Everyone and everything is fighting for our attention. And, we try to keep up with everything. We try to consume more and more to stay in touch with everyone. We try to do more and more just to feel productive.
We divide our attention across so many things; which sadly means nothing is getting the attention it deserves, and it makes us feel terrible.
This is not only true for our private and professional life but also for our learning. We try to read more and more because there are a lot of interesting books. We try to take notes more and more because we want to remember all the great insights. We try to learn more and more to follow our passion.
But again, in the end, we don’t feel great because none of the things we are trying to learn gets enough attention.
I felt like this. I have a lot of interests and my curiosity can easily be sparked. I just wanted to keep up with everything. I took a bunch of online courses from an Introduction to Psychology course to a Design Principles course. From a UX Design course to an Artificial intelligence course. But learning never felt great in the end. I enjoyed the information momentarily but I rushed through the materials. I never took enough time.
Like with reading, note-taking, and productivity learning should also be intentional. In reading Marcus Aurelius doesn’t want us to be satisfied with shallow understanding. In note-taking Sönke Ahrens wants us to take notes of what is surprising and beyond the gist — don’t confuse note-taking with transcribing. In productivity Ryder Carroll wants us to focus on what matters most and what is meaningful to us.
Let’s also take this to heart for our learning. Let’s learn less. Let’s learn what matters most to us. Let’s take time to understand and more importantly to apply what we have learnt. Let’s learn to build not only knowledge but also experience. A meaningful constraint to what you learn might make you happy and learning might feel great again.
I’m trying to do this in a process I call dreaming-shaping-learning — which I probably write about in future articles. It is nothing magical. Just a bunch of ideas from productivity, product development, and intentionality transferred to learning. It is a process and system that worked for me.
For now, just try to learn less, constrain yourself to what matters most, and take time to understand and apply what you learn.