Skip to main content

Tips on finding time to learn

We have so many distractions nowadays so it is a challenge to find time to learn anything?? There are also so many excuses you can give yourself such as that video to watch or tv series to catch. 
Here are a few tricks I used myself.
The concept to find time to do anything is really to make the learning progress more efficient, more effective and as fuss-free as possible in order to save on the time spent on them. 

1) Speed listening to audiobooks
Train yourself to speed listen at 1.5x --> 1.75x --> 2x 
This means you can finish the same content 2x the time!

Ever since I had trained myself to do this, I was able to go through books so much faster. I find that I understand more than when I read the book. Maybe cos I do not know how to speed read yet, I tend to scan rather than speed read thus I do not recall the content as much. However, when you listen to an audio at 2x speed, you really had to focus and that effectively helped with the retention of the content.  

2) Speed listening to videos
Listening to videos at 2x speed means you can finish the content faster. Of course, this is only for technical learning videos. I watch relaxing cleaning or cooking videos at normal speed. So it is important to match the speed with the purpose you are watching that video for.

3) Convert ebooks to audiobooks
Though the selection of audiobooks is wide, sometimes I just cannot find the audio version of a particular book in the library. When I cannot find the audio version, I resort to using the "speak screen" function on iPhone. It is tricky as you need to select to start reading from the start of a chapter and it does not continue automatically after it finished that chapter. Having Siri read out a book take some getting used to. 
The other option is to pay for an Audible subscription and I understand that you can speed up to 3x! However, I do not really want to pay a subscription thus I rather use this method for the occasional moment when I cannot find the audiobook of choice. NLB is really well stocked. 
So by listening to a book, I released my hands and eyes to do other chores. Meaning that I can do simple chore like vacuuming the floor and folding laundry while listening to the audiobook. Though I do believe in mindfully doing things when you are doing it, listening to an audiobook and picking up some interesting concepts and learnings make me feel very efficient and overall feel very good about myself. ^^

4) Try to summarise the interesting concept you learn.
It can take the form of me telling my mom or husband what I had consolidated or as a blog post here as a book summary. I will usually get the ebook version as well to ensure I get the exact content correct before I wrote my book summary. This second form of recall help me form stronger connections of what you had read or listened to.

5) I borrow electronic books online via overdrive app. I always ponder on the idea to have an ebook reader. However, I find bringing another electronic device cumbersome since I listen to books more than I read books. Having a separate ebook reader will not be helpful. Alright coming back to the point, it is useful to have the electronic version since you will have your phone with you every where you go which means when you have a small pocket of time eg while commuting or waiting in line or erhmm the toilet time, you can fish it out to read a few pages no matter how short the time is. Believe it or not, these pockets of minutes will accumulate and allow you to eventually finish the book. 
6) Lastly, it helps to have a fixed space and time. I allocate my learning time to be in my room when my kids are in school. The moment I am in my study room, I leave the phone to the side and open up my web browser for my udemy coding videos. I set the time of 1.5 hours to work on it, not checking emails or clicking on news to ensure that 1.5hrs is used efficiently. Even then this 1.5hrs is not enough for me to finish one video especially when are there are hands-on activities involved. 

So I used a combination of all the trick all the time, setting a designated space, watch my videos at 2x speed. Listen to my audio books or use speak screen on my ebooks in the overdrive app at 2x speed during cooking or household chores time. Hopefully these are useful to you too.