The secret to success and accomplishing a lot within a single day is to constantly stimulate your brain with new skills. Productivity and the art of learning go hand in hand. As you continue to pick up new abilities, you’ll find it easier to accomplish more—and that’s a scientifically proven fact.

The inverse is also true. Check out the results of this study published by the National Centers for Biotechnology Information. They reveal how it is possible to enhance your learning skills with the right techniques. When you’re interested in a new skill to help your professional life, here are seven of the most effective productivity hacks you can use:

1. Choose a Program that You Feel Passionate About

Investing your time and effort into mastering a new skill works only if it’s something that interests you. Taking up courses that help you earn more—writing code, for example—works only if the idea of creating new applications excites you. Or, if you’re thinking of learning to paint, take it up only if you love the prospect of giving life to your imagination. The fact remains that you’re likely to follow through with the required effort only if you see yourself using the skills to achieve something you’re passionate about. It’s the simplest, and possibly the most effective, productivity hack.

2. Adopt the Necessary Tools to Help You Succeed

Whatever course you choose, you’ll need study materials and assistance in prepping for the final tests. Like the experts at PocketPrep advise, sign up for web applications that help you learn by guiding you through the possible questions you might have to answer. Such apps are available on your mobile phone so you can study on the go and offer a variety of study modes. You’ll also take mock tests that explain the right solutions and denote the distractors that might confuse you into making errors. Signing up for these mobile apps ensures that you get accreditation for your new skill.

3. Create a Schedule and Allocate Time for Learning the New Skills

Once you’ve made the decision to learn new skills, make the conscious effort to find the time. Allocate 30 to 45 minutes each day toward the program. Add it to your calendar so that you remain committed. Breaking up the lessons into smaller denominations is a great productivity hack that makes the entire task feel doable. Remember, if you think about taking a week off from regular activities to complete the course, you’ll end up procrastinating and never get it done. If you do fall behind, make up for it by putting in extra time.

4. Split the New Skills into Short Steps

The first step in mastering a new skill is identifying your goals and what you hope to achieve. Do you wish to learn to code? In that case, think about why you want to learn, then create a game plan to make it happen. If you want to build websites, sign up for online courses and interactive programs to get started. But, if you’ve set your heart on developing video games, you’ll learn Unity or C#. Having mastered the language, you can move on writing programs. Like the folks at HackEDU suggest, consider learning ethical hacking skills that contribute to cybersecurity. It’s interesting work and you’ll love the fact that you’re doing something positive for the world.

5. Reward Yourself with Incentives

It’s natural to need a little extra push. Incentives and positive reinforcements work best when you promise yourself a reward each time you achieve a milestone in the ultimate goal. You could also get a friend or family member to help you track progress and keep you accountable. Or, try this productivity hack: Sign up with an online community that shares your objectives and compares notes. Interacting with other people who are learning the same skills helps you vocalize study materials and memorize them better.

6. Choose the Right Environment for Productivity

Pick out the right spot to make significant progress. If you’re studying and reading, the library may be the perfect spot without distractions. Or, maybe you like to learn in open spaces like your backyard or a secluded bench in the park. Do you need to listen to music as you learn? Put together your favorite song list, set up the headphones, and go for it. Check out this article on Entrepreneur that shows you how to build a workplace conducive to getting great results.

7. Take Breaks and Give Your Brain Time to Process the Information

This one’s for learners who have signed up for full-time courses. Studying for long hours at a time is not really helpful for memorizing and retention. Give your mind breaks so it can actually process and record the data. Get some exercise to boost blood circulation and brain function. Eat healthy meals and make sure to get plenty of sleep. It’s a proven fact that people learn better when they wake up in the morning because the mind is fresh and receptive. Repetition is the key and it helps to go over the coursework a few times. Here’s another interesting productivity hack that the experts at HuffPost swear by. Consider writing the study materials by hand using a pencil and paper to help you learn better.

Signing up for new skills or hobbies and stimulating your brain keeps you motivated and interested. You’ll find that you look forward to each day and have increased productivity levels in everything you do. Exercising your mind and body is great for keeping stress levels away and makes you feel energetic, resourceful, and in complete control of your life. Try it!