Solve Problems, Test Ideas, and Deliver Results

Ever felt like solving big problems takes forever? Enter the Sprint method, a five-day miracle cure for tackling tough challenges and testing new ideas. Inspired by Jake Knapp’s book “Sprint,” this process helps teams move from problem to prototype in record time. Here’s a light-hearted guide to this speedy problem-solving approach.

The Process of the Sprint

Mindmap (Map in the book)

First up, the Map phase. Grab a piece of paper or your favorite note-taking app and start drawing boxes and bubbles. These shapes will represent your inputs (bubbles) and desired outputs (boxes). Connect them together and, voila, you’ll see the process and any missing pieces. Don’t worry if it looks chaotic—this is just the beginning!

Blueprint (Sketch in the book)

Next, it’s time to Sketch. Take your mindmap and start pulling on those threads. What does each input affect? What are the dependencies and outputs? Draw out each process step-by-step. This will give you a clearer, more organized blueprint of your solution. And don’t be shy—get feedback from a trusted colleague or friend over coffee to refine your ideas.

Decision (Decide in the book)

With your blueprint in hand, it’s time to Decide. What’s the best way to follow this plan? Whether it’s using Excel, coding, or another tool, aim for simplicity. As Albert Einstein said, “Everything should be made simple, but not simpler.” Gather your inputs and dependencies, and you’re ready to move forward.

Build (Prototype in the book)

Now comes the fun part: building your Prototype. This is where your hard work starts to take shape. Whether it’s a market model, an automated financial sheet, or a training presentation, roll up your sleeves and get building. It’s all about turning your blueprint into a tangible, testable product.

Review (Test in the book)

Finally, it’s time to Test. Let others take a look at your creation. Encourage them to review it, play around with it, and even break it. Gather their feedback and use it to make improvements. It might be tough to hear criticism, but it’s essential for refining your work and making it the best it can be.

Benefits of Sprint

The Sprint method comes with a bunch of benefits:

  • Speed and Efficiency: Compress months of work into just five days. Get things done fast!
  • Focus and Clarity: Spend a week focused solely on the problem, leading to clearer insights and better solutions.
  • Collaboration: Bring together diverse perspectives and expertise, ensuring everyone’s on the same page.

Practical Applications

The Sprint process isn’t just for tech startups. It’s versatile and can be applied to a range of problems across different industries:

  • Product Design: Quickly iterate and improve new features and user interfaces.
  • Marketing: Test marketing strategies and campaigns before a full-scale launch.
  • Business Strategy: Explore new business models and streamline operations.
  • Non-profits: Develop effective programs and maximize impact.


And there you have it—the Sprint method in a nutshell. It’s a powerful framework for solving big problems and testing new ideas quickly. So, the next time you’re faced with a daunting challenge, give the Sprint a try. You might just be amazed at what you can achieve in five days. Now, take a breather, celebrate your progress, and get ready to do it all over again!

This is inspired by Jake Knapp’s Sprint book. I have used this method since 2016 as a problem-solving methodology.
You can get the PDF template that I use with note taking app on my tablet.
Not affiliated with Jake Knapp in any way. Not for commercial use, only for personal use.

JPS Nagi
June 2024 


Leadership Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

During my upbringing in India, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) or role-playing games were unfamiliar to me. However, over the past five years, I have had the pleasure of immersing myself in this captivating game. In this blog, I am sharing some valuable leadership insights gleaned from my experiences with D&D.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game that has captivated the hearts and minds of players for decades. While it’s known for its storytelling and epic battles, D&D also offers valuable insights into leadership. Surprisingly, the lessons learned in the imaginary realms of dungeons and dragons can be applied to real-world leadership situations. Let’s explore some of these leadership lessons from the world of D&D.

