. A productivity gain of just 10% will save you 20 hours. Think what you could do with those 20 hours!
Take Stock of Your Learning Environment
In the first section, you learned to adopt a learning attitude. In other words, how to create internal conditions favorable 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 categorizing them. Generally, these frictions or learning barriers will be either physical, material and physiological or digital and IT.
Summarize this idea in two tables: good and bad practice.
Fine-Tune Your Physical Environment
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.
Keep sheets of paper and 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.
Control your acoustic environment, favoring 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.
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 hydrated is also crucial for keeping your brain at maximum capacity.
Avoid heavy meals, excessively fast-release sugars or overdosing on caffeine. Small amounts of caffeine make you alert by inhibiting the experience of tiredness, but strong doses degrade the quality of your sleep, which is so valuable for learning.
Fine-Tune Your Digital Environment
On your computer desktop, open only the tabs that are absolutely necessary.
Keep entertainment tabs visible during your session.
Shut down your phone notifications for the duration of your session.
Be aware of each new notification (even if you don’t respond to it).
During your breaks, move away from your screen for a moment.
Take your breaks on Twitter, YouTube, TikTok or another social network.
Centralize all your digital notes in a single tool.
Spread your notes across various tools.
Accelerate your learning by becoming aware of and controlling your environment.
Optimize your physical environment, considering posture, tools, acoustics and nourishment.
Optimize your digital environment, considering digital workspace, distractions, breaks and notes.
Continue to the next chapter to accelerate your progress through active learning.