Analytical skills allow us to digest information and communicate it to others. These skills are critical in both our professional and personal lives, so how can we better cultivate them? Here are nine ways to improve your analytical skills, and some of them are even fun!
- Play games. We played games all the time as children, but chances are you do less of that as an adult. Games sharpen our problem solving and strategic thinking skills to boost analytical function. Card games, sudoku, scrabble, and puzzles are all great options.
- Commit to lifelong learning. Graduation should not be the end of our quest for knowledge. Practicing skills like reading, researching, writing, and teaching all sharpen analytical capabilities. Find something new to dive into and educate yourself on.
- Find a data mentor. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone more skilled than you for tips. This could be a colleague or friend. Ask them about their strategies for data comprehension and then put their tips into practice.
- Take classes. Data analysis classes are a great way to dive deeper into the nitty-gritty of understanding large data sets. They can teach you concrete skills about using technology and your own mind to better understand information.
- Ask questions. Seeking clarification when you don’t understand something is a great way to learn something new and make sure you’re on the same page at work. Seeking information from others is also a great way to nuance and challenge your own beliefs.
- Don’t be afraid of debate. It can be uncomfortable to discuss with someone who doesn’t share your opinion, but having a respectful debate about the subject engages your brain’s creativity and can open your mind up to new viewpoints.
- Observe more than you speak. Watch how your peers handle tasks and achieve their goals. Observing the strategies of others is far more educational than ordering them to subscribe to one way of doing things.
- Read as much as you can. Being analytical means being a critical thinker. Reading material across many genres – fiction, nonfiction, journalism, research – teaches you to absorb and process information.
- Journal daily. Journaling allows us to process the events and thoughts of our daily lives. It can help you understand topics better and gain a more well-rounded view of how you and those around you interpret information and tasks. You will probably be surprised to learn new things about yourself as your journal!
Analytical skills are vital for maintaining a thorough and organized understanding of the information we learn and process on a daily basis. Try some of these strategies to sharpen your own analytical skills and reap the benefits in your professional and personal endeavors.