learning hack.

I pick up my phone and start scrolling through Medium. I’m looking for articles on how to improve my learning. And let’s be honest: there is a ton of articles out there. I already read a few books and watched a few YouTube videos regarding learning, looking for more and more learning hacks. While scrolling I remember. I saved an article yesterday about 5 skills to learn; and one of these skills was learning.

I go to my reading list and start reading the article. It mentions and recommends an online course called “Learning to Learn” on Coursera. I immediately highlight it. Great. I’m obsessed with online courses and there is an online course for learning. Perfect match.

As soon as I’m home I sign up for the course and start doing it.

The course — like the books and videos — mentions a few ideas on how to improve your learning. You can use chunking to connect pieces of information together. You can use interleaving to mix up your learning. You can use active recall to quiz and test yourself. All of which helps you remember information more efficiently.

What I realized after this online course, a few books, and countless YouTube videos, is that all these tips, tricks, and hacks are not shortcuts to learning.

Sadly, there is no hack.

The best learning “hack” is to enjoy the mundane parts of learning — reading, consuming, taking notes, thinking, understanding, thinking some more, connecting, applying. The best learning just consists of these mundane tasks. So let’s find ways to enjoy them. Let’s see the joy in these tasks.

Instead of finding the best learning hacks to learn faster and more, look for learning methods you enjoy. For example, don’t copy a note-taking method if it is too complex for you; test different methods and use the note-taking method you like.

I, for example, implemented a very simple Zettelkasten/slip-box version in Notion to take notes, connect notes, and develop thoughts.

A too complex note-taking method will only add friction. But there shouldn’t be any friction for you to find the motivation to sit down, take notes, think, and learn. Find a method you enjoy.

Ideally, the methods you find and enjoy should overlap with the best scientifically proven learning methods.

Find joy in the mundane learning parts. I enjoy sitting down with pen and paper, scribbling, taking messy notes and trying to understand the concept I’m learning. I enjoy tinkering and thinking about an idea on paper before I create my final clean notes. So I always look forward to this part. Looking forward to it fills me with energy and allows me to keep going and keep learning.

Let’s enjoy learning.

What do you enjoy about learning? How did you implement a learning method in a way that brings you joy?

If you want to talk about the post, bounce of ideas, or would be interested in a newsletter format, let's talk.