1. Start with a spaced repetition
Whether you’re learning to play the saxophone or studying a foreign language, repeating scales or reviewing vocabulary is the only way to mastery. Practice, or repetition, makes perfect. There is a scientific explanation for why this works. Repetition increases the myelin, or fatty coating, around the axioms that connect the neurons in our brain. The more myelin, the faster our neurons work, and the better we learn something.
It turns out that spacing out the replay, rather than grouping it into a single session, is even more effective. Demonstrating the power of spaced repetition, Gabriel Wyner, author of In Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language and Never Forget It, writes:
“In a four-month period, practicing for 30 minutes a day, you can expect to learn and retain 3,600 cards with 90 to 95 percent accuracy. These cards can teach you an alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, and even pronunciation. And they can do it without getting tedious, because they are always challenging enough to remain interesting and fun. “
So we not only increase our retention, but we also avoid the traps of waning enthusiasm, also known as boredom.
To use this learning technique, start by establishing a manageable study schedule. Then I would recommend choosing a method for storing and organizing the information. In the old days, that meant using cards, but today we have useful software options like Evernote and SuperMemo. And don’t forget to test yourself periodically. Tracking your progress will increase your motivation to continue.
2. Take the time to reflect
Reflection can be invaluable for learning and improving performance at work. Harvard professor Francesca Gino and her colleagues found that employees who spend 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting on lessons learned have 23 percent better learning after 10 days than those who did not.
In addition to solidifying what we have already learned, reflection also helps generate new ideas. I’ve had some of my best product ideas when I’m not working. During my morning exercise or on the walk after lunch, I will find the perfect solution to a problem that has been bothering me for weeks.
As the psychologist, Scott Barry Kaufman explains: “Our most creative ideas do not usually appear when we are consciously focused on the problem. Great ideas come from interacting with people, gaining experiences, and letting the mind make connections. ” In fact, Kaufman found that 72 percent of people have new ideas … where else? The shower. These “shower ideas” are the result of reflection, as our brains make connections between the information that we have already consumed. That is why I encourage my employees to use their vacation days. After some genuine free time, they return to the office with more energy and often with a new vision.