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  • Writer's pictureDavid Rhoads

School/Work/Play/Life...all at Home? How do YOU do It?

Q: What is one simple thing you can do to improve your ability to focus or learn new skills?

A: Change WHERE you are to someplace unique.

I've been participating in an online training program for the last few months and have been struggling to focus on the material and retain the information. I've been on Chapter 6 for two weeks because I don't remember anything the next day, so I have to start over. This is going to bite me in the (you know what) in January to the tune of a few hundred dollars to reschedule my test if I don't get control of it and fix it.

This made me start thinking about my past classes and learning experiences. More specifically why I remembered some of them so well and others just faded away. Have you had that happen? You take an online class and maybe you do really well at it, but then a few weeks later the teachings are gone. Or you curl up with a book at home to read a few chapters and the next day you can't remember what you read? Sitting down in front of the computer to read a PDF on a new subject and your mind starts to wander in the first few sentences?

I have an answer from my training that smacked me on the head.

The classes I've taken (and given). where I've remembered the most, have all been done somewhere outside the bounds of my normal day-to-day life. A five day class on NLP at the conference center in San Jose, a semester class in Accounting at the community college campus, combat firearms training at the Defense Institute range, snowboarding classes at the Ski Resort. All of these were at PLACES I don't go to in my normal life and I remember them so well. They were also highly contextual, meaning the place itself was critical to the skill being learned. We don't learn accounting at the Ski Lodge.

Which I believe is my problem now. And certainly a HUGE problem for the kids going to “School” online! Everything I do is within the confines of my condo. My dining table is my place to eat, read, work, study, have a glass of wine, watch TV.

My business partner Bob, with held group seminars at off-site locations before March. This forced people out of their work and regular life and helped them to focus on the change they wanted to make. Corporate and Personal development training and my consulting is being done on Zoom now. This is still effective, but I am certain that the training is more difficult on both the trainer and the student now.

Our current life doesn't allow us the freedom of location we had before Covid and probably won't for a while. So, how do I create context and uniqueness of place to learn when I'm at home all the time? This is an important question for my learning and my teaching. How do I help my clients create unique space for change?

Thinking deeply about this right now and sometimes writing about a problem helps me with the answers. Crowd sourcing solutions is not a bad Idea either.

This week I am going to try doing my online classes on the boat instead of at the dining room table. I'm also going to put transitions from one thing to another on my calendar, with instructions about what I want to achieve next.

What are some strategies you use to create uniqueness and contextual space?

Work from Home Warriors, Trainers, Parents, Please share in the comments!

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