The less we learn, the more we resist learning.
An accomplished law professional who needs to take her GRE has still not managed to hire a tutor because she’s shy of her dated math skills. Another entrepreneur struggled to navigate a Facebook Page despite reading the instructions.
So many more career women we encounter never get around to expending the mental energy and time commitment it takes to acquire/ learn and absorb something new.
The question for most of us today isn’t necessarily what to learn but how.
In my mind, I’m an eager learner.
But I realized over the years that my lofty intentions were not always translating into action.
My check-list required more than desire and intention.
I might add that apart from running my own business, I volunteer, take care of a senior parent, two kids and a dog. Oh yes, there’s also cooking, cleaning, driving and the numerous other jobs that go with the work-life conundrum.
There is a disconnect for most of us between our ‘what we want to do’ and ‘what we actually do.’
There’s no dearth of learning choices today. But abundance of choice is a double-edged sword. While we are fortunate to have the infinite world in our hands, we struggle with the finiteness of time that stays contained in its day and night dance.
We all agree on the power of continued learning to stay competitive and ahead of the game. But how does one carve out time and make learning and skilling-up a part of our everyday routine?
There are three primary ways to learn: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. There is no one size fits all but there is definitely merit and smarts in knowing how certain successful individuals make time in their daily lives to incorporate learning and other passions.
Still not convinced?
Consider a scenario – a year from now. We can either be exactly where we are in terms of personal development or we can have two major and probably some minor accomplishments tucked under our belts.
So what did I do to make my learning wishes come true?
I made a checklist of things I was going to do. Then I found tools that would help me actually learn better!
5 Simple Tools: My way to productivity and to prioritize time for learning.
To learn more and better, here are a few places I found ideas and inspiration, that I have personally gained from. The thought here is to provide a spark that will ignite a fresh perspective in your outlook. Depending on your end goal, your personal motivation, your learning style and personality, I hope that at least one of these will resonate with you.
Podcast: How to learn faster. The Charged life with Brendon Burchard
This podcast is chock full of inspirational content but in terms of learning, the one lesson that resonated with me was simple – If you want to learn, first find your purpose. You can’t do everything and understanding your WHY helps you narrow it down.
How it helped me:
I listed the most pertinent things in my life right now.
Is learning Spanish really important or is it just a nice to have? More than anything, I fervently desire to upgrade my digital product design as well as business skills. Watching, reading or listening to design or business related blogs, videos and podcasts is definitely what makes me inch towards my future career goals.
Shedding the non-essentials and honing down my focus reduces the overwhelm associated with starting.
Also Read: 5 Inspiring Podcasts by Women
Blog: How to read a whole damn book every week
Simple advice by Kevin Nguyen – Quit considering reading as a precious thing.
True! That vision of me sitting by the fireside, wrapped in a blanket and reading till I grow weary might happen on a vacation, but my reality is a busy calendar to deal with, most of my working year. So, I need to recognize, steal and capitalize on under-utilized moments from my everyday.
What I took away:
I downloaded the Kindle app on my phone and now I read on the go – at the doctor’s, during commercial breaks, in the passenger seat. I also read more than one book at a time.
Also read Learn Baby Learn: Free Resources to help you grow
Book: The New Rules of Work
In Chapter 12 of this book, The new rules of productivity, the authors who are co-founders of the TheMuse
advise the 1-3-5 To-Do list exercise. You basically prioritize your daily to-dos by focusing on one big thing, three medium things, and five small things.
How I interpret it:
I bucket my everyday to-dos into Large, Medium and Small, leaving room for flexibility in the absolute specifics.
Most days, I start the beginning of the day with creative writing, video or visuals, followed by the three essential items that need to be done for running an everyday business.
I definitely schedule or sometimes even steal a few moments in the day to read and learn simply because those are non negotiables that are already penned into my small tasks list.
Also read: Fast & Focused: Micro Learning to Enrich your Skills
Visual: EisenHower Matrix
Popularized by the former US President, Dwight Eisenhower, this matrix is a simple Urgent-Important quadrant.
This is what my Sunday looks like.
How I benefit:
Better than helping me get more done, this matrix helps me eliminate unproductive habits that don’t contribute towards my overall learning goal. By forcing me to consciously identify tasks I can delegate, I regain a bit of my day for personal development.
