From AD: How to efficiently & quickly dice onions. There’s no magic trick to it, but just knowing the correct technique has made a big difference.
AD studied hotel management at under graduate level, and knows his stuff.
From SD: How to solve a Rubik cube. He lent me his old unused cube and shared a video with the step by step instructions. I’ve gone from taking over an hour to just under 20 mins.
SD solves his cube in under 3 minutes, with a PB of about 1’30”. He knows his stuff.
From Sis: How to hang woollens in shallow British closets without the arms hanging out and pushing the door open. Invert the arms so they hang inside the sweater/jacket/hoodie. This reduces the width of the garment, helping it fit comfortably in the shallow closets.
I use one. R uses three. I’ve always been on her case for using three pillows.
The boy has learnt from her, and then left her behind.
Then there’s me.
I’m not allowed, by R, to put dishes in the dishwasher. She has her method of placing the dishes, and I apparently mess it up.
I’ve been trained to rinse the dishes and place them on the kitchen top above the dishwasher. She puts them in later.
Last night I cleared the sink after dinner and placed the dishes above the dishwasher. Took me a moment to realise that she’s been in India for a couple of days, and I am allowed to put the dishes in while she’s away. My training has been thorough.
To confuse the anthropomorphizing further, my dog learns better than me, while I’m trained better than him!
David Epstein’s book Range educated me on the value of interleaving and spacing for better learning. (Chapter: Learning fast and slow)
One of the places I immediately applied it is in my daily Spanish lessons on Duolingo.
Previously I used to start with one skill in Duolingo, say present perfect, and then complete it from start to finish. I only moved to the next skill once the previous skill was golden, or on the rare occasion when I gave up on it for being too hard.
The screen looked like the one on the left: all golds above the current skill.
Now I have six skills in progress at the same time. Every day I complete just one test from at least three of them. The next day I start with the other three. If I want to practice more, I use the dumbbell button in the bottom right—it tests me randomly from any of the dozens of skills I have already completed.
This mixing provides me with a bit of range. Each test daily is from a different skill; any skill reappears only after 48 hours; forcing me to remember, forcing more mistakes, and, hopefully, resulting in better learning.
Typing speed increases if there’s no feedback from the input (looking at keyboard) and output (looking at the screen).¶
I’ve been taking book notes of recently read books. While taking notes I realised that I type fastest when I look at neither the screen nor the keyboard.
When looking at just the book, I let my muscle memory (training) take over and get the fastest typing speed. There are a few errors—typos—but the writing speed makes up for them.
Looking at the screen is the next fastest mode of typing. It is probably slower when I’m copying text from the book since I have to constantly switch between the two, specially because I have to locate the cursor in the book every time. It is also slower because any typos are apparent immediately and create a dissonance hurdle in the brain, slowing it down.
Looking at the keyboard while typing is the slowest. The brain skips a lot of the muscle memory, or tries to reconfirm it, and tries to look for keys before typing. It may cause the least mistakes but is really, really slow.
Seems like a few other sharp minds have been thinking on the same lines. Here’s a post in the Financial Times discussing research on similar lines, but addressing impact of disruption by Brexit. Here’s their list of languages, though I recommend you read the full post: