Learning a New Skill Quickly and Efficiently

Learn a new skill and change your life

Recently I gave up part of my weekend to spend some time learning a new skill, (Brand Marketing). I had to travel to London, not a huge distance, you can do it in a few hours, but it can still be a rigmarole, and then I’m giving up part of my weekend thats usually dedicated to spending with my Wife. It’s not easy to find the time to learn a new skill, or enhance/refresh skills we already have, but it’s so important.

Learning a New Skill

I would even argue that life is all about learning new skills. If you invest time to learning a new skill and it’s the right skill, you can be wealthy, play a musical instrument, have a great relationship, or juggle five balls. Learning a new skill is a skill in itself. There are several ideas to keep in mind as you learn a new skill. Setting goals, getting expert coaching, and having reasonable expectations are all important.

7 Steps To Learning a New Skill Quickly and Efficiently

1. Choose an appropriate skill. You don’t have time to learn everything, so make sure if you’re going to spend time learning a new skill, it’s a skill that’s meaningful to you. It can either be a skill that will greatly aid you in some way or a skill that you find fascinating. If the new skill doesn’t fit into one of these two categories, you’re unlikely to stay motivated enough to master it.

2. Set both long-term and short-term goals. Your long-term goal is mastering your chosen skill. Just how good do you want to be? The short-term goal is no more than 12 weeks in the future. At the end of this short time, you set a goal for how far you want to be after the next few months. This will keep you focused on making continuous progress.

3. Have reasonable expectations for your progress. Your ultimate progress is virtually unlimited. However, learning a new skill takes time, and there is a limit to how much you can accomplish in 12 weeks. Realize that you’re unique and your rate of progress could be faster or slower than average.

4. Breakdown the skill into its components. When learning a new skill, it can seem daunting at first. For example, playing the piano isn’t just about hitting the correct keys in the correct order. It has several skills interwoven into a larger skill. To be a good pianist, you must be able to do several things well:

  • Sight-reading
  • Compensating for the fact that some fingers are much stronger than others
  • Understanding music theory
  • Scales
  • Arpeggios
  • Dynamics
  • And more

5. If appropriate, get a coach. You can learn to play piano by yourself, but you’ll have a hard time finding a high-level pianist that didn’t receive expert instruction. At the very least, take time to find materials created by an expert. These may be in the form of books, videos, webinars, or websites. Even periodic meetings with a coach can keep you on the right track in the early days of learning a new skill.

6. Focus on what’s most important. Remember the Pareto Principle The old adage that 20% of your efforts will account for 80% of your results is true. When learning a new skill, first, determine which activities and skills will yield the greatest results. Most people spend too much time focusing on the activities that are the easiest or the most interesting. Avoid being that person. Whilst learning a new skill your progress will be faster if you spend your time wisely, by focusing on the most important tasks.

  • This is often referred to as deliberate practice. Banging on the piano keys while you catch the end of Rocky V isn’t the same as focusing all of your attention on learning how to play a C with both hands.

7. Get started quickly. If you plan on learning a new skill, It’s important to make a start as soon as possible. Avoid falling into the trap of gathering an excessive amount of information before you get started. The person that masters a skill is the one that spend their time wisely. Spending your time watching videos of someone playing the piano isn’t a substitute for doing it yourself. Dive into the practical part of learning quickly.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly you learn if you choose an appropriate skill, and spend time focusing on the most effective tasks, and practicing consistently. Learning a new skill can change your life. Choose a skill that will add value to your life and you’ll benefit from it forever.

Whet was the last skill you learnt? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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10 thoughts on “Learning a New Skill Quickly and Efficiently

  1. I will be 60 years old in a few weeks, and want to keep learning new things. My problem is deciding what my time will be best spent on, because I do have memory problems. The steps you have described will make it easier for me to continue learning.

    • Thanks for dropping by Carol and glad you found the post useful, i’m recovering from a mild stroke at the moment and completely understand the memory problems. If it’s any help i’m finding that doing suduko and word puzzles is helping a little.

  2. Great content Mike, very helpful set of tips for effective learning without wasting a ton of time.

    I think it also helps if the learner is aware of their most effective learning styles eg: audio, visual, kinisthetic etc. so that they can use the most effective method for themselves.

    Luckily nowadays with the help of the internet, all learning styles are well covered.

    • Thanks for dropping by Helene. I always find it surprising that in this day and age peopl are still surprised when they find out the theories around learning styles

  3. Mike – This is really great advice. I love to learn new skills and also believe that learning is a life long journey that every takes. We all learn, but to practice and get good takes time and dedication.

    Great blog post!

    BTW – I love the image. You picked a really great one!

    April

  4. I recently learned how to create intricate mandala patterns, but I’m more excited about what I’m going to learn at the end of July! LOL

    I’m heading out to TN to learn Copywriting from one of the best copywriters around — Ray Edwards! I’ve never gone out of the house (let alone the state) to network, but I intend to do some schmoozing while I’m at this event!

    Time to learn something NEW! 🙂

  5. Talking into camera making video is really stretching me out of my comfort zone but that’s what I am currently working on. A skill that I am building. In fact I have just made my maiden video for my fb group before I came here. Look forward to my own progress as I do it each week, and to inspire members to stretch themselves and step out of their comfort zone. Thanks for the great tips always Mike, wishing you all well and great health!
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