I want it and I want it now! We say this to ourselves every single time we demand instant gratification, quick results, or fast progress at something- even though we may sound like children. There are some ways to actually speed up the way we learn and improve at something however. Ironically, many of the ways to get better at something fast involve not focusing so much on results, but instead focusing on the process of getting better.
- Practice. A lot.
This one might be common sense, but the number one way to get better at something is to practice. Even if its hard, even if its boring, even if its not fun, if you want to get better at something you need practice. Through the dedication to practicing and learning, you will develop skill and experience that will make you better at what you are doing. Whether it’s math, saving money, speed reading, or playing tennis, practicing will help make you better.
- Read books or articles from experts.
Experts exist in practically every field imaginable. Many experts get big book contracts to write: articles, blogs, books, and they even do interviews directly passing on the skills and knowledge they learned while mastering an area of expertise; people are willing to pay big money to learn these lessons straight from an expert who has already been through it. Books, articles, videos, and speeches from others who are already amazing at what you are trying to learn will make your life easier, motivate you along the way, and help you make your practice more valuable.
- Practice smarter, not harder (focus on process over production)
As you learn more about the ways that other successful people practice and get better at something, you can try to apply the same techniques to your own practice. For example: if you are working on developing your public speaking skills and a famous speaker recommends- in an article- to join toastmasters or give speeches each month at a get together, you can implement this practice and increase the speed at which you learn. Its not always just about working harder, but sometimes we have to learn to work smarter as well.
An easy trap to fall into when trying to get better at something is to focus only on results. As we focus more on our results over actual improvement, we begin to build pressure on ourselves. Each time we fall short or fail to meet our expectations, we are hard on ourselves and we can stifle our motivation and drive. By choosing to focus on the practice and on doing the things we need to do to get better instead of focusing on results, we can lift some of the weight off of our shoulders and really enjoy what we are doing. By focusing on the process over the product, we can learn to love the journey of getting better.
- Set goals.
By setting measurable and precise goals we can better motivate ourselves and measure ourselves against our own goals rather than against other people. When we compare ourselves against others, we can often be left feeling inadequate or unsatisfied, but when we look at how we’re doing today versus 1 year ago, it becomes much clearer how far we have come along the way. Additionally, goals help us stay motivated and focused on the things we need to do each day in order to get better. If we set a goal to write an article every day, eventually we are going to write a lot of articles and get much better.
- Evaluate and take notes.
Whenever you are practicing, reading, or setting goals, take notes of the process along the way as you learn important new details; you can make notes each time you learn something new, that you can review at a later time. As you learn new things, you will inevitably begin to focus on new details and you will start to forget older revelations. By regularly evaluating your progress, results, and the ways in which you are actively seeking to improve, you can make adjustments as needed and cement the things that are working well.
By using these 5 simple tips you can increase your productivity, learn faster, and incorporate new information better. It may feel counterintuitive to set goals when you could be practicing instead, but you must learn to focus on how to get better more than you focus on just getting better.
Shane Sorensen is a life coach, nurse, blogger, and the owner of www.MakeYourBestSelf.com. If you would like to learn more you can visit his website, or email him at ShaneSorensen@MakeYourBestSelf.com