Learning is perhaps the most important skill in this Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambigious world (VUCA is a new term to define the new world we are in). It’s a meta wish to ask for because it will help achieve all other wishes !

I started my quest to learn machine learning recently and I found it to be extremely difficult as this time I did not just set to learn concepts but to be hands-on for which i had to learn how to do basic coding. I have tried many things in which somethings work really well and some did not. I am sharing below some of the things that really works.

The things which work well can be categorised in 3 parts – a) Internal environment, b) External environment c) Tools and techniques.

Internal environment

Focus on the process and not outcomes: When you leave the outcomes and try to enjoy the little events of asking questions and process of discovering answers, the outcomes start to come by itself. It though doesn’t matter if outcome will get achieved.

Your mind is not just the brain. It is contained in this body and body needs to be in absolute ease. Any pain will suck the attention. Exercise, yoga does consume some time but it helps in better utilization of left out time.

Observe the negative thoughts in moments of despair. Do not beat yourself up if you are not able to move ahead. Rather just observe. Take it easily. Developing expertise requires patience. This analogy of chicken sexing was really helpful. Read here

External Environment

Create an environment where you can not be distracted by mobile phone, notifications for a time. The longer the better.

White noise / baroque music / other instrumental music (without a meaning) could be really helpful to create an environment of focus.

Pomodoro – Create blocks of 25 minutes followed by 5 mins of relaxation, followed by another one of 25 minutes followed by a bigger break. It helps to relax and focus.

Tools & Techniques

Road map – Create a rough sketch of broad topics you need to study in order to understand a topic. Do not get deep in first go, rather than understand the big picture and then select topics you want to get deep into. Start with why and keep coming to these why’s

Making notes is so very critical specially when you want to understand a complex topic. Not only making notes help focus, but also is very useful aid in revising. I have a physical notebook where i note and since there are lot of internet resources – web page or youtube video. I bookmark them on google sheet or pockets

Revision is important since it helps to recall information and solidify the contents in memory.

Teaching some one or talking about what you have learnt to a real or virtual friend is an excellent way to learn. This technique comes from Richard Feynmen, a famous physicist. Read more here

Being on communities e.g. stackoverflow could be really helpful. Fellow learners answer within few hours to even complex questions and followups. In few instances, i went into chat with them. There are chances someone has already asked that question and while you google, you will get the answer.

This advice came from a colleague – Break the code into steps, print the outputs to understand where you are going wrong.

Rubber duck debugging is an interesting advice. Read out the issue to this in-animate rubber duck and there are huge chances that while you read, you will be able to get useful advice yourself. I have observed it happening while writing the question on the stackoverflow forum.

These were some very useful techniques i found are really helpful. Hope it helps you too. I will keep on updating this page after few days as i progress on this journey.