Do you wish you were a better person? Self-improvement can be a slow process, and it’s easy to get disheartened when you feel like you’re not moving forward. Luckily, there are four skills which are guaranteed to help you improve yourself faster, and they’re all really simple. Whether you want to become better at work, increase your grades at school, or master a new skill, these four techniques will help. Once you’ve learned these skills, you’ll be a better learner for the rest of your life, so it’s a worthwhile investment.
1. Be more productive using the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro technique 1 is a simple trick which involves using a timer to improve your focus and productivity. It’s named for the tomato-shaped timer that the developer of the theory used, but any old timer will do.
Here’s how it works: decide on a task to complete, set your timer for 25 minutes, and get to work. If you find yourself becoming distracted, write down the distraction. For example, “Checking Facebook,’ or “Looking out of the window.” Once you’ve written down the distraction, get back to work immediately.
Once 25 minutes is up, you should take a five-minute break and relax completely. It’s important not to get pulled back into work, as this is the time to give your mind a rest and get ready to concentrate again – no sneaky checking emails! Keep a tally of how many 25-minute Pomodoros you’ve completed, and give yourself a longer break of 15-30 minutes once you’ve done four. This prevents you from getting burnt out or tired.
You’ll be shocked at how much more productive you are using this technique, and may find that you quickly run out of work to complete.
2. Retain knowledge by writing down what you learn.
Have you ever left a lecture or finished a book feeling like you didn’t remember a thing you learned? This is all too common, and happens when we don’t take enough time to digest information.
By writing down a summary of everything you learn, you’ll be able to retain much more knowledge. You’ll also have handy notes to refer back to if you do forget, so it’s a win-win. It’s been shown that hand writing notes are better for learning and memory, so ditch the laptop and grab a pen 2.
3. Increase your self-awareness for greater success.
If you want to be successful, it’s important to be able to view yourself and your work objectively. If you think you’re amazing at everything you do, you’ll never have the drive to improve, and you won’t be good at taking constructive criticism on board. Equally, if you view everything you do in a negative way, your confidence will suffer and you could miss out on great opportunities.
You can develop self-awareness by reflecting on yourself daily, asking others for honest feedback, and considering what motivates your behaviour 3.
4. Practise speed reading to take in large amounts of information.
There are so many wonderful books, blogs and articles being published every day that reading as much as you want to can feel impossible. While you’ll never be able to read everything, learning to speed read will allow you to read much more.
Practise using your finger to guide your eyes while reading, and increase the speed as much as you can. Instead of focusing on one word at a time, make use of your peripheral vision to take in whole chunks of text at once. You should also try downloading a speed reading application, which will present you with one word at a time, meaning you don’t need to move your eyes at all 4
If you want to improve yourself ten times faster, focus on developing these four skills. You’ll be more productive, better at retaining information, and more self-confident – attributes which will help you no matter what your final goal is.