3 Powerful Tricks to Learn New Skills Faster

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

– John F. Kennedy

Though few people like it, change never stops.

Success in life requires the ability to adapt. As one Chinese proverb quips, “the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.”

Whether you enjoy change or not, the pace of change marches ahead at an ever-increasing pace. Here is a statistical snapshot of what that looks like:

  • 94% of the internet workload will be processed on the cloud by the end of 2021
  • It is estimated that 70% of all automobiles will be connected to the internet through the Internet of Things by 2023
  • By 2030, the fully and semi-automatic car market will be worth $26 billion
  • Artificial Intelligence is slated to replace around 85 million US jobs by 2025
  • The world has produced 90% of its Big Data (or extensive data sets) in the past two years

Does that feel overwhelming?

It can be. But humans are change experts. We are master adapters! People adapt when they enter a new life stage, take a new job, when abrupt social change occurs, or when faced with a health crisis.

Simple Skills that Increase Retention

As you are prompted to innovate, create new jobs, or develop new ways of working, you can learn faster and retain more information. Want to be more efficient in learning new skills? Here are a few tips:

1. Rehearse Aloud

When trying to learn someone’s name, people often speak the name aloud two or three times in the initial conversation.

Research shows that, compared with reading or thinking silently, the act of speech is one of the most important mechanisms for retaining information. Want to retain and solidify something in less time? Rehearse it aloud.

As psychologist Colin MacLeod says, “learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable.”

2. Link New Ideas with Familiar Concepts

Mentally connecting concepts is a fantastic memory hack.

Associative learning takes place when two elements are connected in our brain in a way that links seemingly unrelated things. For example, a science teacher might set out an ice cube, a bowl of water, and a steaming pot to link something kids are already familiar with (common forms of water) to explain a new concept (the phases of matter).

In simple terms, whenever you say, “Oh, I see . . . this is basically like that,” you’re associating something you currently understand with something you’re trying to learn. By mentally linking things, you learn and categorize quickly and remember them more easily.

3. Practice Varying Skills in Succession

Interleaving is a learning technique that involves mixing different topics or forms of practice to facilitate learning. For example, if a student uses interleaving while preparing for an exam, they can mix up different types of questions rather than study only one type of question at a time.

This varied practice (as contrasted with the specific practice of one skill) focuses on multiple tasks at once. Interleaving blocks you from slipping into mindless muscle memory and forces continual adaptation and adjustment. When you quickly switch between practicing piano, typing, and marimba – or speaking Spanish, German, and Italian – it helps you really learn what you’re trying to learn because you must concentrate at a deeper level.

Need to learn something new? Try these tricks to become more lean and efficient in the process!

Using Content to Win New Customers

Marketing content is a useful tool for any business trying to generate more traffic to their doorstep, either digitally or in person.

Whether your content is provided through a direct mailer or digitally, the right information catches people’s attention and attracts them to want to find out more.

And that generates valuable activity that causes sales to happen.

Yes, content is powerful and profitable, but what kind of content works? Here are valuable content tips that can make a difference for your business.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

A lot of energy, time, and resources are consumed creating new methods from scratch, whether in business or anything else.

So why go down that road when you can learn by working examples instead?

The key is to focus on companies and organizations that put out both digital and print content that is wildly successful. It doesn’t even have to be the same industry as yours.

Instead, look for methodology and strategy. What is it about these businesses that makes their content work? Find the system, learn the approach, and then apply it to your business.

Pinpoint What Attracts Customers to You

In traditional marketing, identifying viable customers is known as “defining a target market.”

Typically, a marketer would find the right type of demographics mix that makes up a target market and then aim marketing efforts towards that person, hoping for a response.

Today, however, things are easier.

Ask your current customers what they appreciate and like about your business and find more people with similar interests. Then shape your content accordingly.

Screen Your Existing Material for Easy Gems

Most likely, your company has already produced a library of information that can be used to create content for customers.

Review your existing resources, modify the material, and post or print it for them to find. Customers connect to the most amazing things; the trick is to tell a story that brings them back for more.

Don’t Brain Dump, Choose Material Wisely

Content is never an accident.

Your customer-oriented material should be part of an overall story you tell each month to audiences. Every piece should connect and integrate with the next during each content push window.

One of the best ways to do this is to shape your content for each month. Whether weekly or daily, the month’s material should be planned, summarized, and segued from one piece of the story to the next. Consider each content piece a chapter in a bigger book.

Make Sure Your Writer is Passionate

If your content is just a chore for whoever gets assigned the task, it will show in the writing.

Make sure your writer actually has a passion for your topic, and the difference will come out naturally. It will also be far more attractive to your customers, who will find the content genuine and natural.

Avoid Hard Calls to Action

Remember, your content’s goal is to generate an audience for your business.

Hard messaging stands out awkwardly in genuine content. Instead, the material should be informative, helpful, and useful. The body of the content will do its work and attract customers, who will then seek your business on their own and connect it with your business. Their interest will do the rest on the natural. This is why content generation is so powerful.

Lastly, make your content human and personal. Put a face to it if possible. Customers connect far more to a person than generic information.

Grow Your Business Through Instagram Marketing

If you’re looking for a way to boost the results of your print marketing, integrate your next campaign expand your reach with Instagram!

Instagram is a cost-effective marketing tool that houses many resources to help your business grow.

As the second most accessed network behind Facebook, with 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram boasts highly engaged users, browsing an average of 53 minutes per day.

Instagram can be a handy tool if you’re trying to reach ages 18-44, as 45% of Instagram users are within this age group. 

