Thanks for sharing! The art of learning to learn is strengthened by sharing observations about struggles. Even people who are already “good” at learning continue refine the struggles in their learning technique.
Motivation and technique are indeed the bread and butter of learning in my view! I’ll share some of my ideas
Smaller is better I think when I was younger, even when I loved learning something, I would “overdo it” and try to fit too much in at once. Now I find no matter how much I want to keep studying, taking even a 20-30 second break every 10 minutes keeps me from burning out. It also helps me realize if my mind is getting stuck on something silly. A 5-minute break every hour is also highly recommended, a twenty minute every 3hrs, etc (you can fine tune this as you try different ratios).
Start with what you care about It’s usually easier to study things that are engaging. Studying things that are “heavy” will take more energy. I’ll usually split my study sessions into 20 minutes of something I care about, 20 minutes of something dull, and back. (The times actually vary but 20 minutes is a good chunk often)
Celebrate the small victories It’s easy to see so many other talented people and be overwhelmed by how fast they seem to progress… Until one realizes, they all had to do it slow at one point, and we all get there at different points. Great knowledge is built from the collection of small fundamental understandings tied together. So that’s why every time I pick up even a fraction of something new, I try to think: this is going to add up!
Be around people and places that inspire you and bring out better things in you It doesn’t have to be in the same discipline of study, or about study at all. But people that have attributes that make you feel more empowered really do make a difference. Even watching a video of someone doing something that sparks something positive is a way to feed your motivation. Moreover, if you have a flow of conversations happening with these type of people, they can often make you realize you already have most of the tools you need to tackle your struggles.
Take notes, but they don’t have to be on paper Good note taking is essential to getting the most out of your study. Sometimes it’s good to take notes while studying, sometimes it’s good after. I find that audio memos help me tremendously, and for certain things even video notes help me also. “Talking” a problem out while drawing it on paper is another good thing to try if you haven’t. Consider this article about benefits of talking out loud: (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/smarter-living/benefits-of-talking-to-yourself-self-talk.html)