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How to Keep Focused While Learning SQL

Learning SQL can be a challenge, but it’s one you can handle! I’ve prepared 5 tips to help you stay focused during your learning journey. By choosing the right methods and tricks, you can achieve your goals!

If you’re interested in learning SQL, I bet that you are a very ambitious person who wants to constantly develop. You may even be taking your first steps in your career. I don't think I need to explain to you the obvious advantages of learning how to operate database systems; Data is everywhere, applies to everyone, and is increasing by the day. Being able to work with databases is a very desirable skill in today’s job market. You may not even realize how many times a day you deal with technologies that use databases. Read this article about SQL technologies that are more common than you think for a list of examples.

If you don’t know SQL yet (and that’s okay – SQL is not difficult to learn) or if you don't feel confident with the new skills yet, we’ll talk about what you can do to learn SQL online efficiently and painlessly.

Effective E-Learning

You can learn SQL in many ways. The global Coronavirus pandemic forced us all to work and learn remotely. There are many positives to be found in this situation: e-learning is more important than ever and courses are becoming very affordable. Still, it can be difficult to organize and remember new information in your head. Check out this article for help in avoiding common learning mistakes.

If you've read my previous articles, you probably know that I started my SQL learning adventure right here at LearnSQL.com. Their SQL A to Z track was the first online skill course I ever took. It surprised me how easy it was; I found the theory understandable, the exercises interesting, and the ability to put the theory into practice extremely helpful. Thanks to this, I learned everything very smoothly and was able to write my own SQL queries quickly.

But learning SQL is not a short journey. It's a fairly extensive language that you need to commit to learning well so you can use it successfully in the future. Here is a list of good practices that will help you learn more effectively.

5 Ultimate Tips to Stay Focus while Learning

1. Find the Right Environment

This point is quite vague, so I will break it into smaller parts.

First, make sure that the environment you are learning in – whether it's an office, a kitchen, a bedroom, etc. – is neat and clean. Unnecessary clutter will distract you. Make sure that your Temple of Learning contains only necessary objects. When learning SQL, it's good to equip yourself with a computer or tablet, a notebook, a few pens, a highlighter and a positive mood – you won't need anything else!

Secondly, make sure you don't get distracted by sounds from your environment. You can use headphones or ask your family or roommates not to disturb you. Turn off the radio and TV and set your phone to silent mode. This practice will help you escape to the World of Learning SQL and properly focus on the task at hand!

How to Keep Focused While Learning SQL

Thirdly, get comfortable. Studies show that knowledge is most efficiently absorbed at temperatures between 68 to 77 Fahrenheit (20 and 25 degrees Celsius). I guess you don't want to learn while freezing or when melting from the heat. If you can, set the thermostat to the right level, ventilate the room before studying, turn on the heating or air conditioning – whatever you need to bring your learning space to the most favorable conditions.

2. Create the Right Mental Energy

In a previous article, I wrote about the beneficial effect of music on concentration. But wait a minute… didn’t I just tell you to turn off the radio and get rid of distractions? Touche! 🤺

The reason I recommend eliminating radio and TV is simple: words distract. The content of advertisements, messages, comments, and any dialog will distract your attention from your task. Some people learn most effectively when they have background music, but remember that we don’t want unnecessary distractions. Therefore, instrumental versions of your favorite tracks will be an ideal choice for study music.

And before learning, I encourage you to... dance. Seriously! Physical activity stimulates blood circulation and improves the flow of oxygen in the body. Crank up your favorite song and move a bit! Since I'm not a world-famous ballerina, I prefer to do this alone.

How to Keep Focused While Learning SQL

Source: gifer.com

Dance, sing, clap your hands and shake! Inflate with energy and a positive mindset. Try to rid yourself of thoughts that can bother you during your studies. This will help you stay focused once you've moved to your workspace!

3. Prepare a Checklist

Planning is a very useful skill, especially for the learning process. You can plan everything from when you’ll study to taking time out for coffee breaks. Whichever study method you choose, its basis will always be effective time management.

Plan how much time during the day, week, and month you'll spend learning new skills. It can be 30 minutes a day – it's not about learning hard for hours, it's about learning wisely and systematizing your new knowledge. If you spend 30 minutes each day learning a new topic for a month, you’ll achieve much better results than spending a whole day each week.

So, let’s do some math.

