Brain-friendly studying is a method of studying to make studying easier and faster.
I would like to outline for you why I created this method, how it works, and why you benefit from it.
I am sure you recognize some of the tools. Combining everything creates the Carefree approach to studying you will benefit from.
Why Brain-Friendly Studying Was Created
Many working professionals study during their evenings or weekends. They have the drive to study. The problem is that it takes so much time for them. Imagine, they have a busy job, a family they like to spend time with… and their studies. How can they manage all that and still have some time for themselves?
Often people never learned how to study. Isn’t that strange? You have to go through so much information, yet you don’t learn how to do that. What happens is that you are not using your brain efficiently when studying.
I train people like you to process information in a brain-friendly manner. This makes it easier to go through books. Information is memorized faster. Distractions are reduced. In short, you study faster and have more personal time.
You probably learned about mind mapping (welcome on this website 🙂 ). When you use mind maps in your studies, you are studying smarter. There are more techniques you should be using to make your life even better. I included these in the Brain Friendly Toolbox. Here they are:
What is in the Brain Friendly Toolbox
Below is a high-level overview of the techniques in my brain-friendly toolbox for studying.
Technique 1: Goal Setting
Our brains love direction. When you don’t tell your brain what to do or focus on, it will simply find something it can do. This is what often happens when you read a book.
You mindlessly read, but you find yourself wondering what you read the line before. The reason for this is that you did not give your brain a goal.
You ALWAYS have to set a goal when studying. Don’t just read the book. Create a goal to finish a book in X days. Here’s how:
- Start with a BIG goal in mind (for example go through your 300-page study book).
- Break that down to daily goals (10 pages per day)
- Make sure you achieve your daily goal
If you can’t make it, you can adjust the goal. Start small (with 1, 2, or perhaps 5 pages each day). Then, when you achieve that goal often increase the number of pages.
HINT: for setting great goals you can use the S.M.A.R.T. method. As long as you have the right motivation, any goal, how horribly written down becomes powerful!
Technique 2: Time Management
When you have your goal outlined and you know what you have to do on a daily basis, you need to manage your time. Do you have the time to achieve your daily goal?
When you don’t have the time, you start looking at what you should be doing to get more time. We all have 86400 seconds each day. You can sleep, Netflix, social media your way through life. You probably think that you don’t have enough time.
Do a 30 day Social Media detox and you will see that there is a lot more time.
People like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have time to study during the day. Do you think you are busier than them?
Start small and find 30 minutes for studying. Gradually increase the time to study. Remove noise, study smart, and before you know it your life is really changing!
Schedule time, then use that time (no matter what!)
HINT: Remember that you don’t need to have 1 block of 1 hour to make this work. Break it down to 20 minutes in the morning, two times 10 minutes during the day, and 20 minutes in the evening. Be flexible 🙂
Technique 3: Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a method that helps your brain to process and store information easier. It is a visual method that offers a different view of your information. A brain-friendly view!
What you should be doing is using the mind mapping method in a very practical manner.
Don’t try to create beautiful maps. You should focus on creating maps that improve your understanding of the information. Fancy drawings are great if you have lots of time. If you don’t have time, create something practical. I wrote more about practical mind mapping here
Make sure you don’t just create the map and never look at it again. Try to update the map when needed. Summarize your book in a mind map to remain flexible. Play with the information in the map to improve your understanding.
HINT: Mind maps should help you to transform raw information into clear knowledge. Think about that when you create your next mind map
Technique 4: Speed Reading
Do you know that most people are still reading at the same pace they did as when they were 12 years old?
We all read, every day. When you invest a little bit of time to improve your reading speed, you gain so much time!
Perhaps it is better to not use the term speed reading anymore. It is not about reading faster. It is mostly about reading with better comprehension (at a higher speed).
When you understand what you read better, you don’t have to re-read your text. This saves time. Increasing the speed at the same time makes you a more efficient reader.
There are many different methods for increasing your reading speed. For now, I would advise you to start reading more. People who read more tend to read faster.
Investing more than just time to improve your reading technique will create huge benefits. Not only when studying, but also at work!
HINT: Make sure you learn to read faster from a screen as well. A good e-reader (not an iPad or phone screen) for reading your study books is a great investment.
Technique 5: Memory Tactics
We all have these moments: Where are my car keys, what did I just read, what did I have to buy…
You should really start using your brain the right way. Improving your memory is really (really) simple. Understand how your brain stores information. You can use that knowledge for studying and much more.
Use techniques like Memory Palaces, Chunking, Spaced Repetition, Acronyms, Associations. No matter what you do.
Please know that you can store so much important information in your brain. And doing this is almost as easy as breathing (once you understand how your brain memorizes).
HINT: You have to stop wasting time cramming in your head! Learn a memory method today!
Technique 6: Self Management
Self-management is very important. You can know or even master all the brain-friendly techniques.
You can create an easy-to-achieve goal and plan.
But without being able to manage yourself, you will find yourself right in this situation in a year’s time.
Self-management is about being able to start studying, keeping your focus, and dealing with distractions. It also includes watching how much you sleep and what you eat.
I am not a doctor. What I can say is that sugar is decremental in being able to focus and feel clear of mind.
Managing oneself is written as the last technique. It may be the most important one. Master your own actions, habits, and strategies. There is almost nothing that will keep you from studying faster (and from many other things).
HINT: Do you love your social media, Netflix, and Youtube…? Start by using half that time to study 🙂 . Shift the ratio between Education and Entertainment (the E-E ratio) more in the direction of Education. I learned this from Brian Tracy many years ago. When you implement just this one idea from the entire page… your life will change, without a doubt.
Techniques are the start, but…
It is not about techniques only. It is the strategy you put in place
Everybody can create a mind map. Some maps are better than others. Yet basically everybody is able to mind map their book.
Reading faster isn’t that difficult to learn as well.
Combining everything into a strategy or a plan is when the real benefits appear.
My question for you
Which of these techniques or tactics will you put in place? It will make studying easier and more brain friendly!