Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill and then found you just didn’t have the time to do it? Maybe you want to be able to speak Spanish, make fresh pasta, learn how to knit or master surfing but somehow you can’t fit it into your schedule. Learning new skills is a great form of self-development and those who are most successful in life, whether it be in a professional arena or not, are those who are always learning and developing new skills. No matter the skill you want to learn, there are ways you can ensure that you commit to learning that skill.
Here are six great ways to learn a new skill:
- Pick A Passion
If you’re looking to learn a new skill a good place to start is to pick a skill that relates to an interest or passion of yours. If you love desserts, learning how to bake is a great option whereas if you love the outdoors and adventure, rock climbing might be a new skill you could focus on. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, the learning process will come more naturally to you and the hours of dedication that it takes to learn a new skill will seem like part of the fun rather than a chore.
- Focus On One Skill At A Time
Learning a new skill takes time, focus and concentration. This means that in order to acquire a new skill, it’s best to put your efforts into one skill at a time. While being able to multitask is a positive quality in many situations, when it comes to being able to pick up a new skill quickly it’s best to focus your attention on that alone. For example, there is no point in trying to learn two languages at once because you’ll just end up tired and confused. In order to increase your chances of success and mastery, you’re better off making the learning process as manageable as possible.
- Break Down the Skills Into Sub-skills
The first part to learning a new skill is to deconstruct that skill. This starts by doing some research into the skill you want to learn and the different components that make up learning this skill. As you find out more about the elements involved in learning the skill, start to think analytically about how you can divide the skill into sets of sub-skills. By identifying these sub-skills you can start small in your learning process. By learning in this way, all those sub-skills will eventually come together and make up the whole skill. If you’re learning to surf, you might start off by learning the technique of standing on the board while on the sand. Once you’ve mastered this aspect, the process of learning to stand on the board in the water will be much easier than going straight into the water to begin with.
- Learn By Doing
While reading and researching about different topics can be an important aspect of the learning process, most of our learning takes place not learning theory, but by practicing our skills. Alternate between researching and practicing. When you’re learning a language, for example, as important as it is to learn the right conjugations and new vocabulary, you should also be going out and speaking to native speakers so that you can have the chance to speak the language yourself. It is through physically engaging with the skill that you’ll be able to better identify your weaknesses and strengths in the skill.
- Optimize Your Time
When it comes to learning a skill, time is your most valuable asset and your success will really be defined by how much quality time you dedicate to that skill. A lot of us feel that we have no time left in our days for extracurricular activities or hobbies but in reality, the problem is not that we have no time, it’s just that we are not making the most of the time we have. Consider your day-to-day activities. Do you spend hours on Instagram or waste the nights away bingeing on Netflix? Identify the things you spend time doing that aren’t of much value and use this time towards honing your new skill. Another way to optimize your time is when you’re traveling to and from work or running errands. If you’re on public transport you can use this as time to read about the new skill you want to learn, or if you’re driving you can listen to podcasts about whatever skill you’re learning. What is important to remember is the quality of time you put into your learning. Even if you only have one hour to spare in the evenings, if you use the hour wisely you can make a lot of progress in a short amount of time.
- Create A Positive Learning Environment
An important part of learning a new skill is your learning environment. You can optimize your learning by finding a space where you feel focused and motivated to work. For some, this might mean being in a co-working area or joining a group for a collaborative learning experience. For others, it might mean working from the comfort of a home office free of the distractions of other people. Everybody learns at different paces and in different ways. For example, if you are thinking of learning new skills by returning to study you might consider undertaking an online course so that you can work in an environment more suited to you than working in the traditional classroom setting.