Learn anything

There are so many sources of distractions in our lives such as app notifications. We are constantly bombarded with reminders which can affect our productivity. Don’t get me wrong; I am not anti-tech at all. What concerns me is the fact the life is busy, time is scarce, and it has become a way harder to concentrate on learning activities that require deep focus.

With this introduction, I would like to combine some ideas with regard to learning also introduce some tools to help you learn faster. Let’s start with the talk by Josh Kaufman titled “The first 20 hours – how to learn anything ” at a TEDx conference. I watched it several months ago and found it really interesting but have not realised it core message until I developed a skill following the Kaizen philosophy that I described in another post


Typing has been a mysterious skill to me and I had not been able to type with 10 fingers and fast until I found a solution called Typing Club. I’ve been using this website for a couple of months and as a result, I type with my 10 fingers and considerably fast. This web application provides you with several usage stats including practice time you have spent on the training tasks. It was astonishing that I have spent nearly 20 hours to acquire this skill which reminded me the Josh’s Talk.



He simply explains what steps you need taking to learn a new thing or develop a new skill. He gives four recommendation to tackle learning better:

  1. Deconstruct the skill
  2. Learn enough to self-correct
  3. Remove practice barrier
  4. Practice 20 hours


Back to Josh’s third recommendation, I’d like to share two techniques I use to remove one of important practice barriers: distraction. I try to deeply focus on a task but some issues prevent me from doing so. Fortunately, I could realise what they are and found a solution for them.


  1. Presumably, I assign 50 minutes to read a chapter of a book. A few minutes after I start the task, I feel worried about the time and I keep looking at the watch. This worriedness keeps my mind engaged with timing and thwarts me from getting deep focus on the task.I found a simple solution for this problem which is easy to adhere. I installed a time-management app on my phone called ClearFocus. It allows you to set work session, break, and long break duration as well as the setting number or work sessions before a long break. It is able to disable wifi and silent your phone during work sessions. With this app, I have peace of mind and keep working until the alarm goes off but to be honest there are times that I look at the watch out of habit. I covered my watch for a while to overcome this distraction source entirely.
  2. Another hint to overcome distractions is disabling notifications on your devices. Fortunately, most platforms offer us “Do Not Disturb” feature to increase our productivity.

To summarise, we are so fortunate to live in a world that provides numerous free resource to increase our knowledge and skills. Recently, I surfed a website called No Excuse List which is simply a comprehensive list of learning resources on the Internet either free or paid.

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Learn anything

An article emphasising the importance of the first 20 hours in learning new skills and introducing tools and techniques to overcome distractions and increase productivity.

Read More »