If you want to learn something, remember these.

Reduce the search space

There's an abundance of things to learn online. But having too many decisions leads to no decisions. Pick something, do your research on what you need to learn and learn it.

If it works out, keep going. If not, do more research and see what you can do differently.

When I started studying machine learning and artificial intelligence, there were too many options, so I had to create my own AI Masters Degree.

Fix your environment

I can't imagine getting notifications on my Mac anymore. All of my devices are on permanent do not disturb. When I upgraded my phone to iOS 13, I realised I barely needed a smartphone. None of the productive things I do, except call friends, are on my phone.

So what did I do?

I removed all the distractions. I cleaned my room. I setup a study haven. I...

Set the system up so you always win

Making my room ready for studying means I've always got a clean room. I need my mind to be focused on what I'm learning, not what's cluttered around me.

Then I remembered what I can control and what I can't control.

I can't control whether I make through learning all of the new concepts I want to learn in a day. But I can control whether I spend 2-hours studying every day.

I can't control how long it takes me to learn something. But I can control the amount of time I dedicate towards it.

Sometimes do nothing

You've got 100 energy points per day. Studying takes a lot of them. Every time you consume a new information source, you spend your energy points.

Social media and always being connected drains your energy points.

When you take a study break, take a break.

Practice getting better at doing nothing, it's when your brain connects the dots you've been learning.

Ever wonder why you have some of your best thoughts in the shower?

Embrace the suck

Learning by definition is hard. You have to take something which isn't in your brain and get it into your brain.

When it gets hard, remind yourself, your creating new brain cells.

Maybe you won't notice them today. Or tomorrow, or the next day. But in a few months time, if you're consistent, you'll realise where all that effort went.

The 3-year-old mentality

Society loves to treat work and play separate. But what if you did something outlandish?

You decided to treat work and play as the same thing. You decide to be like a 3-year-old seeing the world for new.

Now instead of having the mindset of study being work, you see it as play and you dance from concept to concept.

Now all you have to do is keep dancing.

You love dancing right?

Sleep

Sleep is when your brain converts short-term memories to long-term memories. If you want what you're learning to stick around for the long-term, you'll be sure to get enough sleep.

When an athlete sleeps, their muscles repair themselves. They get stronger. Get used to the tasks they're used for.

When a student sleeps, their brain repairs itself. New connections get formed. Connections which weren't there before.

Nutrition

Your brain is the most energy hungry organ in the body. How you can expect it to function well when you feed it with garbage?

Keep it simple.

  • Whole foods
  • Learn to cook
  • Avoid things in a packet
  • If it requires an advertisement you don't need it
  • Eat less often

Movement

I was listening to a podcast the other day with some leading medical practitioners. They were discussing the best treatment and care options for patients with Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease where you lose your ability to think.

It's not fun. My dad has it. I see it first hand. And everyone has the chance to get some kind of it during their lifetimes.

You know what they said was the best way to delay the effects of the disease?

Exercise.

When you're stuck on something, get moving. Go for a walk. When you're finished studying, celebrate with a bike ride.

Keep moving, keep learning.

Study like an athlete. Intense, focused sessions, followed by rest and recovery.

Every time I forget these things, my ability to learn is f*cked.