As adults, we have to continuously keep learning and updating ourselves. Most adults, however, have an aversion to learning. Images of walking into exam halls, shivering through vivas and battling with sadistic professors flash through our minds when we even think about studying anything new.
Our brain is a miracle of organic technology – Did you know that a single adult human brain can hold all the information that’s on the internet?! Yet we struggle to remember faces and phone numbers. There are ways to make the learning process easier, effective, efficient and possibly even enjoyable.
One of the key ways involves understanding that there are two aspects to our brain when it comes to the process of learning.
The first aspect or the “Focused” aspect assimilates information. It “takes in” whatever is going on. The problem here is that a vast majority of people can stay “focused” for limited periods of time – around 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of work, the mind starts to wander and your ability to take in more information takes an exponential dip.
Many people fail to realise this simple truth and keep trying to focus at whatever is on hand, quickly becoming frustrated, angry and losing interest. Thus becoming averse to the task at hand. After 45 minutes of work, take at least a 20-minute break. In this break, don’t do any “focused brain” activity. As an fyi, browsing Facebook or Instagram is focused brain activity. So is playing a game or watching TV.
Going for a walk, playing with your dog, taking a shower… anything you know how to do very well and can do without “thinking” counts for unfocused activity. Meditation and power naps are perhaps the BEST unfocused activities you could do.
This brings us to the second aspect of the brain the “Diffused” brain. This part of the brain is the smart part of the brain and this is what takes all that information you absorbed and makes sense of it. This part of the brain is responsible for giving you those Ah-Ha!! moments. Those insights. Those times when you think how come I didn’t manage to figure that out before?!
The only problem with this part of the brain is that it cannot be hurried and will take its own time. A few hours to two to three days. That’s one of the reasons we say “I will sleep over it” when faced with a tough situation. During sleep this part of the brain is active. It’s nice to know that good sleep can ensure fantastic insights and solutions.
Use both parts of the brain while working or learning anything. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you managed to accomplish when you use the work-rest-repeat formula.
Our books Ready, Study, Go! and Happiness Express cover these topics in much greater details.
Stay tuned for an online workshop to Organically Accelerate Learning.