Learn Better Faster: Systematize Your Productivity (2) | NICK SARAEV | Skillshare

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Learn Better Faster: Systematize Your Productivity (2)

teacher avatar NICK SARAEV, Communication, Productivity & Tech

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Forcing the Flow State

    • 3. How Rest Can Accelerate Your Learning

    • 4. Triple Encoding 101

    • 5. A Guide To Concept Linkage

    • 6. Playing the Professor

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About This Class

Ever wonder how people learn highly complicated skills in just a few hours? Or how top students maintain 4.0 GPAs? 

I’ll give you a hint: it’s not magic. It's efficiency.

Hi, we're Nick and Soma.

Our course is based on one simple premise: most people don't know how to learn.

Unfortunately, modern school systems spend years attempting to teach you everything from ancient history to esoteric calculus

But thousands of hours of your time could be saved if, for just a moment, people stopped focusing on what to learn and instead focused on how to go about learning it.

A quick analogy:

Two people are trying to learn a skill. Both learn it at a hypothetical rate of 1 unit per hour. Once a person has reached 100 units in that particular skill, they're said to have "mastered the skill".

Person A wastes no time - he gets right down to work and ends up taking 100 hours to learn the skill.

Person B decides to invest one initial hour of their time into learning two or three simple productivity techniques. After the hour is done, the increased efficiency and productivity allows them to learn at a slightly faster rate of 1.1 units per hour.

Person B will ultimately only take 91 hours to learn the skill. That's 9 hours saved with just a 10% boost in efficiency.

Now what if that single hour could give them a 20% boost in efficiency? In this case, Person B will have saved 16.5 hours.

How about a 30% boost in efficiency? 23 hours. That’s nearly a full day saved.

I could go on and on, but I think the point is clear: modest gains in efficiency and productivity can end up saving you tons of time down the road. And if you’re anything like me, you value your time.

So let’s get more efficient.

Our course is going to teach you how to maximize memory consolidation in three phases: before, during, and after the learning period. And through these three phases, we’ll touch on everything from planning & learning techniques to sleep & nutrition. 

Our material comes from two university degrees' worth of knowledge (Nick majored in behavioral neuroscience, and Soma majored in molecular biology), hundreds of hours of research, and dozens of high-quality, peer reviewed studies on learning and memory.

In short: we are the real deal. And our content will prove it.

Sign up today and become an efficient learner. See you on the other side!

*This is part 2 of a 3 part course.

Meet Your Teacher

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Communication, Productivity & Tech




Hi there,


Welcome to my teaching page. I'm Nick - a productivity & body language coach with a passion for nonverbal communication, productivity, & self improvement. I've been featured on major publications like Popular Mechanics and Apple News, and I run a body language YouTube channel. All in all, I have over thirty thousand students online.


A little bit about me: I'm a body language coach & technology enthusiast with a background in behavioral neuroscience. I love helping people overcome social anxiety and bloss... See full profile

