11 Easy and Efficient Ways to Build Knowledge, Self Teach, and Learn Every Day

11 Easy and Efficient Ways to Build Knowledge, Self Teach, and Learn Every Day

August 14, 2012 by

I’m a firm believer in the massive benefits of ongoing self-teaching in contributing to not only increased knowledge as we progress through life, but in self confidence, creativity, improved imagination, memory and, ultimately happiness (or at least a glimpse of it!).

Some of the greatest rewards in my life have sprung out of the investments I have made into learning for myself. I’m not talking about school in this sense, though that still had some value, but in actually putting in my own time to absorb new information about things I am interested in.

The process of self-teaching and learning is entirely different to what we experience when we are taught by others because in the latter we are not responsible except to do the work and hand in assignments on time.

When we take charge on things that truly interest us, there is a force at play that I think is even more stimulating and powerful than could ever be emulated in the classroom.

“There is a force at play more powerful than could ever be emulated in the classroom.”

Those who have demonstrated tremendous success in various fields, whether sportsmen, artists, scientists and mountaineers, have been shown to have dedicated significant resources to self learning and building up knowledge and skills throughout life.

As a sidenote, self-teaching shouldn’t be thought of as selfish, because in building up our own abilities in this passionate way, we are becoming more valuable people to society as a whole.

As we get ‘busier’ and time becomes seemingly more scarce, what are some good ways to fit in some time for knowledge absorption in your day to day?

I give you eleven!

1. Read in bed before you fall asleep instead of watching films or tv.

2. Wake up a little earlier each day and put in some extra learning time.

3. Play audio-books and other audio material in the car or in your headphones when commuting to work.

4. Put up a message board where you will see it and constantly add new points to learn.

5. Play audio material when doing other things like cooking, taking a bath and running.

6. Make a deliberate decision to cut down on certain activities each week, especially procrastinating, and focusing a few hours on self teaching.

7. Dedicate your lunch break or other eating break to a time for eating and learning. If you can stomach it – at the same time!

8. Checking email is almost impossible to avoid these days (though reducing time spent reading them will help you make more time for learning), but you might consider building learning into your email-checking ritual.

Send yourself an article or something interesting to watch or read every evening (ideally focusing on things that you are working on as part of your self-teaching), to be read at some point the next day.

9. Replace TV with learning. Yes, that means turning off the tv and reading instead.

10. Use a Kindle or other handheld book storage device, or bring a book around, and read whenever you have an appropriate spare moment.

11. Teach others, perhaps even teach as a full-time career. This will make self-teaching part of what you do for a large chunk of the time.

As a closing note, you will find it easier to self-teach when you are actually passionate about what it is you are learning, and you get into the habit of learning in a certain way, each day.

And a final thought, make sure you allow yourself additional breathing space in the day, to relax or simply do nothing too. A packed day is overwhelming, so no need to over-do it, just take advantage of moments that would otherwise not be used effectively.

Enjoy!

About the Author: Alex Mathers

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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"Your blog inspires me so much, and helps me feel somehow not as insignificant, despite the plethora of artists around the world."Natalie, artist

  • http://vandewerk.nl Bastiaan van de Werk

    Loved the list. Number 3 and 11 in particular.

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Bastiaan!

  • Andrea Emery

    Great suggestions — all of them. It’s about setting priorities, right? You’re either active about your life or passive. #11 rocks by the way.

  • Alex Mathers

    Many thanks Andrea!

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  • Ifeanyi Oraelosi

    This is a really nice list.

    I’ve been following #1, #2, #5, #7, #9 and #11 for some time now. I’ve discovered I’m most creative when I wake early in the morning and sometimes, right before I sleep at night.

    Thanks for this.

  • Alex Mathers

    So good to hear people’s experiences. Thanks Ifeanyl :).

  • http://www.JostenDooley.com Josten Dooley

    Listening to Audiobooks on the way to work is such a simple and easy thing to do. I definitely have learned so much doing that.

  • Alex Mathers

    Great, Josten! Good to hear from someone taking action with it!

  • https://www.facebook.com/mariam.tebourbi Merriam

    Great article. I think #11 is the best self-learning method ever. As for me (I’m an international student in Japan majoring in software engineering), it’s so challenging for me to teach/explain things to my japanese classmates in their language, but I do it all the time.
    I get to understand better how algorithms work+I improve my japanese!