  • Collaboration and Teamwork:
    D&D is a team-based game where players form parties to achieve common goals. Leadership in D&D often means bringing together a diverse group of characters with unique abilities and personalities. Similarly, in the real world, effective leaders know how to foster collaboration and teamwork among their team members, recognizing that diverse strengths and perspectives can lead to success.
  • Adaptability:
    In D&D, dungeon masters create dynamic and ever-changing scenarios, forcing players to adapt and make quick decisions. Leaders must also be adaptable, especially in today’s fast-paced world, where unexpected challenges are common. Being able to pivot, adjust strategies, and make informed decisions on the fly is a valuable trait.
  • Decision-Making:
    D&D players face numerous decisions throughout their quests, some of which can have far-reaching consequences. Leaders are often tasked with making critical decisions that impact their teams and organizations. D&D teaches the importance of considering various options, gathering information, and making well-informed choices.
  • Communication:
    Effective communication is vital in D&D. Players need to convey their intentions, share information, and work together seamlessly. Leaders must also be skilled communicators, conveying their vision, goals, and expectations clearly to their teams. Moreover, active listening and fostering an open dialogue are essential leadership traits.
  • Problem Solving:
    D&D adventures are rife with puzzles, challenges, and obstacles. Players must think creatively and use their resources to overcome these hurdles. Leaders often encounter complex problems in the workplace. Learning from D&D, they can encourage innovative thinking, resourcefulness, and a willingness to tackle challenges head-on.
  • Empowerment:
    D&D empowers players to take ownership of their characters and decisions. Likewise, successful leaders empower their teams, granting them autonomy and trust to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. Empowered team members tend to be more motivated and engaged.
  • Resilience:
    In D&D, characters face setbacks, injuries, and defeats, yet they press on. Leaders, too, must display resilience in the face of adversity. It’s essential to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and maintain a positive outlook.
  • Vision and Strategy:
    Dungeon masters in D&D create grand narratives and worlds for players to explore. Leaders also need a clear vision and strategy to guide their teams and organizations. A compelling vision can inspire and align team members toward a common purpose.

Dungeons & Dragons is not just a game; it’s a source of valuable leadership lessons. From teamwork and adaptability to decision-making and resilience, the principles learned in the world of D&D can be applied to leadership in any setting. Aspiring leaders and seasoned professionals alike can draw inspiration from the adventures of their favorite characters, both in fantasy realms and the real world. So, roll the dice and embark on your own leadership quest!

JPS Nagi
November 30, 2023

The Science of Flavor Profiles and Pairings: The Essence of Taste, Aroma and Health

Flavor is more than just the taste of food—it’s a complex experience that involves both olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) sensations. My journey with flavors in foods and drinks took me down the rabbit hole of flavors. Here is a short account of this journey from the last few months.

The Science of Flavor Molecules
At the core of flavor is chemistry. Flavor molecules are responsible for the aromatic and taste qualities of food and beverages. They are detected by our sensory organs, triggering responses that can be sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or umami. But these molecules do more than just provide taste—they can also influence metabolic processes, impacting our health.

Flavor Molecules and Health
Recent research has highlighted the importance of flavor molecules in metabolic regulation. Some of these molecules can influence digestion, absorption, and even the body’s metabolic rate. Understanding these effects can lead to healthier food choices and improved well-being.

Cataloging Flavor Profiles
Given the importance of flavor molecules in both culinary and health contexts, it’s valuable to have a detailed repository. Such a resource would include:

  • Natural Sources: Identifying where specific flavors originate, be it a spice, fruit, or herb.
  • Physicochemical Properties: Understanding the stability, solubility, and reactivity of these molecules.
  • Sensory Responses: Document the taste and aroma profiles they produce.

Pairing Flavors
Knowing the flavor profiles of different molecules allows for creative and harmonious pairings in cooking and perfumery. For instance, the earthy tones of mushrooms pair well with the umami-rich flavors of soy sauce, while the sharpness of citrus can enhance the sweetness of berries.

Two major resources that I reference for flavor pairings and combinations are FlavorID and FlavorDB.

FlavorID, the latest innovation from Foodpairing, is revolutionizing the way we think about taste and health. This groundbreaking app is not just about discovering new flavors; it’s a journey towards a healthier you. With FlavorID, you can easily check your health score, a unique feature that evaluates your dietary habits and suggests improvements. The app goes beyond generic recommendations by helping you discover your personal flavor profile. This tailored approach ensures that the suggestions for new flavors and healthier ingredients are not just good for you, but also align with your taste preferences. Imagine being introduced to a world of flavors and ingredients you never knew existed, each contributing to a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or someone looking to enhance your diet, FlavorID offers a delightful and beneficial exploration of taste and well-being.

