If you could learn fast and effectively, you might become a person with something interesting to say on any topic. It also can help you in your career or business. You can learn more efficiently. Just use a few of the following techniques, and use them until they become a habit.

First, when you want to learn new material, expose your mind to it as soon as possible, even before you feel “ready,” or have time to study. This first stage of learning is the confusing part where you look at new ideas and say, “huh?” If you do this quickly, however, reviewing everything for a few minutes, your unconscious mind will start “incubating” the new concepts and finding some way to organize them.

The next time you sit down with the new material, begin to relate it to what you already know. Compare and contrast things. Say to yourself, “That’s like…,” or “How is that different from…” The concept of the autoresponder was new to me when I started my newsletter, but it sunk in and motivated me when I thought, “It’s like someone doing all my addressing and mailing for pennies a day.” This prompted all the important questions, and I was ready to learn about it.

Create Curiosity and Anticipation

You probably agree that you can learn more effectively with curiosity and anticipation working for you. So how do you create this state of mind? One way is to leave each learning session with a question or two clearly in your mind. This creates a sense of anticipation and curiosity that will help you the next time you approach the material. It’s like a television show cutting to a commercial at an interesting moment in the program. You want to stay tuned to see what will happen next.

Use Your Imagination

Want to change your perspective to make learning more effective? Study with the idea in mind that you will be teaching what you’re learning. As you learn something, imagine how you will teach it. This is a powerful way to get a good grasp of new information.

Imagine how you will use what you are learning. There is so much information, and so little of it is the “important stuff.” By imagining how you’ll use the new information, you tend to automatically focus on the things you need to know.

Take Breaks

Learn more by working less. Well, almost. Research shows that we remember best what we studied first and last in a given session. By taking breaks, you have more “sessions,” and increase the number of firsts and lasts. Get up and move around during your breaks, as this can also keep your mind fresh.

Finding Time

Is it difficult for you to find time to learn something new? What if it took no extra time to learn a new language, take a course on negotiating, or study something new and interesting? What would you want to learn then?

You can start this week, by using the dead-time in your day. That’s the time sitting in your car, or on the bus, or in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. There are thousands of books now on tape, CD’s, and MP3’s. Your public library probably has hundreds of books on tape, and you can even instantly download books on the internet. One website I use has 18,000 choices!

This is, without a doubt, one of the most under-utilized and easiest ways to learn something new. Is your job 25 minutes away? If so, you spend over 200 hours per year sitting in your car going to or from work. Could you learn something useful if you had four hours per week of audio instruction for a year? You bet. And the only extra time it takes is a few minutes to stop by the library or place an order online.

Put in a tape on your way to work, get used to using a few techniques here, and you could soon be a virtual learning machine.