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1. Introduction: To be productive is to be powerful. And that's what this course is about. Hi, my name is Nick. I'm a software developer by trade. I run a YouTube channel, blog and a video production company on the side and have been featured in several major publications. But my commitment to longevity and productivity. This is the second of a two-part course on how to build an efficient productivity system that helps you do a lot in a very little bit of time. The last class concern itself with optimization. Before working how to multiply your effectiveness and set yourself up for success before beginning any task, this class, though, is concerned with the meat and potatoes. How do we achieve an incredible return on investment of your time with highly effective and cutting edge learning techniques, we'll start by speaking about the flow state and the three ways of achieving it consistently. Afterwards, we'll talk about how to use rest as a strategic tool to boost eureka moments and replenish your willpower. I'll also show you how to encode information effectively and apply a little known techniques to learn explosively and do more with your time. I'm incredibly excited for the second half of this class. One of my passions and goals is to help as many people as possible improve their lives. And if that sounds like something that you wanna do, then stay tuned. 2. Forcing the Flow State : Today I want to talk to you guys about one of my favorite concepts ever. It is changed my life and I were the majority of my success in business, software development and health to what I'm about to talk to you about now, it's called the flow state. And in this lesson we're going to learn how to get into the flow state quickly and had to stay in it for longer. So I feel like most people have been misguided and what the flow state actually is and how to achieve it. For those of you that are unaware, the flow state is basically a state of mind where you're so immersed in your work or your craft that you forget about everything else. It's been described by multiple people as time slowing down. Everything you do is calculated and careful at the same time, it's also very liberating and free-flowing, hence the name flow state. When you're in the flow state you accomplish substantially more work in the same period of time. It also costs significantly less willpower to avoid distractions. And you can work for much longer with higher quality results. I like to think of it like a turbo in your car engine in order for the turbo to turn on, either hit a certain party or acceleration. But when it does, you get this massive, incredible bursts of speed, just kicks things in overdrive and you get to where you want to get too much faster. So how do you get into flow? Well, it would be amazing, viewed as being that state 24, 7 all the time. But the reality is you actually only get a few hours per day are the conditions in your mind are just right to allow you to get into flow. If you train consistently, that period will get longer. But at the beginning it's usually just one to maybe two hours. Pretty much every successful athletes, scientists, business owner, everybody relies on flow to accomplish most of their work. As much as I'd like to say that it's this motivational, flowery thing. Achieving flow state is really just a byproduct and discipline, scheduling and pretty grueling step-by-step achievement. In short, it is boring. But just like everything else we've talked about in this course, boring is effective. There are generally three main ways to improve your ability to achieve the flow state, but all of them are quite natural and luckily rely on you just eliminating your distractions. The first is what we call immersion. It's full immersion in a skill or a subject of interest. The longer period of time you're immersed, the better you'll perform and the faster you'll learn if you want to learn guitar, for example, full immersion could be you locking yourself in your room with a guitar for a full 24 hour day with no distractions, even if you don't like playing guitar, eventually your boredom will overcome your reluctance to play guitar will then become the most interesting thing in the room. And you will naturally begin learning the instrument and kind of settling into your own flow state. Of course, this approach relies on you having very few other responsibilities are much more realistic approach today. And one that the vast majority of people do is they choose to block out a one to two hour stretch of time somewhere in their day to accomplish a task. During that time, if you really want to achieve flow state not just wasted all, literally remove all other distractions. So no phones, no sound, no food, no nothing. If you want to write a book, for example, at the beginning of the day, you might block out the first two hours of your morning to do nothing but write your book. The key here is to ensure that when you're working or writing or doing whatever you're doing, the entirety of your being should be in the task at hand. When you're flowing, it's just you and whatever you're working on. And if your inflow you will improve incredibly quickly. The vast majority of people on planet Earth today do not get into the flow state on a regular basis because there are simply way too many distractions around them. But if you can engage in flow consistently, even for just an hour or two a day in a week, you're gonna do what takes most other people weeks, months, sometimes years of their lives. The ability to consistently achieve a flow state allows you to get up to two to three times more productive when compared to the competition. Now the second way to improve the probability of achieving Flow is consistency. This is staying consistent in your practice, in your learning