My learning hacks with Structure Guru David Stiernholm

David Stiernholm is truly an inspiring person. He travels Sweden to do some +100 talks on productivity. He has written two bestselling books. He writes a great, weekly, newsletter. All of this while making sure he spends time with his family.

He has also published a great course on goalsetting and a much appreciated course on email etiquette.

Today we talk to him about smart ways to make room for learning. What we call “learning hacks”.

Do you use any hacks or strategies to learn new things?

Yes, I definitely do. Whenever I want learn something and practice so that I become really good at it, such as a new talk that I am about to give, I use a method that I call “Five unrelenting paper clips”.

I actually got it from a trumpeter friend that I met when we both serviced in the Swedish Army Band in the early nineties. When practicing a particularly difficult passage in a music piece, he kept ten marbles in his right pocket.

Each time he succeeded in playing the passage perfectly, he moved one marble from his right pocket to his left. If he made a mistake — even the slightest — he had to move all the marbles from the left pocket back to the right. When all ten marbles were in his left pocket, he had mastered the passage well enough.

I do exactly the same, but with paper clips that I move from the right side of my computer to the left. And, I think five is enough.

The method is quite harsh and demanding, I think. But, the point is that it works brilliantly.

How can people reading this do to use this method?

Whenever you want to master something that is tricky, get yourself five really unrelenting paper clips (email me if you want tips of where to find them).

I think five paper clips will do, but if you are as ambitious as my trumpeter friend, you can of course choose to use ten instead.

Check out all of David’s courses here.