Video: How to gain control of your time
Pause to think.
We all have busy lives and demanding jobs. What differs is our mindset.
In this arresting TED talk, Laura Vanderkam states that we each have the power to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there.
Time is a choice we make. I don’t have time often means it’s not priority. If I suddenly had to rush in the middle of the day to pick up my mom as she had a flat tire, I would do it.
How I make this work for me:
Every time a curve ball comes my way, I imagine time for the elastic cord that it is. I take a deep breath, stretch it some more and make the new things fit in, without dropping the ball on the relevant tasks.
Read: 8 TED Talks for Women at any Lifestage
In the end, every little concrete action makes a difference in our long-term goals.
Learning requires immersion, commitment and consistency. Take the time now to make it a consistent habit and change your ‘should have’ to ‘did it’.
Don’t do it someday! Do it today!
What are you learning now?
A great message needs to be told well – make it better through design!
A Designer, Entrepreneur & US Patent Holder, Aditi graduated from a top design school and subsequently started her own design and merchandising business. Co-founder at Maroon Oak, she has over 17 years of business experience with Two Dotts, her design consulting company and an Etsy store which serves as an outlet for her gifts and patented product designs.
A mother to a teen and a tween, she enjoys running, dancing and raising her newest baby, a Bichon named Miltie.
Grab her Free e-Book on Design on some of the best, easy to use Free Design Tools available to you today.
Books and podcasts are where I learn mostly but making time to do so regularly requires passion and discipline. Your post offers so many practical tools. I will check out that video.
I want to get in the habit of reading books on improving my writing skills, this post will really help me !
I agree with you we cannot stop learning need to give time to ourselves to continue learning new things and expanding our knowledge that is the best in this competitive work we live in. Thanks for the inspiration.
OMG…how I love learning and I probably make TOO much time for it! I’m always reading and doing more to better myself as a professional, educator and mom. Thanks for sharing these ideas. If I could be a professional student full time…I would do it!
I didn’t know there was such thing as a kindle app for your phone! That’s brilliant!
Unlike money, time is the most valuable commodity we have as every minute goes by and we can never turn the clock back. I truly want to maximize the time and focus of what are the things that help us improve the quality of our lives. Thanks for the post.
These are great tips. I can understand full where you are coming from hen you mentioned the homefront. Now I make daily little list to help me get to my larger to o list. I know thats alot of list but so far it has worked. I’m going to take some points from what you mentioned as well and try an incorporate them with my lists of list.
Very informative right up, time management is the need of the hour with so much work to do and so little time! How we can prioritize our work and do accordingly. Thank you for all the tips.
I love learning as much as I can get my hands on, but don’t always have the time (I know, I know). I would love to start reading more at night because it truly calms me and opens my eyes to new things – totally about prioritizing!
I used to absorb new things like a sponge when I was in my twenties, but some how, along the way I lost that ability or maybe I just became lazy. Thanks for sharing this Aditi. I loved that TED talk by Laura Vanderkam. So insightful
Great post. It’s so important to prioritize. I would be lost without a list!
Everything you said is spot on! It’s really about all the different learning methods that works best for you!
I couldn’t agree more with you … We all have time, it is all about setting priorities and intentions in the right place.
I love listening to TED Talks and podcasts while I run. It’s so therapeutic and a really valuable way for me to focus on my thoughts. Thanks for the extra inspiration!! 🙂
Cheers, Sarah Camille // SCsScoop.com
You are so right! It can be such a mindset thing. And I totally forget about listening to podcasts- that’s something I can do while I’m working out or cleaning the house. Good idea!
Like the different methods of learning presented. Lately, listening to podcast, watching tedtalks (for motivation) and reading articles online are how I learn about blogging and social media from scratch. I have learned so much in the past 2 months, but still have a whole lot more to learn.
Wonderful tips here for time management. I find that my social media time often eats into my writing time. I can use these tips in my own life.
I love how you included so many different learning methods in this post along with your specific examples. Thanks for the great information!
Thanks Heidi! Glad it helps!
Really informative! I always forget that there is a science to getting things done and managing your time. Sometimes I think that it’s just about focusing better or cutting distractions, but there are way more impactful techniques one can learn.
You are absolutely right! It is a science hat needs to be approached logically.