or your study. For example, let's say you're blocking out two hours per day to play basketball. And every day you block those two hours out at the exact same time for the next month and you stick to that schedule rigorously. This would be being consistent in your practice. Human beings are creatures of habit. Like I mentioned the beginning of the class, your mind learns whether you want it to learn or not. Part of that learning involves optimizing for your performance at specific times of the day. For example, if you do play basketball at 02:00 PM every day, you will get better at playing basketball at 02:00 PM faster than if you do it at two PM one day, a 3PM, the other day, 215 PM the next day and so on and so forth. The third way is through something called progressive overload. Every single day, the work that you're doing should just be a little bit harder than what it was the day before. People generally learn best or the right on the border between what they can do themselves versus what's just out of reach. If you're reading a book, progressive overload might look like writing an additional 10 words per day of that book the first day or write 500 words the next day, you'll write 510 words and so on and so forth. Now if you do these things for a period of time and I can't tell you how long it's gonna take because every person is different. If you do these things for a week, a month, maybe a year, eventually you will start to achieve the flow state consistently. And that flow state, like I mentioned earlier, is like a turbo. It will significantly improve your output and instantly put you in the top few percentage points in the world in terms of knowledge or skill. To summarize, in this lesson, we introduced the concept of the flow state and talked about how it's almost just like a turbo in an average car. We then went over three principles of improving your flow. And to summarize, they weren't number one, immersion, immerse yourself in your graph completely. Number 2, consistency. So stick to a schedule and do not stop. And number 3, progressive overload, AK, make your tasks more difficult from one day to the next. 3. How Rest Can Accelerate Your Learning: Rest is critical to improving the quality and speed of your work. It replenishes your willpower and rest also incurred as a form of background thinking that lets you come up with incredible ideas very quickly. In this lesson, I'm going to teach you how rest can accelerate your learning and improve your productivity. First, I want to talk a little bit about willpower and later on we'll turn to that background thinking. So if you remember from back when we talked about everybody having a willpower bar, I told you that when you wake up in the morning, that will power bar becomes full? Well, it's actually not a 100 percent the whole story. The reality is that rest does refill your willpower bar, but depending on the quality of rest that you get, it might other fill it completely, partially or not at all. One of the reasons why quality sleep, for example, is so important. It helps fill up here willpower bar. So later on you have more mental resilience for the day ahead. If you guys have a crappy sleep the night before a busy day, that willpower bar will deplete much faster. You'll be more prone to distractions and the quality of your guys work well unfortunately suffer substantially since we're talking about productivity. A very simple way to think about this is return on investment. When we talked about planning, the idea was that if you guys spend just five minutes in the morning, every day, you might get several extra hours of productivity back over the course, the next 16 hours. That is obviously a very good return on investment. Likewise, though with sleep, if you spend a few extra minutes sleeping or resting, you can often by yourself, substantially more time over the course of the day through either more willpower, higher-quality work like we'll talk about in a moment. Again, it's not exciting. I mean, it's actually super boring. Getting a good sleep is something you've probably been told every day your entire life. But the unfortunate thing is most people never do. The reason why is because very few people understand productivity and human beings like defaulting to being as lazy as possible all the time. But if you truly did understand productivity, you'd realize that getting a little bit extra sleep is actually the much lazier and more productive choice because it allows you to finish your tasks faster and spend less time working and more time arresting. This is a recurring theme in our course. The more productive option is actually usually also the lazier option because it means you get to do more work and you get to do it faster. We'll also finishing earlier than you would have otherwise. Better productivity is actually the solution of needing rest and restoration, not an enemy to be avoided because you think it means more work. Now on a background thinking in movies, it's not uncommon to see a scientist miraculously come up with an idea seemingly at a knower. These moments, lot of the time are called eureka moments. And there are points in time or something just clicks and suddenly the protagonist, the story, figures out a problem or understands exactly what they need to do next. Rest can significantly improve the likelihood of these moments happening, which will make your life substantially easier and will also improve the quality of whatever you do later on. Now it's not just in the media either. You guys have probably had several eureka moments yourself, although it probably wasn't to the degree that we see in movies where people would either discover the cure for cancer or save the world or something like that. But there is something in common with all eureka moments that can help us understand them more and