Exploring the Vast World of Flavors with FlavorDB
FlavorDB is an extensive repository that contains a staggering 25,595 flavor molecules, each encapsulating unique tastes and aromas. Within this collection, 2,254 molecules are specifically linked to 936 natural ingredients, categorized into 34 distinct groups. This rich variety offers a comprehensive look into the diverse world of flavors.

The platform is designed to be dynamic and user-friendly, making it an invaluable tool for various applications. Whether you’re a chef, food scientist, or just a flavor enthusiast, FlavorDB provides several exciting functionalities:

  • Flavor and Structure Matching: Easily search for molecules that match specific flavor profiles or molecular structures. This feature is perfect for culinary experts looking to create unique taste experiences or for scientists exploring the chemistry of flavors.
  • Ingredient Exploration: Dive into the molecular makeup of different ingredients. This allows users to understand the flavor nuances of various foods and how they contribute to overall taste.
  • Novel Food Pairings: Discover new and unexpected food combinations. By understanding the molecular basis of flavors, FlavorDB can suggest pairings that might not be immediately obvious but can lead to delightful culinary creations.
  • Molecular Essence Identification: Get to the heart of what makes each ingredient unique. This feature is especially useful for those in the food and flavor industry, aiming to replicate or enhance specific tastes.
  • Chemical-Flavor Associations: Link chemical properties with flavors, providing a deeper understanding of why certain foods taste the way they do.

FlavorDB isn’t just a tool for exploration; it’s a gateway to new discoveries. Data-driven studies utilizing this resource can significantly advance our understanding of flavor mechanisms. This can lead to innovative approaches in food science, nutrition, and even gastronomy. The possibilities are as limitless as the flavors themselves, making FlavorDB a key player in the ongoing journey to decode the mysteries of taste and aroma.

In conclusion, flavor molecules are a fascinating and vital aspect of our daily lives. By understanding their sources, properties, and effects on our senses and health, we can enhance our culinary experiences and make informed choices about the foods we consume. The journey of exploring flavors is not just about taste — it’s about experiencing the rich tapestry of nature’s bounty.

This exploration into the world of flavor profiles and pairings offers a glimpse into the complex interplay between our senses, health, and the natural world. As we explore this dynamic and delicious landscape, we open ourselves up to a world where taste and health coexist in delightful harmony. Understanding and appreciating this intricate relationship can elevate our experience of food and aroma, turning each meal or scent into a journey of discovery.

Learn More on these websites and books:

  1. FlavorID and FlavorDB
  2. Books:
    1. The Flavor Matrix by James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
    2. Art & Science Of Foodpairing by Peter Coucquyt

JPS Nagi
November 24, 2023

Everything in life is an RC Curve!

My mentor from my last job, David Lee Rutledge, held two significant positions as a head of R&D and later the CTO. Although I never had the opportunity to work directly under him, we collaborated for 15 years. One of the best lessons I learned from him is “Everything in life is an RC curve”.

For an ELT presentation, I realized that I needed to make some last-minute changes, but when I found out that he had already sent a copy of the presentation to the ELT members, I started stressing out. Observing my worry, he drew an RC circuit and curve on the whiteboard and asked me if I had ever seen one before. I nodded and he said, “JP, everything in life is an RC curve.”
“When you are charging, you charge at a much fast rate. It’s like efforts on x-axis vs. returns on y-axis. As you get closer to the getting fully charged, a lot more effort is required to get a good return. Sometimes you need to go the extra mile to get the last ounce of returns, and it’s essential to know whether the return is worth the effort.”
He continued, “So relax, you made a great presentation. The additional changes you’re worried about are just noise. Focus on the signal.”

That was one of my great moments with David. Since then, I always plan and think before jumping in to ensure that I put in the right amount of effort to get the right returns. I’m still learning and seeking advice from others when needed.

So, remember the RC curve, know when to stop, and when to keep going. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask. After all, “Everything in life is an RC curve.”

JPS Nagi
April 18, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In this last post on this topic, we look at how our Mind and how our state of mental health will affect learning.

