How To Improve Analytical Skills For Processing Information

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Being able to take a critical look at situations in your life and make a calculated decision is an invaluable skill for anybody. Because, while following your heart can lead to happiness at times, logic is often the best way to make decisions.

Here are 13 easy ways to train your brain in analytical skills and process information more effectively.

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How to Train Your Mind for Analytical Thinking​ analytical skills

How can we prepare our brains for analytical thinking during our free time? Here are a few ways.

Join Online Communities

Consorting with people who have radically different opinions about an issue that you do is one of the best ways to train your mind to think analytically. And joining online forums where people from all different walks of life come together to discuss hot-button issues is the best way to do that.

We’re not talking about the conversations you might be having with friends on your Facebook feed, or even the public forums in the fan groups you’re a part of because those channels aim to bring together people with the same viewpoints.

Instead, we are talking about online communities specifically geared towards bringing together disparate groups for civilized debates.

Learn Something New Every Day

Make it your mission to learn at least one new thing every day.

And no, something about what’s going on in your friend’s life doesn’t count. We mean an objective fact that will help you to understand how the world works.

The reason this is such a valuable habit has more to do with training your mind to pick up these sorts of facts than with the facts themselves. Being an encyclopedia of random factoids is a bonus too, but gaining an ingrained tendency to pick up detail is a huge benefit for analytical thinkers.

Play Board Games

There are a ton of entertaining but highly analytical board games on the market these days, from old standbys like chess and backgammon to newer, highly thematic experiences like Avalon and Great Western Trail.

These games are excellent tools for learning how to fully assess a situation to make the most sound decision possible. As a bonus, they’re also fun and are a great way to spend quality time with your family or friends.

Listen to Podcasts

Download a mobile podcast client to gain free access to thousands and thousands of long-running shows. Find a few thought-provoking ones that suit your interests, and listen while you’re commuting or doing chores.

Many podcasts focus on groundbreaking ideas and topics that will broaden your mental horizons. Focus on those, and you’ll gain thousands of hours of free content that will really help build analytical thinking skills.

Keep A Journal

Putting your day down on paper before it comes to a close helps you to analyze it, reason what you could have done differently, and ultimately build your own skills.

Studies show that practicing a skill just before sleep has a greater effect than practicing in the middle of the day, so make sure your daily journal reflections are done right before lights out.

Read

Reading books is perhaps the most straightforward way to expose yourself to novel ideas and unfamiliar situations. This is especially true with non-fiction, so check out our lists of best non-fiction titles, best self-love titles, and most inspirational books.

Join an Intellectual Group

Learning analytical skills at home is one thing, but doing it in a large group is quite another. It brings a practical element to the experience that you can’t get from a podcast or a book or even a board game.

Social gatherings are also an excellent way to meet new people and make friends as an adult. Check out an app like Meetup to find some that are right for you.

Exercise

Regular exercise benefits nearly every aspect of a person’s lifestyle and well-being, including their analytical thinking skills.

Just taking a 30-minute walk in the park or playing a spur-of-the-moment game of badminton with a friend once a day can make all the difference in the world when it comes to any of your mental faculties.

How to Process Information Analytically

When faced with new information, here are some tips we can keep in mind to help us process it analytically and make rational decisions.

Don’t Assume analytical skills

Assumptions kill unbiased analysis, which is the foundation for rational thought.

Go into any new topic with an open mind, not assuming anything.

Understand the Root Cause

Instead of focusing only on end results, focus on the processes that led to those results.

For example, do not accept an order unless you understand why it is being made. What is the reasoning behind it?

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Contest What’s Being Said

In your head, you should try to poke holes in the logic of whatever is being said. Even if you agree with it, you should try and identify why some people might not. You might also end up changing your mind.

Try to Think Creatively analytical skills

Try to do things in a way you would not normally do them. Don’t make things needlessly complicated, but ask yourself how you would typically react to something and try to approach it from a different angle.

Ask Questions analytical skills

There’s nothing wrong with asking a lot of questions.

For some reason, a lot of adults think that asking “why?” and “what makes you think that?” shows weakness and that they should just listen and understand intuitively, or at least try to. This is a flawed way of thinking because not asking questions is the best way to miss out on valuable information that can facilitate analytical thinking.

A logical thinker will beat out an emotional thinker in 99% of significant organizational and business decisions. Start improving your skills today to get a huge leg up in these parts of your life.

FOR A SLIGHTLY MORE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THE TOPIC, CHECK OUT THE TED-ED VIDEO ABOVE!

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