Are you a self-directed learner? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all possibilities and options out there for you? Here are some strategies to keep you on track and as efficient as possible.
When you are responsible for your own self-directed learning, the size of the task can seem insurmountable. Instead of being bogged down by the weight of it all, focus on just one task. Multitasking sounds great, but is a lot less effective than focused “single-tasking”
2. Name Your Goal
Once you have chosen your focus, name it. If you decide to learn French, don’t just commit to learning French. Decide that you want to be conversational within one year, or commit to studying three hours every day. Until you have a firm plan, you won’t be able to work toward your goal.
3. Have A Designated Work Space
Each area of your home has a feeling and a purpose. Designate a space that is specifically for learning and pursuing your interests and goals. Decorate it with tokens or photos that motivate you to keep learning. After a while, you will feel inspired and excited just by approaching your workspace.
4. Set The Stakes (Good and Bad)
These stakes surrounding your goals should be things you really want (or really don’t want). A great way to set the stakes on your goals is to sign up for Stickk.com. You set a goal and the stakes. If you fail, money is donated to an “anti-charity,” a charity that you absolutely despise.
5. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By setting SMART goals throughout your progress, you’ll be able to identify situations when you are not successful to learn from them to change the plan for next time.
6. Be Accountable To Someone
If you are accountable to someone for the tasks you are currently working on, you’re more likely to complete them. So, get a study buddy or keep a blog of what you accomplish as you go – just don’t share all your future plans, since that makes you less likely to accomplish your goals.
Tools To Help Your Succeed
Want to learn about a huge array of topics? Head over to Khan Academy. You can watch video lecturers on a variety of interesting topics.
If your goal is to learn a new language, Duolingo is a great resource. The website is free and allows you to learn one of 16 languages (including German, French, and Spanish).
Crash Course is a YouTube channel hosted by author John Greene and his brother Hank Greene. It breaks down basic topics like history, biology, math, astronomy, and more!
You might occasionally need to make a presentation in a hurry – for instance if it’s due tomorrow and you’ve been too busy to start. This service will help you through that stressful process.
Plotly lets you create graphs and infographics. If you need to make your data visual for a presentation, website, or sales pitch, Plotly makes the task a lot easier.
Rescue Time helps you monitor how you are spending your time, so you can identify all those time-sucks like social media and checking your email.
When you come across an article you want to read online, do you always read it right then? Probably not. Pocket will let you save them to read later when you have time.
Being a self-directed learner is exciting. It can also be very productive if you have the right pan and the right tools. Use this guide to help you get started!