Mind, or Your Mental Health
If anything, the pandemic taught us that it is important to take care of your mental health. And this also applies to learning. Learning new skills can be an intimidating process, and it’s easy to get in our heads when we’re learning something new. It can seem like everyone else is so much better than us and that we will never measure up. When I am asked, I am not competing with anyone – I am competing with myself. I often ask myself this question to myself – What can I do to become a better version of myself? How can I be a better listener, or how can I play those difficult barre chords on my guitar?
Like anyone else, I get those negative feelings too. I found that there are ways to combat these negative thoughts and stay positive during the learning process. I often just stop what I am doing, and start cooking – which relaxes me. Find your relaxation and your comfort zone; go there, and do what you like. And come back with a fresh mind. I found that my actions are three-pronged.
First of all, it’s important to validate your (negative) feelings. It’s okay if you feel inferior or like you’re not good enough or never going to make it; those thoughts happen to all of us at some point during the learning process. Acknowledging that these thoughts exist is the first step towards overcoming them.
Secondly, it’s also important to remember that you’re not alone in this process. Everyone experiences self-doubt; even those who seem like they have their skill mastered have probably had moments where they felt like they weren’t good enough. Remind yourself that everyone has been where you are right now and that everyone experiences these feelings at some point in their life.
Finally, celebrate small wins. It is important and it helps us stay motivated throughout the learning process when we celebrate small wins along the way. Like singing that song you have been practicing – record it, and send it to your family, and friends. You will be surprised to hear back from them and how tough you have been to yourself.
I always look at how long I have come from when I started, or from last week. Sometimes, I call my mother and play that song that I have been practicing. She tells me how well I am playing. Find that support group among your friends and family. They will help you see your accomplishments and keep you motivated as you continue on your journey.
No matter how difficult or overwhelming the learning process may seem, it’s important to remember that everyone has gone through similar struggles and experienced self-doubt at some point during the journey. The key is staying positive and motivated by validating our feelings, knowing we’re not alone in our struggle, and celebrating every small win along the way! With this mindset, anyone can become an expert on any given topic with enough practice and dedication.

Next time you need to learn something new, use these techniques. By breaking down the task into small, manageable steps and then teaching it to someone else, you can quickly gain a deep understanding of the material. And this is a blueprint for you to adjust and make it your own.
What other methods have you used to efficiently learn new things? Share your tips in the comments below!

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In part 4 of this journey, we look at how Consistency and Retention Strategies can help your learning growth.

The Power of Consistency and Discipline
We all have goals we want to achieve. But sometimes it can feel like a daunting task even when you know where to start. You need motivation and discipline to create sustained success in the long run. Let’s talk about why consistency and discipline are important, and how they can help you reach your goal. The foundation of any successful goal is having a strong “why” behind it; finding out why you want to do something is the first step in reaching that goal. Your “why” should be bigger than just yourself and should make you excited for the journey ahead. Having a clear understanding of why your goal matters will help you stay motivated when things get hard.
When I started playing the guitar, I did two things. Once I placed the guitar on a stand in my office, so I can just turn and pick it up and strum it; and two, I would make sure I do pick it up, every day, multiple times a day. In the current world where we all have limited time and patience, we easily give up. Sometimes we give up when we tackle something hard.
Motivation is great, but it won’t always be there – that’s why discipline is so important in achieving success. It’s like building muscle; the more victories you have on days where motivation is lacking, the stronger your ability to handle those days will become. And if you mess up one day, don’t let it derail all your progress – one mistake shouldn’t define your success or failure. Consistency and discipline are about embracing mistakes as part of the learning process, and using them as an opportunity for growth!
Another key element to reaching success with consistency and discipline is having a plan that works for your lifestyle and schedule. Make sure that whatever plan you come up with fits into your daily routine – this way it will be easier for you to stick with it in the long run! It can also help if you break down larger goals into smaller chunks; this will allow you to track your progress more easily, making each task more manageable along the way.
Consistency and discipline are essential when working towards any goal – big or small! Find out what drives you, break down larger goals into smaller tasks, create a plan that works for you, and use mistakes as an opportunity for growth! With consistency and discipline by your side, anything can be achieved!

