View Full Version : How to Handle Learning Multiple Subjects?
03-17-2005, 10:11 AM
How do I learn multiple subjects at once? I have so much of stuff I want to study but it's very disorganized. Here's my list:
---TAX LEIN CERTIFICATES
==PERSONAL FINANCE SOFTWARE
---JOB HUNTING SKILLS
---CAR BUYING SKILLS
As you can see i have lots to study. Each "line" represents each subject I'll study (mostly bestselling books on amazon/barnes on the subject which I get from the library. For now I figured out that I only need to study some of the subjects, and the ones with the --- means that it's temporary studies such as i would only need to study about buying cars once then buy a car then i study no more.
Others with a === means i will study it forever as in I can always impreove in my business leadership skills or whatever. So everyday for 1 hour i "plan" (have not started yet) to study a different subject. 4 of 7 days decicated to temp subjects and 3 of 7 days dedicated to permanent subjects - Eventually I'll study teh temp subjects and it'll be done then i'll dedicate 7 of 7 days to permanent subjects. And if I have more free time I'll spend more than an hour a day.
THe question is I don't know if this is the best "study system" there is, do you guys have a different study system that you use that I could implement?
"Time is $$MONEY$$!"
03-17-2005, 10:35 AM
Personally, I get more out of focused study of a small number of topics than I do from diffused effort over a large number of topics. So you might pick the one or two most important topics and focus on those until you achieve a level of competence that you're comfortable with, then push those to a "maintenance" list for periodic review.
Also, some of your topics could also fall under "recreation" or "exercise," and as such might take time from a different "bucket." Going to a comedy club to work on your sense of humor is clearly a different kind of activity from studying real estate liens.
Other topics -- time management, frugality, etc. -- are more along the lines of ongoing habits than study topics per se. At some point, studying these topics reaches a point of diminishing returns. Only you can say when that point is but, again, that might push some of these into different time buckets.
03-17-2005, 10:56 AM
Studying is fine but I find that unless you actuallly apply what you learn into real world situations it isn't retained long. What I do is try to set up my list of "to Study" topics in a manner that they can build off of one another, try to find connections with all of the things you want to study and as you learn incorporate that knowledge into your next topic. Hope that makes sense.
03-17-2005, 11:56 AM
Guildenstern: I do apply everything I study. I take extensive notes on the most important and relevant information when I study these books.
Home/Self defense books tells me to take classes & buy security systems. I do it.
Anger Management tells me to do certain things when I get mad. I create a "anger list" to refer to when I get mad.
Time Management Books tells me different methods to manage my time. Take "time management from the inside out" book for example, asks me to create a time map/budget. I do it.
03-17-2005, 02:51 PM
The items on your list all look like higher order goals to me; they're not specific enough to permit you to determine next actions.
I create an @someday project for each subject of interest. I compile reading lists, course catalogs, notes, ideas, and other pertinent information -- what DA calls "project support materials" -- under each respective project.
Most of these someday learning projects are not projects in the GTD sense, but higher order goals. It's just that it's convenient to capture them as someday projects to serve as placeholders. As long as I remember this , I'm fine.
Once one of these learning 'projects' becomes activated, I have to create actual GTD (sub)projects under it -- classes, books, daily routines, supplies -- in order to specify and organize next actions.
I organize someday and active projects of all types using DA's Six-Level Model (see GTD, Chapter 9), i.e., multiple levels of categories with the levels mapping to each other.
I don't distinguish between one off and ongoing courses of study. If it's one off, the projects and subprojects become completed; if ongoing, they stay perpetually active.
Perhaps someday I'll adopt a more formal or structured approach to managing multiple levels of goals and projects but right now this bottom up approach works for me.
03-17-2005, 10:42 PM
Isn't it a perfectionist's attitude to learn "---CAR BUYING SKILLS"? If I want or have to buy a new car I simply browse current offers, choose the car that seems to be the most reasonable choice (within my budget) and buy it. Why should I learn it?
03-18-2005, 06:31 PM
In my small world, one can either know a little about a lot of things or do a few things extremely well. One simply can't have it both ways. Focus on only a few things and become the best at them !!!
03-22-2005, 11:11 PM
The question is do you “want” to study or feel you “have” to study. That’s a lot of material you posted. I also have a diverse amount I’m studying right now. I don’t necessarily take the short view, I tend to take a longer view, this means I don’t rush and take one step at a time. With such a diverse group you want to study, I can say one piece, at a time.
There are a lot of learning tricks out there. A recent topic is here: http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3735
I guess figure out what is most important. David Allen doesn’t dismiss Values, he says they are very important.
Another suggestion if you want to improve leadership skills or finance, negotiation, etc. I routinely use flashcards and carry them around with me. I find them very helpful for reminders and learning aids. Here are some interesting Flashcards (below) You can find them at local stores (colleges) they also sell blank ones that are similar to the ones below. There is alot of unused "time" out there that can be used for learning or organizing. This unused "time" (driving, waiting, working, walking) can be used for Flashcards, reading, GTD, etc. Very important.
If “Time” is “money”, like you mentioned, then it pays to be a fast learner. Just like GTD using tricks, and methods to organize faster and be more efficient. I understand your dilemma, it’s been heavy focus for me as well. In organizing, I start in one area and go (or learn, study) from there. If it's not perfect I change it and build on it. I have to start somewhere. I then add pieces along the way and make it better and better, change it, and change it. Always in flux. I do have a good system that I like, as probably everyone here, but I don't think there is one "best" out there. I couldn't really explain my whole system either, mainly because it would take a while to explain all the intricacies.
Another trick I use is my book list. It's called @TO READ. I find it very helpful.
03-26-2005, 04:23 PM
You can't learn multiple things at once. You're always learning sequentially, one fact at a time (other facts may percolate in your subconscious, but you can't learn them until you make yourself aware of them).
Have you tried studying one subject for a set amount of time, then moving on to the next, and rotating through subjects as the weeks pass? How has that worked?