4 Tips to Get Your Business Started on Instagram

Before initiating an Instagram business profile, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy.

1. Know Your Why.

Why do you want your business on Instagram?

For example, are you there to sell products, share portfolio content, build brand awareness, share user-generated content, and/or use Instagram’s analytic tools? When you discover your why, you’ll have a beneficial framework for moving forward.

2. Determine Your Target Market.

Think about age, location, gender, income, interests, motivations, & pain points.

If this is challenging, try looking up competitors on Instagram to see who their audience is.

3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis.

A competitive analysis is when you research your competitors to see how they are doing.

Then, using this data, you develop a plan to improve your own business. When doing this through Instagram, see what and how often your competitors are posting, what posts are getting the highest engagement, what they are using for captions, how quickly they are growing, etc.

Acquire data that can then be used as a benchmark for your business. You can also brainstorm ways you can stand out from your competitors.

4. Create an Editorial Calendar.

An editorial calendar is a visual representation of your workflow.

You can develop a plan for when, what, and how often to post on both your main Instagram feed and Instagram stories.

5 Tips for Gaining Instagram Followers

Now that your marketing strategy is in place, you can get on Instagram to grow your follower base and engagement. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Create a Business Account.

Perhaps obvious, but make sure your business is under a business account.

Go to your profile page, click the three horizontal lines at the top, click settings, account, then scroll down.

If it says, “Switch back to Personal Account,” then you have a business account. If it says, “Switch to Professional Account,” your business is under a personal account.

No worries! Just click “Switch to Professional Account,” follow the prompts, and now you have a business account. This is important because it will give you access to useful features, including analytic tools, promoted posts, and a contact button.

Instagram’s analytic tools allow you to see who (age and gender), when, and where you generate the most engagement. You can also see data for follower growth. 

2. Make Sure Your Instagram Bio is Strong.

Your bio is your potential client’s first impression.

Add all the necessary information and use keywords that will draw in your target audience. 

Your bio is also the area where you’ll put your call-to-action URLs. Because Instagram is image-based, URLs don’t work well on each post. Instead, update your bio URL to correspond with anything unique you’re posting.

3. Create a High-Quality Instagram Feed.

Ensure that your Instagram feed flows nicely by choosing consistent editing styles and adding filler photos.

Filler photos are posts that serve to improve your Instagram feed’s aesthetic. They are important because Instagram is such a visual app. Space out busy photos with minimalistic ones. You can even try posting six to nine photos in a row to create one large picture on your feed.

4. Don’t Forget to Use Your Stories.

Because Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, they’re a great way to post various content and drive engagement.

Plus, thanks to Instagram’s stickers, you can create quick polls to drive follower engagement while simultaneously receiving follower feedback.

5. Add Instagram to Your Networking Cards.

Networking cards are business cards that highlight your social media presence. They are a great way to increase your follower base and sales.

Instagram is a wonderful tool to grow your business. Apply the above advice, so you can stand out and increase sales.

7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

Just like any muscle in the body, the brain can also get tired.

According to Medical News Today, a human’s ability to make decisions can worsen after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued. This can lead to an emerging phenomenon called decision fatigue, which can cause mental fatigue, increasingly worse decision making, impulse buying, procrastination, decision avoidance, lack of focus, pessimism, and lapses in judgment.

And it could be the reason you find it hard to get stuff done. It’s not your fault. It’s just your brain’s natural defense mechanism.

When the brain becomes depleted, it shuts down non-essential services, including the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for complex decision-making.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs can be affected by decision fatigue because they make many decisions throughout the day, feel greatly affected by the decisions they make, and make stressful and complex decisions.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to alleviate the mental toll of constant decision-making.

7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

1. Simplify

Find ways to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a day by simplifying your life and creating habits.

For example, create a minimalistic wardrobe. Food prep or form consistent meal plans. Develop habits, so you no longer have to decide whether or not to do something. You start to do it automatically.

2. Plan Ahead

Plan the night before for the day ahead.

This will limit the number of decisions you’ll need to make during the day. You’ll no longer have to decide if you should do this or that. It’s prewritten. You just need to follow the script. Much easier.

3. Hard First, Easy Second

Tackle the hard stuff first when your brain is the most energized.

Some may find it tempting to take on the easy tasks first in order to ease into the day. But, when you reach the more challenging items, it will be much harder to complete because your brain is already depleted. You’re not doing yourself any favors.

4. Take Breaks

Small breaks energize your mind and make you able to continue working optimally for longer.

These breaks could include a meditation (focus on breathing for a set period of time), a short walk, or even a power nap. You’ll come back energized and ready to conquer the rest of the day!

5. Self-Care Matters

Take care of yourself.

Your brain and physical body function optimally when you are eating right, sleeping well, and not overworking yourself.

6. Don’t Go It Alone: Outsource

Reduce the number of decisions you must make by outsourcing them.

For example, hire virtual assistants to cover the simple business decisions or hire extra employees to tackle more complex decisions.

7. Stand Firm

Once a decision is made, stick to it!

You already spent quite a lot of energy making that decision. There’s no need to go back, spend more energy, and change decisions. You’re just increasing your workload and decreasing your mental energy.

It’s Start with Your Mindset

Interestingly, it could be beneficial to change your view on how mental energy is used.

A study was conducted comparing Westerners and Indians. The Indian participants believed that exerting willpower was energizing, while the Western participants believed that exerting willpower was draining. The Indians performed better. Therefore, perhaps just changing your mindset regarding the brain’s energy could affect your energy levels.

A world full of decisions can be draining, but luckily there are multiple strategies to help you combat decision fatigue.