For all my students readers, exams are coming! Bringing with them intensive learning sessions (and nice coffee breaks as well, let’s admit it)… Like every other year, you’re in a rush and you’ll try to swallow huge quantities of informations in only a few days. So, how about increasing your performance and optimizing the time spent in your books?
I recently read an article about ways to increase the efficiency of a sport training and I’ll transpose them from the sport field to the learning of new knowledge and your professional activity in a way to increase your efficiency and help you reach your goal.
Here’s how to work and learn faster:
Set specific goals for each session
Before getting your work done (revising for an exam, learning a new language or starting a new project) it’s essential to set specific goals for your session, which is the time you decided to spend on this task for the day. Just say « this morning, I’ll learn chapter 3 and 4 », « today I learn 50 new words in Spanish », « tonight I’ll finish the logo of my website » etc.
This will allow you to:
- Structure your session by aiming at a specific goal.
- Be more conscient of what and why you do something, which will help you to better integrate new informations.
It’s important to divide big tasks in small precise goals. When it’s about learning, you can for example divide informations by themes and write key concepts on small paper cards. If you have to manage a huge project at work, divide it also in sub-objectives (finance, communication, realization, sponsoring, law etc.) and take them one by one. Realizing multiple sub-objectives will give you a clear view of the different parts of the project, will avoid you discouragement and make you conscious of your daily accomplishment.
Aiming at a big objective will increase the risks of not reaching it and could lead you to demotivation. Small victories are better than a big failure!
Having fun while working is the key to stay determined and motivated.
A study showed that presenting an educational program in a fanciful way increases learning and motivation for kids of 8 to 10 years old. Other searchers discovered that a person performs a task better if she considers it as important and fun.
All means are good to make a task fun:
- If you’re learning a new language with a friend, challenge him to buy you a drink if you know more words than him at the end of the day! Transform your learning sessions into a fun competition!
- If you’re working on something that doesn’t require too much focus or thinking, put some uplifting music on! You won’t realize that you’re working and feeling pleasure during your task will increase your motivation and your performances. If you’re revising in a library, just be careful that the guy next to you doesn’t hear that you’re listening to “Wannabe” of the Spice Girls, you’re academic career could suffer from that…
- If you’re working on a really boring or hard task, just plan a rewarding activity (practicing sport, meet a friend, watch a movie…Anything that will bring you joy!) that you will do after completing your task. The perspective of the reward will help you finish your work and will reinforce your behavior.
If you want to optimize your time and boost your productivity, it’s essential to:
- Set specific goals at the beginning of the session.
- Divide your objective in small precise steps that you will complete one by one.
- Make your work fun and stimulating.
By following this, you’ll increase your motivation, reduce the time working on your tasks and optimize your learning.
And you? How do you make your work fun?