Improve Your Retention and Learning Abilities
Retention is an important part of learning; it allows us to remember information and use it to our advantage. However, it can be difficult to retain information if we don’t have the right strategies in place. Let us look at three strategies that you can use to improve your retention and learning abilities.
The first strategy is doing a cursory pass of learning – it could be watching a video from start to finish, going over the notes from your class, or just looking at all the chords, and progressions from your guitar instructor. Go from start to finish without any distractions. Get an understanding of the material, which will make it easier for us to retain the information later on. This helps you understand what are you learning.
Take a break, and start the next step in the process. And this time, taking copious notes while watching the video. I also read them aloud in my voice; it helps me internalize the concepts. Or when I write in my hand, I tend to learn more quickly.
The second strategy is to practice as much as possible. Practicing helps you solidify your knowledge by giving you hands-on experience with the material. If you’re trying to learn something new, try practicing it as often as possible until you feel comfortable with it. This will help ensure that you not only understand the concept but also have a better chance of retaining it in the future.
The third strategy is repetition. Repetition helps us commit information more firmly into our memory because we are constantly revisiting and reinforcing it. If you want to make sure that you remember something, try repeating it multiple times throughout your day or week so that it sticks with you better over time.
By implementing these three strategies—watching tutorial videos, practicing as much as possible, and repetition—you can significantly improve your retention and learning abilities. These tactics will help ensure that you remember what you learn more easily and can use it effectively going forward. So why not give them a try today? You may just surprise yourself at how much easier retaining new information becomes!

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In part 3 of this journey, we look at advantages of a Distraction Free Space and Setting Realistic Goals for yourself in your learning journey.

Distraction Free Space
It’s no surprise that distractions are a major hindrance to our productivity. Whether it’s the urge to check our phones, notifications from social media, or even simple things like leaving the window open and hearing cars go by, distractions can have a huge effect on our ability to focus and learn.
Removing distractions is important because it allows us to focus on one task at a time. When we try to multitask, we end up jumping from task to task without completing any of them. This results in wasted time and energy that could have been better spent focusing on just one task at a time. Additionally, when we are constantly bombarded with distractions, our concentration decreases over time and it becomes harder for us to focus on what matters most.
The first step in removing distractions is being aware of them. Our smartphones are smart enough to give us that weekly summary of how we spend our time on our phones. I encourage you to check it out. See how much time you spend on social media, productivity, or entertainment apps. They are important, but be aware of them. Spend some time analyzing what triggers your distraction; are notifications popping up on your phone? The sound of people talking outside? Once you identify these triggers, you can work towards eliminating them or finding ways around them. Most phones nowadays allow you to have focus options when you are driving and sleeping. Create your custom focus options for learning (and even one called work). Configure it so you do get notifications when sent by your VIPs. Silence everything else. If noise distracts you, invest in noise-canceling headphones or close the windows in your study area. There are many options available in the market, and I use them often.
The second step is setting boundaries for yourself – both physical and mental boundaries – so that you can protect yourself from getting distracted easily. Make sure that the environment around you helps you stay focused. For example, I also turn off applications or even turn off secondary monitors for my home office setup and avoid activities that will take away from my concentration.
Removing distractions and setting boundaries are key elements of optimizing learning processes for many individuals today. By being aware of potential triggers and taking intentional steps towards eliminating those triggers (or finding ways around them), we can create environments where optimal learning takes place without interruption or distraction from outside sources. Even if it takes a while, I can tell you, you will be able to train your mind to get there.

Setting Realistic Goals
It can be overwhelming at times, but if you take the time to set realistic goals for yourself, you can break down bigger objectives into manageable steps that will help you feel productive and satisfied with your progress. Let’s look at how taking small steps can help you reach big goals.
The first step in setting realistic goals is to start small. Instead of setting an exorbitant goal like reading five hours a day, break it down into smaller chunks such as reading for 30 minutes every morning. This way, you can focus on making incremental progress without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by a huge goal that seems impossible to achieve. Starting small also helps build confidence and momentum as you start accomplishing your daily tasks, which will encourage and motivate you to keep going until the larger goal is reached.
Another important factor when setting realistic goals is flexibility. Not everything will always go according to plan and there will be days when things don’t work out as expected. When this happens, don’t beat yourself up; instead, adjust your goals accordingly so that they are still achievable within the timeframe you have set for yourself (or even earlier). This will help prevent burnout while still keeping you on track toward reaching your objectives. Don’t be afraid to take a break, clear your he because that is equally important (we will cover that in the Mental Health post).
Finally, stay motivated! Remind yourself why these goals are important and what the result will bring when they are achieved—this could range from improving your job prospects or gaining new skillsets—and celebrate each milestone along the way no matter how small it may seem. Staying positive and focused on what lies ahead, not only will it make reaching those bigger goals easier but it will also give you something to look forward to each day!
Setting realistic goals is key to staying productive and motivated throughout the day/ week/ month etc. Start small by breaking down larger objectives into manageable tasks that won’t overwhelm or discourage you too much. Be flexible when things don’t go according to plan and adjust your goals accordingly so that they remain achievable within a certain timeline or even earlier! Finally, stay motivated by reminding yourself why these goals are important and celebrating each milestone no matter how small it may seem. With these tips in mind, turning big ideas into reality can be simpler than ever before! I set a goal of reading for 60 minutes throughout the day. It can happen in the morning, or late in the evening, or it could be 10 minutes spread throughout the day.

