We live in a society where the amount of information and opportunities to learn new things is forever expanding and readily available. The frustrating part can be how can we make the most out of the learning process? Especially if it is self-lead or under specific time constraints for work, school etc.

The following is a list I’ve compiled through my experiences teaching myself and learning everything from design techniques, to resume writing to home renovation tricks. Here is how to get the most from these experience and actually take away important new skills, techniques and knowledge.

 

    • In terms of learning something new where you are following a step-to-step procedures, (such as a tutorial for design or another hands-on project) it is important not to be stunted or discouraged if your results aren’t matching exactly what the tutorials shows. Obviously this is within reason, depending on your project, but when I am doing a design tutorial to create something from nothing in Photoshop or Illustrator, I’ve found, close counts. The reason behind this is that it is more important what you have learned during those steps leading up to the final result, than have it look identical. The point of doing tutorials like this is learn new things to be able to apply to future projects. (Also if it is something computer related, don’t be afraid to go back and redo steps you didn’t quite grasp the first time. Comprehending each step makes the final goal that much sweeter! I do not suggest taking this last line of advice if you are for example building a house or baking a cake, no undo button there…!)

 

    • This one relates to the first point: know when to take a step back to be sure you understand what you are trying to achieve. I am guilty of not doing this on many occasions. I work on a design project I am excited about, and nothing is good enough less than perfect. With this mindset, I obsess over the project and make changes to the point where it is no longer inline with what the original goal was. I am learning to get better at walking away, taking others input and from this, I am getting better results.

 

    • Sleep on it. This one works hand and hand with taking a step back. When you are trying hard for results and under stress, fatigue, and frustration can take over. Nothing good comes from this. It takes more brilliance and confidence to know when to walk away and sleep on it, than it does to trudge on. Sleep is important to the creative process (trust me!) and any learning you may be pursuing. Sleeping on it, allows you to refocus and come up with a fresh prospective.

 

  • Make clear goals. When you are diving into learning something new, it is important to outline from the very start what you hope to get out of the process. By outlining learning outcomes, such as: I want to know how to code a website, or manage my finances or effectively market myself to find a new job. Once you have narrowed down the “What” of this goal you can add the “Why” factor. For example : (What) To effectively market myself to find a new job, (Why) because I am currently unhappy with my job and deserve better. Now you can establish “How”, and that would be outlining your learning process. Whether you decide to read a book, take a course or read an online tutorial you will get the most out of the process if you before you start your goals are clear and manageable.

 

Alrighty, that covers most of what I wanted to share. If you are someone who enjoys reading, and learning new things, this should help you retain information and refocus to get the best out of your learning process.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for my next post!