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When learning, there are times in which you are focused and times in which you allow your mind to wander. Both modes are valuable to allow your brain to learn something.
Take regular breaks, meditate, think about other things, and give yourself plenty of time in both modes.
The goal is to learn each concept in a way that they each become like a well-known puzzle piece.
In order to master a concept, you not only need to know it but also to know how it fits into the bigger picture.
Know when to apply a particular concept is as important as knowing how.
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It can keep you accountable, but it can also lead to a false sense of completeness. One way to avoid sabotaging yourself is to state your goal as a commitment rather than progress towards the finished product.
But we can’t maximize the time we spend learning because our feelings about what we ‘should’ be doing get in the way.
If we are learning for work, then in our brains learning equals work. So we think we have to do it during the day, at our workplace.
We think that walking is not learning. It’s ‘taking a break’. We instinctively believe that reading is learning. Having discussions about what you’ve read, however, is often not considered work, again it’s ‘taking a break’.
When mastering a subject, our brain has two general modes of thinking: focused and diffuse, both important in the learning process.
The focused mode is what we traditionally associate with learning. But we need time to process what we pick up, to get this new information integrated into our existing knowledge. We need time to make new connections. This is where the diffuse mode comes in.