Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, cites that it takes on average 10,000 hours to become a master of complex tasks, but you don’t need to be the next Jimi Hendrix to learn how to play the guitar, or the next Michael Jordan to learn how to play basketball. Learning the basics and gaining competence doesn’t require that much time. With the following plan, you can develop practically any skill in only 15 mins a day.
In the early hours of learning something new, it’s difficult and frustrating. So you want to make sure you practice long enough to break through that barrier and start seeing results. That usually happens for the more complex skills around the five- to six-hour mark. – Josh Kaufman author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast
- Be very specific and realistic about what you want to accomplish and why it’s important and meaningful to you. Research has found that you will never start or finish learning a new skill if it feels like a burden.
- Schedule a time to practice without any distractions. Give yourself two choices a day in case one does not work out. Preferably choose a time before sleep and make sure to give yourself time to wind down before you actually go to bed. Your brain is still processing information throughout the night and a full night’s sleep has been shown to be more effective in learning and retaining skills.
- Find a mentor or a friend to share and reflect with throughout your learning.
- After each learning session write down one question that you want to answer at the start of your next session.
- When you reach your goal reflect on your progress. What worked for you and what did not? How can you improve for next time?
Where are your free 15 minutes each day? You are that close to learning new skills and interests or ones you've been considering for years. After one month of practice you will have broken the barrier Kaufman describes, having invested over 7 hours in your goal. It’s a relatively small amount of your time, but with consistency and dedication just 15 minutes each day, you should start seeing significant results.
Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, Author of The Essentials and co-founder of Suave Lover International and the Suave Lover podcast (subscribe on iTunes), is a freelance writer and a private relationship-and-social-dynamics coach in the areas of public health, fitness, and social dynamics, a writer and editor for Ask Men.com, and the interpersonal relationships columnist for examiner.com. His passion lies in guiding and providing tools to men for overall self-improvement.
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*Edited by Rachel Ritter