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3 Key Tips To Learning In Lockdown


    Being in lockdown has given most of us some valuable time. While it’s great to have time for ourselves, learning can still feel like a challenge, despite having more capacity to do so. 

    It’s extremely easy to eat more, watch tv, procrastinate, play games, and the like, because our brain has a natural tendency to go towards those activities as there’s less effort involved in mental encoding.

    Add the rush of endorphins from binge-watching your favourite Netflix shows, and learning can seem like a very distant chore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

    Here are three key tips to help you make the most out of your learning during lockdown. 

    Tip number #1 – Break down what you’re learning into smaller tasks 

    The brain gets overwhelmed if it perceives a task to be too large. For example, if you say to yourself you want to learn another language, the brain ultimately sees the end goal of being able to speak and communicate in that language.

    This image created in your brain in this scenario can create a mammoth task for you to accomplish, hence the overwhelm leading to not taking any action. To climb a mountain, you do it step by step. 

    I suggest focusing on a very small part of whatever you’re learning and take action on that. Whether it is learning a new language, gardening, computer programming, cooking or even playing guitar.

    No matter how small the learning task may be, the action in itself will in turn create momentum to keep going. 

    How do you determine what a small part of a task is? 

    One way is to reduce the time you spend on the learning. If you previously budgeted 1-hour, maybe do the task for 10 minutes. You’re probably thinking that’s 50 minutes less than what I would normally do! I wouldn’t get much done. 

    Now remember, if you’re the type of person that procrastinates and withholds that 1-hour task, then the 10 minutes of learning is still better than zero minutes of learning.

    Even if you didn’t procrastinate, a 10 minute learning task in the mind is much more achievable than a 1 hour one. So there’s greater chance you will do it, almost every time. 

    Tip number #2 – Use the 1-minute rule 

    The 1-minute rule is simply doing the task for 1-minute. The aim however, is not to do the task for 1-minute, but to get to the task in the first place. Think about it.

    The issue people often have is not that they can’t do the task, it’s because they don’t even get to it in the first instance. Getting to the task every time can help you with consistency, which in turn makes learning a lot more helpful as the brain is engaging with what is to be learned on a regular basis. 

    So, how can you use the 1-minute rule? 

    A lot of people I coach often come to me because they want to improve their reading and comprehension. The real problem they have is getting to the reading in the first instance.

    There is no consistency because the brain is overwhelmed of “reading a whole book”. Like I mentioned earlier, the brain sees “reading of the book” as this huge mountain to be climbed which is where the overwhelm can kick in.

    When it does, people can shy away and find it exhausting even thinking of picking up a book and start reading. 

    Think of a loop. The brain loves to close off loops. Most things we do have set times like meetings, study periods, exercise, and so on. When the time we set for these periods reaches a point where we are satisfied, that is what I call a closing of the loop.

    Most meetings generally go for an hour, maybe 2 hours. Movies have set lengths as well as TV shows and even YouTube clips. Once things have reached the end, the loop is closed. 

    What happens when a loop is not closed?

    Imagine watching your favourite TV show and you stop watching halfway through. What do you think happens next?

    Well I can almost guarantee, that you will go back at some stage to finish off what you’ve been watching. In other words, you will do anything you can to close the loop.

    TV shows have been using this psychological hack for many many years to get viewers to keep watching. Why do you think binge-watching of shows occur? 

    The loop is never closed at the end of a show and because we want to know what happens next, we jump straight onto the next episode to try and close off that loop.

    But does the loop close? Nope. Because we want to watch that next episode don’t we! The brain just wants to close that loop. 

    If you’re struggling to get on to a learning task, go and do it for 1-minute. Your brain will have just gotten started and it will be so much easier to go on for longer.

    Remember, your goal isn’t to do the learning task for 1-minute, it’s to get to the task and let your brain do its thing. That 1-minute task could then easily go on for as long as you want. That’s the power of the 1-minute rule. 

    And finally, tip number 3 – Don’t rush anything. Slowdown and enjoy the process. 

    Learning should be a fun thing. If it feels like a chore every time, then you may need to re-evaluate if you really need to do it, or find a better way to make it more enjoyable like gamifying it, or providing some kind of personal challenge.

    Think about what made you want to learn in the first place. Get deep into that desire of having achieved whatever learning goal is that you’ve set, and make it come alive in your mind.

    Visualisation is one of the most powerful things we can do as humans. Use it to your advantage to help you enjoy learning. 

    Also slowing down difficult tasks, broken down can make things much more manageable. Slowing down also allows the brain to take note, have more time to encode and process information thoroughly.

    Introducing mindfulness into your learning can also help reduce stress and anxiety from any learning and put your brain into a relaxed state for taking in information. 

    There are many benefits to slowing down. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see more videos on Learning and Mindfulness. 

    So in summary those 3 key lockdown learning tips. 

    1 – Break down what you’re learning into smaller tasks 

    2 – Use the 1-minute rule 

    3 – Don’t rush. Slowdown and enjoy the process. 


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