thus increase their likelihood. Eureka moments generally occur when you stop trying to think altogether, you might be going for a walk and then suddenly the answer to a pesky math problem will just completely come to you out of nowhere. Alternatively, maybe later that night when you're dreaming an idea, we'll just hit you. And in the morning when you wake up, you'll feel reinvigorated and you'll know exactly what you need to do. Niels Bohr, for example, was a famous physicist who discovered the structure of the atom. He said the idea kingdom seemingly random in the middle of one of his dreams. And this is a definition of a eureka moment. It's a seemingly random, powerful idea that helps you overcome a problem. Point is many of these eureka moments happen when you're not actively thinking about a solution. And that's the key. They don't happen actively, they happen passively, but they still happen. And this is because there are actually two main modes of thinking. The most people engage in. There's active thinking and then there's passive thinking. Now, active thinking is when you are very strongly thinking about something specific and you're trying to solve an issue, for example, a math problem, or maybe an English essay or maybe a song you're trying to write. And it's great for focus step-by-step work. I mean, the majority your productivity actually comes from active thinking. So I'm not saying it's bad, but that's not the whole story. There's also active thinking or so-called diffuse thinking, and that's where your mind engages in background work. The quality of passive thing that can sometimes also be substantially deeper than active thinking. And the answers and solutions that you're passive mine comes up with can be incredible. Like Niels Bohr and the atom. Something that a lot of people don't realize is that your conscious experience is really only a very small part of your life. Your mind is way more than you can consciously feel at any one moment in time. But you never really perceive the fact that work's being done in the background only in the foreground. A lot of this work is in the consolidation and the mapping of all the information that you've learned over the course of a day. Hence, why you need both active and passive modes of thinking. Act of thinking provides passive thinking with all the material that needs to come up with these complex eureka moment like solutions. It's passive of course, and it only really kicks into high gear when you step back from the problem at hand and relax. But at the same time, it is responsible for a large portion of the creative breakthroughs that famous artists, engineers and mathematicians have. This is the case for increasing rest, but I'm not saying you should just spend half your day lasing on the couch waiting for brilliance to come to you. Instead, you guys should be continuing to work hard and often, but while planning upfront for specific rest periods over the course of a day. A very simple way to do this as a technique called the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a very simple application of both passive and active modes of thinking. And if you guys haven't heard about it before, it's basically a studying regimen where you study or learn for traditionally 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. The 25 minutes or where you flex those active thinking muscles and focus on solving a problem actively. And the five-minute break is where you take a step back and you allow your passive mode of thinking to work on consolidating and answer. That being said, is your willpower grows more and more resilient. Usually 25 minutes will quickly become not enough time for people to get fully immersed in whatever job that they're doing, it's important to get in the flow state after all. So these days most people use Pomodoro lengths of anywhere from 60 to 90 to a 100 and 20 minutes. And they'll add inappropriate recipes it afterwards, which is usually about 15 to 20 percent of whatever the time is. So if you want to do an hour-long Pomodoro, for example, you'd work for 60 minutes and then you take a ten-minute break. That ratio is sufficient to allow your mind time to immerse and then get into the flow state while also giving you enough time for your passive thinking to come up with great answers to all of your problems. So this class dealt with rest, like planning rest is a very high return on investment technique that can multiply the effectiveness of the rest of your day. We also talked about active versus passive thinking in order to take full advantage of both of these skills and ultimately become substantially more efficient. We also talked about the Pomodoro technique, which can help us combine our work periods with sections of forced relaxation to allow us to chip away at whatever we're learning while also doing it sustainably. 4. Triple Encoding 101: Encoding is a name for the mechanism that's responsible for putting information into your head. And in many cases, it's the bottleneck to how much stuff you can fit in or learn or do in a given period of time. Now triple encoding is a technique that lets you massively increase that. And it's what we're going to talk about over the course of the rest of this lesson. Have you ever heard the saying that some people are visual learners, some people are kinesthetic learners, and some people are auditory learners. The idea has been talked about for decades, and it is exactly what tripling coding takes advantage of. Reading an article requires visual learning. Hearing that same article spoken like a recording or a podcast, requires auditory learning. Writing an article is a combination of both visual and kinesthetic learning. Now, each of these types of learning are different ways to remember information, and most people only ever do one at a time. The secret to