Why ELIMINATING Distractions is essencial for Learning a new Skill

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A few years ago, I would read the title of this post and I would think: “haha... if I study less, I will get a worse grade. And why eliminating distractions?”.I didn’t believe I could actually get good grades if I studied only a few hours, unless I was a genius. I did believe, I could get good grades if I studied a lot! Is learning even a skill you can improve? I did not believe on those things.For me, studying and learning, was a matter of hours. The more hours I studied, the better grade I could get. In general, this can be true. What I didn’t know was that I could study much less hours, and still get the same grade. It was always a matter of hours to me. If I studied Biology for “x” hours, I could probably get a “Y” (grade).Thankfully, after reading dozens of personal development books, I understood that studying is a skill that can be improved, just like any other. (No, you don't need to read dozens of books to came to that conclusion...)I tested, tried, failed and experimented with different habits and study techniques. I changed the way I studied and saw the whole learning experience as something you can become better at.I can guarantee you that learning is a skill! A very important skill, that must be improved. Learning is not only important when you’re in school or college. It’s a lifetime skill. You need to learn and study relationships, business, productivity, your company strategies, etc. And if you’re learning while doing other tasks, you will not be a good learner.Usually, my studying sessions were something like this:

  1. I would sit on the sofa;
  2. The tv was on;
  3. My brother was playing Ipad with the sound on;
  4. I would open the book and I would start reading it;
  5. I would turn the pages while I checked the tv quickly;
  6. Oh, a Facebook notification!

Most of my energy was wasted on switching from one activity to another… they call it context-switching. The more you switch from one activity to another, the more tired and fatigued you feel.Instead of taking me 1 hour to read the whole Biology chapter, it would take me 2 hours, or even more (it depended on the amount of notifications I received during my study session!)

The thing that helped me the most to reduce the amount of time I needed to study was: ELIMINATING DISTRACTIONS! 

Here's how I actually try to learn something new:

  1. I never check Facebook while I’m studying;
  2. I study on my room, alone;
  3. No TV;
  4. I put my headphones on, while listening to study and focus music;
  5. I study for pre-defined blocks of time;
  6. 1 task at a time;
  7. 100% focus (read my post on how to focus intensively, for a deeper understanding on this matter);
  8. No context-switching.

If you actually start eliminating distractions, you can reduce a LOT the amount of time you need to study.Why are you wasting 2 hours doing something that could take you 1 hour? There are also a lot of techniques and methods that help you to study better. I also changed my method along the way. I still change it now because there’s always space for improvement.But, if you start eliminating distractions TODAY you can reduce the time you need to study TODAY.

learningFilipa Canelas