JPS Nagi
January12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In this post we will explore the idea of Creating Time and Having a Structure or a Learning Plan.
Create Time
The very first thing you need to learn anything new is time. Some of us have a lot of time, while others have no time throughout the day. However, if you look at it, you may be able to find a little bit of time here and there. And you should be very cautious about giving because you are not getting any of it back – protect it at all costs.
I (used to) have a very short commute to work, and I enjoy reading. I combined the two and started listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work. most of the time, I would even come home for lunch. So roughly four 10-minute trips a day, means that I would have read for 40 minutes every day (an hour if you like to listen at 1.5x speed).
Find time, even if it is a small amount, in between meetings, during lunch hour, and spend it on what you wish to learn. In the beginning, those small 10 minutes may not seem a lot, but I was finishing a short book every week, and a long one in 2 weeks, by just listening on weekdays.

Have a Structure or a Plan
When it comes to learning something new, structure is your friend.
Something I learned the hard way when I started to learn to play guitar. Having not even touched one before, I started watching multiple YouTube videos for beginner guitar players. I was not making progress, and there was a reason for that. First, I was moving from one teacher to the other and each tutorial video approaches learning differently. I was moving from one method to the other. Second, having learned a couple of chords, what was the next chord to learn? There was no structure in my learning.
A structured approach will give you direction and focus, helping you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed by too much information. Having guidance from an expert in the field also means that you are more likely to learn the material correctly from the beginning, which will save time and effort when building on what you’ve learned later on down the line. Additionally, having someone else provide structure for you in terms of assignments and deadlines can help keep you motivated and accountable for your progress, as well as give you a sense of accomplishment as you work through each step in the process. This can be especially helpful if your goal is to learn something quickly; breaking up the process into manageable chunks with clear milestones makes it easier to stay focused and motivated while working towards your end goal.
The way to fix that is to either find a professional or a guide, who can help provide a structure. If you are going to use something like YouTube, then find a single learning source and just follow through with that. In my case, if I would have followed only one of the guitar teachers, that would have given me the structure I needed to make better progress. I got myself a guitar instructor and he provided me with the structure I made more progress in the first week with him than I had in a month learning on my own.

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023

How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction

Learning something new can be intimidating. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start or how to approach the task of mastering a new skill. There is an efficient way to get started that often yields fast results. In this piece, I have outlined how I learn a new skill, and many times what I have not done before.

As soon as the pandemic hit, I got a sense that we are in this for a while. Like so many others, I felt boxed in. The boundaries of work and life were getting fuzzy. I missed that human connection with my colleagues and friends. I saw my kids also feeling down in the new world order. I sat down and created a list of everything that I wanted to do, to learn if I had the time. That list had close to 27 different items, like learning to play guitar, how to draw or paint, learning and master unique recipes, learning to read and write Tengwar, and starting to write my book. I did accomplish some of the items from that list. Along the way, I started to find the commonalities between various items on my list. Which can be seen as a blueprint for my learning and growth journey. I have used this as a blueprint often when I tackle the next thing I am going to learn.

Come with me on a journey on how to learn almost anything.

Links to all 5 parts in this series
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 1 of 5 – Introduction
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 2 of 5 – Time & Plan
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 3 of 5 – Space & Goals
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 4 of 5 – Consistency & Retention
How to Learn Almost Anything, Part 5 of 5 – Mind

JPS Nagi
January 12, 2023