triple encoding is to do all three simultaneously. You guys are reading an article while you're reading it, try writing it and speaking out loud simultaneously. Writing represents the kinesthetic side of learning. Reading represents the visual side of learning and speaking represents the auditory side. So by doing this, you're actually engaging all three styles of encoding and all three styles of learning. So whereas before you were learning in just one or two dimensions now you get to learn in all three. You get to cement each concept not only through writing or through speaking or through reading, but through each of them all at the same time. And this massively increases your attention and your ability to understand complex topics very intuitively. The idea here is that every learner has a different learning style, but that also doesn't mean that they can't learn through another modality or method. So you guys might as well take advantage of all the avenues currently available to you. Try cramming information into your head as quickly as humanly possible, triple encoding is actually usually a little bit slower since you're reading, writing, and speaking at the same time. However, the benefit comes from the fact they are also much more likely to remember what it is you're learning. So you don't have to go back later and try and memorize that information again and do it all over. And that's where the productivity bonus comes from. And that's why it's such an effective tactic. So to summarize, next time you guys are studying anything, I want you guys to try the triple encoding method instead of just passively reading AK, engage in only one part of your learning style. I want you to engage your visual side through reading, your kinesthetic side, through writing, and your auditory side through speaking, learning anything, whether it be a motor skill, a musical instrument, or an academic subject, will go by faster and more efficiently if you employ this technique. 5. A Guide To Concept Linkage: The ability to link concepts together is the cornerstone of an effective productive mind. The better you guys get at linking disparate pieces of information, the faster you learn and accomplish tasks, I'm going to see two groups of numbers and ask you to memorize them both. The first group is 11397, the second group is one hundred, three hundred and ninety eight. Now you have two choices here. You can either try and memorize both groups and numbers independently. Or you can recognize that both groups of these numbers are exactly the same, except the first group is one lower than the second group. The first choice requires a lot more storage and work them in the second. And thus it's a lot less productive, like we talked about at the beginning. Our minds are always learning and they also always try and be as energetically efficient as possible when working, since there's only a certain amount of these mental resources or mental willpower to go around. But sometimes they need a little help and that's where this technique comes in when learning information. Usually that information comes presented in the form of a bunch of disparate facts. And unfortunately, our tendencies usually to try and remember all of these facts independently, which can lead to a lot of willpower being exerted for no reason and a reduced likelihood of being able to memorize what you wanted to memorize. It's kinda like juggling. If you guys trying to remember the previous two groups and numbers independently, you'd be juggling every number in your head at the same time, aka all eight. But if you looked at those two groups and you saw the relationship between these numbers, all you had to do is memorize the first group and also memorize the simple world. The second group is exactly one number higher than the first, which means now you're only juggling five things at a time. This is understandably a lot more efficient and it's also easy to remember five things and eight things on top of that, it opens the door to learning many more things that increasing the number of facts you need to keep in your head. If I later asked you to learn three groups of numbers, 13971398 and 13, 99. The difference is now five things to 12 things. And I'm sure you guys can see how this difference go quickly the more numbers you try and memorize. This is actually the exact same way computer compression works, even if you remembering less than half as much data, you so don't lose any real information because you can always get it back by applying a simple rule of addition. It's like right-clicking on a folder, selecting extract. We just need to take advantage of the concept and then use that concept of filling the blanks between each bit of data in your head, our minds look for these types of relationships all the time. But if you guys are conscious about it, you can significantly improve your mind's ability to learn. You'll also be decreasing the total amount of work you need to do and increasing the likelihood that you remember things because there are substantially fewer facts a screw up. This is just another example. The Pareto principle, in a way, memorizing eight numbers is the 80 percent of work that only gives you 20% of results, but memorizing for numbers. And one super simple concept is the 20 percent of the work that gives you 80 percent of the results. So in this lesson, we talked about linking concepts together, which is the cornerstone of how top students, top athletes, and even top doctors continue to find success in their field despite having to learn a ridiculous amount. We then looked at a couple of examples. And whenever some very plausible ways your brain might represent these two concepts, the key to utilizing the skill effectively is to recognize that there are massive similarities and everything. It's not just numbers. Every fact, date, and skill have a bunch of facts and common with each other. So from an efficiency perspective, it often makes a lot more sense to spend a little bit of time upfront looking for similarities rather than just diving in and memorizing. 