Update 18th Jul 2020

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You’ll have heard this old adage before, but when it comes to working faster does it also hold true? Let’s take a look at whether increasing your knowledge will turn you into another one of those people that we all know who seem to glide through the working day without a trouble in the world.

What is Knowledge?

The first thing to know is that knowledge and intelligent are two distinct things. Knowledge is the amount of information that you store in your brain and can access when and where you need it. Intelligence is your ability to assimilate new information, interpret it, and apply it. Clearly they often go hand in hand, but it’s important to realise that this blog isn’t simply telling you that you can work more efficiently if you just suddenly make yourself smarter. That would be a neat trick but very hard to do!

How Does Knowledge Help?

The great thing about having a broad base of knowledge is that you never know when you’ll need to call upon it to help you solve a problem. The more you know, the more links you’ll be able to make between concepts you’re familiar with and brand new ones you’re only just coming across. You’ll be able to explain things, both to other people and to yourself, in the form of analogies and comparisons which allow you to establish a foothold on the latest problem your boss has asked you to tackle. This will allow you to get off to a faster start than you otherwise would have.

How To Improve Your Knowledge

The tricky part is that you never quite know what you’ll need to tackle future projects and assignments. If you were to spend hour after hour studying your specialism then that would help, but you’d be closing your knowledge base off dramatically from a whole load of extra tools that may come in useful in the future. The secret is to build your knowledge gradually over a period of months and years. You never know what you’ll need, so think of your knowledge base like a tool box. If you were being sent to repair something you’d never seen you would take as many various tools as you could, not 30 types of screwdriver and nothing else. This is a nice way of thinking of the difference between broad and specific knowledge bases.

Accept You’ll Never Know it All

We all meet those people who seem to literally know everything under the sun, but they have a secret you probably haven’t realised yet: they don’t know that much more than you. They’ve obviously worked hard to establish an impressively broad level of knowledge, but with that effort comes a lack of time to become an expert in every area. This is something you’ll need to accept, and actually I think it is something you should really embrace. By having a little knowledge about a lot of things you’re giving your brain a warmup should it ever need to look at one of those areas in more detail.

Be interested in the world around you, learn little and often, and you’ll be amazed at how often your newfound knowledge comes in handy. 

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