In such fast-paced working environments, having high-level analytical abilities is an absolute must. Employees are expected to think on their feet, solve problems and analyze data in real-time. We’ve put together a list of 10 ways to improve analytical skills.
To do all these things and achieve professional success, it’s in a person’s best interest to continuously seek ways to improve.
Here we’ve listed 10 ways to improve analytical skills. and, as a result, not just improve your career but also create greater efficiency in all areas of your life.
1. Read More Frequently
A good way to start expanding your analytical skills is through the power of the written word. Indeed, the more you expose yourself to different ideas, the more you’ll increase your own cognitive abilities. The trick, however, is to not skim over pages.
When reading a book, magazine or article, you should think about the overall plot, take note of each character in the story and think about other possible scenarios. This will stimulate deep thinking and force you to test your logic and broaden your imagination. All of which strengthen your mind’s ability to think analytically.
2. Listen to Podcasts
If you commute to work daily and spend hours behind the wheel, this is an exceptional portion of time to activate brainpower. Thought-provoking podcasts increase your critical thinking skills while on the road. And, if you happen to be in a highly competitive industry, podcasts are a great way to stay up to date on current happenings.
Podcasts? There’s an app for that! These days it seems the boom in podcast hosts is peaking. There is huge exposure available to opinions and expert advice in just about all industries.
A few good podcasts worth listening to include Developer Tea, Broken Brain, Applying Awareness and TED Radio Hour, all of which will offer useful tips for stimulating creativity and challenging your thoughts and ideas. All of which, ultimately, help you enhance mental capacity.
With everything we’ve learned about exercise in modern times, it’s no stretch to understand that moving the body is good for the mind.
The type of exercise you choose to do is entirely up to you, but taking a tai chi or Zumba class might be a good idea. You will need to memorize steps and sequences as well as focus on executing them in a controlled manner, effectively challenging both your analytical thinking skills and your physical stamina.
4. Play Brain Games
Brain games like Sudoku, chess, backgammon, and Scrabble can help expand your critical thinking skills. It’s true, just 15 minutes a day of playtime can increase your mental stimulation and improve your analytical skills.
Bonus points: The best part is that they are fun and they can be used as bonding experiences.
So, instead of sitting in front of the TV all evening, play a brain game with your family and monitor your improvement over time. And if you can’t get anyone to play with you, don’t worry: ask google about Lumosity. It has plenty of brain games designed to encourage your thinking.
5. Surround Yourself with Different Personalities
If you socialize in a small circle, you’ll most likely discuss the same topics day in and day out.
Although it’s not bad to have a tight-knit group, it’s important to surround yourself with people that you wouldn’t normally socialize with. These are the people that will spark your imagination and offer you a new and different perspective.
If you’re not sure where to meet different people, start by attending networking events and engaging with everyone you meet there. You’ll be surprised by the effect that others can have on your analytical abilities.
6. Learn Something New Every Day
After graduating from high school or university, most people become passive when it comes to testing themselves and learning new things. Once we are comfortable in our careers and know what we are good at it, we tend to put a pause on learning.
Try to learn something new every day; whether it’s a feature on your phone or a new recipe, it’s essential to keep testing yourself and gaining new skills.
7. Take an Online Course
This could be a short LinkedIn or Udemy course! It doesn’t need to be extensive. Try to take courses in subjects that you aren’t very familiar with or good at. For example, not many people are born Excel gurus, but with time and dedication, you can master the use of formulas and cells and become an Excel expert yourself.
The point is to expand your knowledge and challenge yourself with topics you don’t have any prior experience in.
8. Join a Book Club
We mentioned earlier that reading is a great way to increase cognitive abilities, but why not take it one step further by joining a book club?
You’ll not only be engaged in stories that you wouldn’t usually take a second look at but also challenge your thinking by analyzing the book and discussing it with fellow club members. You’ll also hear a different perspective and make new friends in the process!
9. Ask Questions
Curiosity drives us to be more motivated, intelligent and creative. The questions that we ask encourage us to pursue different outlets and methods, forcing us to compare what we previously thought and come to a logical solution. So, when you’re next interested in a topic, don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, the more knowledge you soak up, the better your analytical skills will become.
10. Be Observant
When you’re observant, you tend to notice more around you, and this sparks your critical thinking. We often focus on getting things done quickly rather than slowing down and focusing on the details. But it’s important to take time to watch how others behave; doing so might even help you find new methods of dealing with any problems you might face.