6. Playing the Professor: Richard Feynman was once asked to create a lecture on a difficult topic for his first year undergraduate students after toiling day and night to know success, he famously came back to his supervisor and said, I couldn't reduce it to the freshmen level, which means I don't really understand it at all. In this video, I'm going to share with you guys one of the most powerful tools you can use to get results in any type of skill or craft. It's called playing the professor. And it can improve your ability to learn and accomplish tasks by an order of magnitude if you're learning something difficult and you've taken the rest of this class, you're probably doing a few things now. You are planning your work. You are minimizing your distractions. You're probably triple encoding the information and you're linking concepts together, but you're missing one important piece of the pie. Your mind exists to solve problems and overcome challenges. It was not created in a vacuum just to learn every part of your body is here because they all accomplished some particular goal. If you're not using your mind them to solve problems and come up with solutions while you're learning, you're really only utilizing a fraction of what you could be. This is why teachers and professors assign you homework problems and give you quizzes. It's not just to torment you. It's not because they hate you. It's because your mind constantly has to prioritize what to learn and what to discard. And when you provide it with a problem on a particular subject, It's much more likely to learn that subjects since that's a solve a particular problem. If instead you're just learning in a vacuum, your mind never prioritizes knowledge and you'll be significantly less likely and less effective moving forward. If you remember our discussion of the Pareto Principle, the beginning of the class, I provided a very simple example where professor gives you a list of topics to study for an upcoming exam. And he also bolds two out of those eight topics. He did that because it means you are now much more likely to learn those two topics. Your brain will prioritize that knowledge since it's directly related to an upcoming challenge. And as we mentioned earlier, overcoming challenges is literally the core reason your mind exists in the first place. That being said, many of the people watching this one learn topics and subjects that don't have professors, they don't have homework problems and they don't have quizzes. So instead you need to devise problems and quizzes of your own and solve those problems consistently and often during your own learning or in work to encourage your mind to learn better and learn faster. Of course, creating complicated challenges for every new subject takes a lot of work, so I'm not suggesting you guys do that. Instead, you can simply just copy and paste the same simple challenge from one subject to the next. In this case, that talent is the challenge of explaining a topic. Pretend you're in school and you are picked on to explain a topic to an entire class of fourth graders. Now, fourth graders often struggle with advanced vocabulary, so you're going to have to use simple words. You're also going to need to keep your concepts quite simple and you can no longer rely on a lot of your pre-existing information because they are fourth graders. Explain your concept from top to bottom out loud, either to a mirror, your phone or a camera, and play it back, pretending like they were fourth graders, challenge forces you to deeply understand the topic or subject you're learning because you have to be able to link the concepts together, like we talked about before, as well as simplify the content in a way that can be understood by essentially a child. It's also a difficult challenge for many because explaining something out loud and then having to look at it later takes a lot of confidence and it's very difficult for many people to do, which again makes her mind much more likely to prioritize that task. You can take this further to by explaining things again to different age groups. Next up you might explain things to a classic teenagers and then at the end, a class of graduate students. And at every step along the way, you guys are going to be forced to read, digest the information you learned, and spit it back out and interesting and increasingly more complex ways. And if you guys can combine this with the other techniques we've talked about, your ability to learn will improve by leaps and bounds. In this lesson, we talked about the principle of teaching herself by actually teaching yourself, aka playing the professor, by attempting to explain what you guys have learned, you're encouraging memory consolidation and growth of that knowledge will also stripping away all the unnecessary details to leave only the highest yield components of the information, which are the core concept. Now that takes us to the end of the second part of our class on how to learn better, faster in this course, who went through five important optimizations to your learning and productivity routine. You guys learn how to consistently achieve and maintain the flow state. You learn how to use rest to insight eureka moments and improve your willpower. You also learn what triple encoding is and how to use it and why you should be lincoln concepts together. Lastly, you learned how to play the professor to retain more information and prioritize your knowledge. I sincerely hope you guys enjoyed our course and learning about productivity. This was an incredibly fun and exciting experience for me too.