On average, we have 30 days a month, right? 30 minutes a day is equivalent to 900 minutes, or 15 hours of maximum effective learning per month. This might draw out the teaching process a bit, but it keeps your knowledge fresh. Can you imagine what would happen if your learning time was extended to, say, 2 hours a day? You could achieve four times as much, learn SQL four times faster, get four times as much information per month.

Encouraging, right?

Plan your day accurately. Include things like walking your dog or calling your best friend. Go into detail; plan everything you are going to spend time on when learning and set the scope you want to master for each day.

How to Keep Focused While Learning SQL

A checklist will help you stay focused, regardless of how much time you can commit each day. Plan exactly how much time you want to spend learning SQL in a state of absolute focus. I recommend putting the list on your desk as a reminder of why you're doing this. A nice motivational sentence wouldn't hurt, either!

Finally, reward yourself. Set milestones and an appropriate reward you can have for completing it. A chocolate bar for hitting your daily targets? Buying a new computer game if you meet your targets every day for a week? You know what will satisfy you the most!

4. Take Notes and Practice

Anything that is composed of a lot of separate parts can be difficult to remember. Taking notes makes the task easier and helps you arrange the knowledge you acquire. And you can refer to what you have recorded whenever you need it! While learning SQL, take advantage of our basic SQL, window functions, and JOIN cheat sheets.

It’s also a good practice to prepare some cheat sheets of your own if you prefer. When preparing cheat sheets, you put new knowledge in your head in the most accessible form. Why? Because cheat sheets can’t be too long. It should take seconds to find the information. Your notes are just like hyperlinks – seeing a shortcut, a short sentence, or an example query, your mind automatically remembers what it refers to. Notes mean you remember things that you would not normally remember.

You can also use helpful tools like LearnSQL.com’s SQL Cookbooks. This isn’t school; you’re not cheating if you look up information. This practice is an efficient way to increase your competence, so don’t be afraid to apply it. It will definitely make it easier to work on your projects.

Finally, write SQL queries! You can’t learn if you don’t practice them. Our courses have practice exercises built into them, but you can also create your own. Just get writing! Here are 12 ways to practice SQL and advice on how to practice SQL on your own that you can use once you’re familiar with the language.

5. Invest in a Healthy Diet

Learning SQL – or learning any skill from scratch – requires proper mental and physical preparation. I mentioned doing a little bit of physical activity before an intensive learning session, but I did not mention the importance of good nutrition.

Superfoods have a beneficial effect on your thought processes as well as your diet. Try skipping heavy, rich dishes before your lesson; their digestion takes a long time and can affect your well-being. They’ll make you feel sluggish, which will lower your productivity. Instead, choose low-processed foods, vegetables, fruit, and lean meat (preferably fish and chicken) prepared without unnecessary amounts of fat.

And don't forget about hydration. Keep some cool, fresh water handy to nourish your body when you feel tired. It is scientifically proven your efficiency decreases if you’re not drinking enough water. Your body is predominantly composed of H2O, which is responsible for proper functioning – especially when intellectual effort is at stake!

If you want to know more about this, check out Jakub’s article on how to stay healthy while learning SQL.

E-Learning is a Blessing, Not a Curse

With e-learning, you can choose from interactive training, online lectures, or a plan-your-own adventure through hundreds of Google search results. But you can also use professional e-learning courses that will lead you through acquiring a new skill.

How to Keep Focused While Learning SQL

With online courses, you can learn nearly anything you want. The only things you need are the Internet, a device, a cup of good coffee or tea, and some motivation.

Learn SQL with Us!

If you haven't used any of the tracks available in LearnSQL.com yet, you may not know how great (and affordable!) they are.

First of all, they were created so that you can start from scratch. For me, communicating with databases was complicated at first; I felt like I was dealing with some kind of space technology. I was afraid to start, despite feeling very motivated; I was worried that I couldn’t cope, wouldn’t understand the lessons, would just waste my time. My first approach to the course was chaotic. I did not take notes; I approached learning casually, without the proper preparation.

Now I have successfully completed the course and can say I know SQL, I approach learning differently. I hope that with the help of these 5 tips you will be able to maintain more focus and assimilate knowledge faster than I did. If someone had told me how to hit the ground running at the beginning of my e-learning journey, I would have felt much more confident.

Remember – learning SQL just seems difficult at first. Try to overcome your fears and believe that you can do it – because that's the truth. If you've learned to walk, drive a car, or talk, then learning SQL is within your reach.

I believe in you. Start learning now!

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