Being a Productive Learner (Or Entrepreneur)

Below are a series of infographics from Funders and Founders on how to be a more productive entrepreneur. However, I think it is worth pointing out that the tips in them are applicable to students, self-directed learners, starter-upers, and everyone in between.

I saw this and thought it was remarkably useful for people who create self-directed learning plans. No matter if you are sludging through 5 concurrent MOOCs or are making your way through the last of finals week in college we can all  learn to simplify our lives to maximize productivity.


Start off with having a SIMPLE existence. Seriously. Wear a few outfits that you don’t need to put a lot of thought into, and get rid of the clutter. Get rid of the crap that takes up space in your room, desk, life and brain. Say goodbye to the people who suck up your time and energy. Stop thinking you need to be perfect (nobody really expects you to be!) and turn off your dang phone every now and again!


The most productive people get up ridiculously early. They do. Just accept that and try to emulate it. Here are some of the best ways to get up early. Plan an exciting breakfast that will get you out of bed. Schedule your most important plans in the morning so you wake up thinking about how to kick-start your day. Read a book the night before and turn off the phone. Seriously. The phone. Turn it off! And drink water before going to bed and again after waking up. If you are well hydrated you are more energetic and alert.


Start every day right. Start with the hardest tasks and get them done. Visualize the type of day you want to have. Work out when you get up. Even if it just stretching, getting blood and oxygen coursing through you will do wonders to wake you up. And finally, ask yourself how happy you are doing what you are about to do. If you don’t love what you do, it is a lot harder to get up every morning to do it.


The best rule of working fast is to just start and keep moving. Momentum is easier to build when you are already moving. So just start on whatever you need to do. It will train you to stop procrastinating and you can make a habit of being a more productive person and getting more things done. Start with quantity and then revise to hit quality. Again, expecting perfection the first round through only worked for Tesla. For the rest of us, we have to deal with just getting the thoughts flowing. And again, cut down on clutter and you will be WAY better off.


Finally, we come to thinking faster. We all need to be able to think on our feet. First: be honest with everything you say. Don’t try to “pitch” to everyone around you or you’ll never be trusted. Be straight with people. If you don’t know- say it! If you don’t have time to do something- don’t accept the task! Don’t try to spend too much time formulating your sentence. Let silence be. It’s only awkward if you make it. Trust your gut and challenge your memory regularly. And always remember that being creative or knowledgeable comes from being able to store vast amounts of information in your brain.

There is no better way to use this new-found productivity than testing it out with expanding your brain! Accredible is the perfect way to learn whatever you want for nearly every subject. I challenge you to take a MOOC and record your learning experience as you try to apply these tips to be more effective. Happy learning!



Siouxsie Downs: Siouxsie Downs is the CEO of IQ Co-Op, and co-founder of Farnsworth Downs Technology. She is an Uncollege alumni, stopped out of CU Boulder’s Engineering Physics program and is continuing her education in Nuclear Engineering. She hosts a radio show, has worked on humanitarian engineering, and is currently designing nuclear reactors in the Rocky Mountains. She plays roller derby (Atom THORasher), rides motorcycles, and was named after a 1980s punk rock singer and is an all around geek.