August 26, 2020

Welcome to my “4 Guaranteed Ways to Learn” : Part 2

Hi there! I’m so happy to see you here in Part 2 of my “4 Guaranteed Ways to Learn” series! 

Last week I shared with you all of the secret benefits of sleep that we too often take for granted. For many, sleep seems like a “waste of time”, but nothing nature does is a waste of time. Everything our body does and needs is for a reason. It’s the most fascinating and complex “machine” in the world. 

So, I hope you tried out some of the tricks from last week to help you tap into your amazing brain while you sleep. If you did, I’d love to hear about it!

This week, I’m going to be sharing another technique with you that’s easy to implement – especially with kids! In case you haven’t noticed, most kids can’t sit still for very long, much less sitting to do homework and/or things they aren’t interested in. 

It seems that half your time is spent telling them to sit still! Their eyes wander, their thoughts are on something else and you find yourself constantly trying to redirect.

Maybe it happens to you! Do you find yourself daydreaming while trying to learn something new? Well I hope that today’s technique is something that you can share with your kids and try out for yourself. 

Remember, the key to maximizing our learning potential is to spend our time and energy understanding the brain and how it works. We need to learn to study productively not more. 

The Pomodoro Technique 

  1. The pomodoro (Italian for tomato) technique was invented in the 1980’s (best era ever!) by Francesco Cirillo. 
  2. The method is simple.
    1. First turn off all distractions (this means phones off or on do not disturb)
    2. Turn on a timer for 25 minutes. 
    3. Next, focus all of your attention on the new material that you need to learn. If you’re having trouble understanding it, just keep analyzing it, re-reading the material and maintaining focus. Don’t lose focus!
    4. Reward yourself after you’re done (a stretch, a walk, a treat, a social media check!, etc :))

This method works great for anything from learning new material to physical work-outs. 

The Reason this Method Works (understanding why)

It’s important to me that you understand how this works. Doing something for the sake of doing something is not as effective as taking the time to appreciate why and how something works. 

1. Our brains enhance neural connections by repeated use. – The more you introduce the same concept to the brain, the more permanent the information becomes. The more permanent it becomes, the easier it is to access later on! 

2. The more abstract something is, the more you need to practice. 

Here are some examples of abstract thinking:

  1. Math 
  2. Physics
  3. Biology

 3. When we focus intently on something and then take a break, our brain goes into a different mode of thinking than when you are focused on the material. This change allows your brain to relax and this helps you understand difficult to understand concepts when you come back to them. 

So, when you’re learning a new skill for the first time, this is what happens:

First time – Your brain has a vague idea of how something works

Second time – Create a light pattern in your brain of what you’re learning that you can later access

Third time – Creates a very dark pattern in the brain that signifies more permanent knowledge. 

“Practice Makes Permanent”

(The problem with most of us is that we are impatient! We expect to see something once, and then understand it. While this may be true for some things we learn, most of the time, we need to see something repeatedly to REALLY understand it! – and be able to explain it on a test!)

So there you have it! 

I hope you’ll give this a try! 25 minute bursts of learning are MUCH better than sitting there for hours!! (and more productive too!)

Join me next week for Part 3 of my “Guaranteed Ways to Learn”

Have a wonderful week! 


Elizabeth Vainder, M.D. 

As always, like, comment and share this post with someone that can use it!

Thank you for being here!

If you missed Part one, please click here 🙂

#52: 4 Guaranteed Ways to Learn Faster: Part 1

**Information gathered from the “Learning to Learn”

by Barbara Oakely, Ph. D

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