This Year I've Decided To Focus On Learning, Not Just Consuming. Here's How I'm Doing It

5 months ago   •   2 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
Photo by freddie marriage / Unsplash
Table of contents

I consume A LOT of content online.

I'd say I've consumed more educational content (books, lectures, seminars, videos) since I finished school than what I consumed during my school years. But despite all of this consumption, I felt I wasn't learning much. And upon further reflection I noticed a difference in how I consumed information before vs now.

When I was in school, learning was my job.

Since I've left school, I've accepted learning as a side-effect of everything I do and everything I consume.

So I asked myself, how can I make sure I'm learning from what I'm already consuming?

Treat learning as my job again.

Well, at least as a side business. And just like you'd treat a job, I've carved out 10 hours per week to learning and studying. I have chosen 3 areas of focus and I'm following my 5-3-1 plan with each.

And every day, I spend at least 20 minutes making notes of what I studied in a process I learned from Tiago Forte called progressive summarization.

And here are the 3 simple tools helping me do all that:

  1. Readwise: It's a webapp and a chrome extension that pulls all my highlights from Kindle and the web. I can also save tweets to it and several other sources. And the best part? It sends me a daily email with 5 of these random highlights for my spaced repetition. Recently, they've released their reader app and it's been a game-changer for me. Now I have a multi-device platform where I can save stuff to read offline.
  2. Save to Notion: Notion has become my second brain. I store everything in Notion. I used Evernote for years but it felt like a junk drawer of sorts. Sure, everything was there but I never wanted to go look for it. With the Save to Notion extension, I can easily save any webpage to a Notion database and set the parameters I want to save. Then I can also highlight stuff on the page and it will update it in Notion. If you use Notion, this is a must-have extension.
  3. A good ol' fashioned notebook: seriously. For me, the best way to study is by taking notes. Handwritten notes. Then I also review them. Writing by hand forces me to slow down and process what I'm writing. I've only been doing this for the last 45 days or so but I already notice a difference.

That's all there is to it.

So far the process has been surprisingly easy and enjoyable. Leave your questions below if you have any and I'll do my best to answer them in the comments or in a future essay.

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