No successful person is ever “finished” with their education. Even after you graduate from college, you may find the need to learn a new skill, study a new application, or engross yourself in a new field. Learning new things is a crucial aspect of growing both professionally and personally. The bad news is that sometimes individuals don’t always have the luxury of time on their side. If you need to master a new subject ASAP, then follow these five tips:
When facing a tight deadline, it can be tempting to try and accomplish multiple things at once. Yet, if you’re unfamiliar with a subject, you need to set aside time to grasp the basics of the matter first and foremost. Think of it this way: until you understand how to add, you can’t possibly try to take on multiplication tables. Budget out time to get the basics down –– and don’t hesitate to use overly-simplistic means to do so. There’s nothing wrong with using a Wikipedia page to do some background research.
Mix it Up
Instead of trying to read ten blogs on a single issue, consider mixing up your learning process with videos, podcasts, and infographics. Some people learn more effectively through these media. Plus, by varying your sources, you’ll gain access to different ways of approaching the same problem. This could prove invaluable down the line.
Talk to an Expert
Ideally, you should be able to discuss a subject with someone who has in-depth knowledge of it. People with firsthand experience of a topic can synthesize lots of information for you very efficiently. Also, they’ll provide you with quality feedback and point out any misconceptions you may have had. Welcome professional criticism during the learning process because it could prevent you from making a big mistake later on.
At a certain point, you’ll probably learn more from attempting a new project than you will simply reading about it passively. Though this can be scary at first, it’s important to practice with the tools you have at your disposal –– whether that’s a set of 5 ml serological pipettes or a new digital camera. Doing so will give you an important perspective that you might otherwise lack.
Keep Some Distance
While some professionals seem to enjoy an all-night cram session to tackle a problem, it’s generally a better idea to give yourself time away from a subject –– even if you’re working on a deadline. Stopping for a few hours to cook dinner, take a nap, or walk around the neighborhood can allow you to come back to the table with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm. And that will prove massively beneficial over the long haul.