Ever find yourself reading insightful advice, but forgetting all about it when it was time to put it to action?

It would happen to me all the time (heck, still does).

I desperately wanted to get better about it. This desire took me down the path of discovering Build a Second Brain, then taking a writing course, and eventually starting the weekly newsletter that you're reading right now.

How does it help?

With the newsletter I save the lessons I learn each week, revisit them when it's time to write the news letter, and distill the key messages down to their core essence.

There are two principles at play here:

  • Spaced Repetition: revisiting lessons is a proven way to better retain what you learn.
  • Reflection: To be effective, you have to really think about the ideas you encounter, how they apply to you, and where they might not be the best option

There are may ways to put this to practice, here are a few:

Read voraciously: I used to practice spaced repetition and reflection by reading all the time. I hadn't realized I was practicing those skills though. Repetition came from me encountering the same idea expressed by multiple people. Reflection happened because the different ways each person approached the idea got me thinking about the different perspectives. It was not the most efficient process, but it worked.

Read repeatedly: My friend Slava prefers to find a good book and read it over and over again for a whole year, gradually implementing it's suggestions

Write down what you read: Now as I go through my notes from what I'd read, I'll often discover ideas that I had found insightful yet completely forgotten about. Reading them again reminds me about those concepts, and calling out the core principles behind them makes me more likely to remember them when it's time to take action.

There are many ways to build repetition and reflection into your life. The newsletter is just one of the ways I'm building it into mine, there are countless others.

Find one that works for you.

Maybe the nuggets below will help you with your own repetition :)

Your nuggets for the week:

  1. Use Principles to reach Consensus
  2. Story telling: Find the key details
  3. Invest In Course Correction

#1 Use Principles to reach Consensus

When you need to make a group decision, call out the principles you're prioritizing, and debate those principles first.

This helps avoid the anti-pattern of endlessly debating the minutiae of solutions, without ever recognizing that what we really disagree on is the principles.

Shreyas Doshi explains this in more detail in this twitter thread

#2 Story telling: Find the key details

When you tell a story,

"Your audience doesn’t want to hear all the details.

Focus on the details that make your story easy to follow.

Get rid of all the impediments that make it harder to connect with your audience. "

Extra context is distracting. If you must include it, stick it in an appendix.

via Lessons from Performative Speaking

#3 Invest in Course Correction

Spending half the day correcting your aim is better than running the whole day in the wrong direction

"Working with one's door closed lets you get more work done per year than if you had an open door, but I have observed repeatedly that later those with the closed doors, while working just as hard as others, seem to work on slightly the wrong problems, while those who have let their door stay open get less work done but tend to work on the right problems!"

-- via The Art of doing Science and Engineering

Your Turn 👊

What are some ways you can turn self-reflection into a regular habit?