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Mariam/Merriam – I can really see that being one of the best ways to learn both the language and the software language at the same time! Where in Japan are you based? I’m currently in Tokyo.

    Alex

  • https://www.facebook.com/mariam.tebourbi Merriam

    and it’s also a very good way to communicate with japanese people!
    I’m in Tokyo too! For how long have you been here?

  • Giulia

    Hi Alex! I love your site and your 9 Must Dos Book! I am currently job seeking and I am using my time at home to build up and improve my knowledge, my cv looks better every day! These are very useful tips, especially #1 #2 #4 #8 #11. I have been studying interior design but I want to build my career as a set designer!

  • Alex Mathers

    Fantastic, Giulia, you sound like just the person to benefit from Red Lemon Club! Best, Alex

  • BV

    Great article of many good ones in your website, Alex :-) I was actually looking for your last point; leave room to breathe and relax. I’ve experienced myself how stressful it can be if you do not allow yourself of “empty slots” during the day to relax and turn off the brain so to speak (this is where the TV can still be okay, I believe). I was bringing a book, a magazine, a printout or whatever whenever I could spare two minutes – and it became too much at one point. So – remember to maintain a balance as well :)

  • Alex Mathers

    Hey BV, great to get into that habit too!

  • Mani Mehr

    thnku for these gr8 suggestions………..:D
    m gonna apply these tips from today.
    Thanx a lot

  • http://paradisenauts.tumblr.com/ Costas

    Nice points!
    I began learning ancient greek and way I do it is try to engage 30′ every day, preferably as a high priority task.

    One thing with 11:
    if the ones you are teaching are not interested in the subject, then there is lost time/effort/energy :(

  • http://twitter.com/jrodz1 J Flash Rodriguez

    Good deal, mate

  • http://twitter.com/AlexVermilion Alex Gould

    Self initiated learning is fulfilling, exciting and makes you want to engage more and share. Learning gives vitality. As a result of self-teaching I now seriously question the usefulness of our state education. I am tempted to home educate our 6 yr old, I could teach creatively with technology and in our local community but fears delay my decision – what if I don’t have time to illustrate anymore, can we create and evolve our learning together? What would she lose from a stagnant system…vital friendships, an understanding of social norms and being ‘normal’ The more I learn the more active I must be in my decisions. Not easy but very real…and empowering whichever decision is made.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wilsonfilho7 Wilson Filho

    In anciant times, men sought wisdom.
    In modern times, they sought knowledge.
    These days, in our all-about-screens-world, men just eats and eats information, randomly and superficially.

    I agree with your insights, i always do. But i just want to point out that knowledge isn’t the greatest thing to achieve in life. A man can be full of knowledge and still be selfish. I actually would say that a great amount of knowledge without wisdom empowers our worst behaviors: vanity, vainglory, self-conceit, haughtiness, bad competition etc.

    I’m not saying that we should not seek it. I’m just suggesting that we should be aware of the implications of a full-time-seeking-knowledge lifestyle.

    (Somethings about me: I love self-teaching. I learned english, some cinematography skills (vimeo.com/wilsonfilho7) and a lot more “by myself”. I personally hate TV shows, mass media content and everything related, i think they just “idioticize” people. I’m a christian, a disciple of Christ. And i really believe that the just-do-nothing-sometimes (to relax) isn’t enough to give us a real meaning in life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all Wisdom.)

    Wish you the best!!! I love your website. Keep it up.

  • http://twitter.com/MoonApe Alex Mathers

    :)

  • http://twitter.com/MoonApe Alex Mathers

    agreed!

  • http://twitter.com/MoonApe Alex Mathers

    Thanks for the comment Wilson, and great that you brought up the concept of wisdom. Knowledge not applied properly can be a waste, though learning for the joy of it can not be discredited.

    I think the real thing here is that a lot of us absorb information that is fired at us from the media and our social media feeds. It’s unfocused and untargeted, and therefore serves more as distraction over acquiring useful knowledge. The trick is in harnessing knowledge that would really serve to benefit you.

    Therefore it’s down to you what you choose to absorb, and what you choose to filter out.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wilsonfilho7 Wilson Filho

    Thanks for your attention! :-)

  • Britton Walker

    Don’t forget to meditate!

  • ADOLF WITZELING

    This one’s goes on my pinboard, where I can see it and live by it. Great tips.

  • Alex Mathers

    great!