How often do you spend time learning new skills? Probably not as much as you would like! If you are like most people, you are eager to learn, but you do not know how to find enough time to do so. How do you think you can take this time to develop your knowledge and increase your value for both your organization and your future employers?
According to Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Writer:
We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of following change step by step, and our most important task is to teach others how to learn.
Why take the time to develop your career?
If you are a manager, then you know that you need to make sure that your team members and subordinates have a lot of training and development opportunities. Of course, you should also value focusing on your own learning and personal development. To do this, you need to take enough time for it.
There are many reasons why you may not make learning a priority. Workload is the clearest reason. With so much work and personal responsibility trying to get your attention, it may seem impossible to find space in the learning schedule.
In addition, you may feel guilty about spending time on personal and professional development; Whatever it is, you can use this time to work on important tasks, or even to be with your family.
It may also be difficult for you to make learning a part of your daily routine. During a busy and confusing day, tasks such as reading management books and completing online courses may easily slip to the bottom of the to-do list.
This inability (to take the time to train and develop your career) may make you feel that you are not living up to your expectations and that you will become frustrated. It may affect your self-esteem and make you feel less positive about your career. Of course, not being up to date with changes in your industry or profession can also upset you. For example, you may miss opportunities to help your group or organization more, and other people in your workplace may be more effective than you.
However, when you prioritize learning, you increase your value to your organization. As a professional, you are more available; And when you apply for a challenging project or are looking for a career advancement, you are more likely to get what you want.
Continuous learning can also help you develop professional strength. If your boss or team members or clients see you as an expert, they will respect you much more and follow your advice. This can help make it easier for you to get support for your projects or negotiate a contract or manage change.
A few strategic principles for learning
There is no doubt that learning-based development is very important. But how do we find the time to do so?
1. Set learning goals
If you do not realize the importance of what you are doing, you will easily give up personal development as soon as you are under pressure due to lack of time or lack of energy and motivation.
So the first step is to set learning goals and visualize how it will help you achieve your career goals. So answer the question, what do you intend to gain from your learning? And why do you take the time to learn?
It is important to have SMART and realistic goals from the beginning and break them down into long-term and short-term goals that you can add to your daily to-do list and work schedule.
Use visualization techniques to create vivid mental images. Images of how much and how these learning activities will improve your life. Put these visualizations on paper so you can later remind yourself why you took the time to do this activity.
2. Identify obstacles
In the next step, identify potential barriers that make it difficult to commit to a specific learning schedule. Then look for strategies to overcome them.
For example, imagine that during the coming week, you commit to spending half an hour reading a book when you get home. One of the possible obstacles is that as soon as you put your foot inside the house, your children will gather around you and want to play with you. To overcome this obstacle, you need to explain to them why you need time to study in private. Promise them that you will make time for them as soon as the study is over. Then sit in a quiet room so that you are not distracted.
Review the obstacles that may prevent you from taking the time to learn, and write down the strategies you will use to overcome each one.
3. Think small
Many of us think it takes a long time to learn. But the truth is that short-term opportunities can be effective if you focus.
The key to effective learning is to maximize the impact of the minutes you have. Take a look at the to-do list and see what you can do in your time. Make sure you minimize distractions, even if you only have 10 minutes of free time on what you are reading or learning; Focus.
Think about how you can use your mobile phone on the go to learn. For example, you can use the appropriate software and podcasts or store the information you want to save on the phone.
Learn strategies such as speed reading and effective note-taking techniques such as mind mapping to make the most of your learning time.
4. Learn in the best way
Many people postpone learning until they have done all their other work. But let’s imagine how you feel when you have done all the work on your to-do list and finished. Well, you are usually tired; It is true?
Everyone has ups and downs in their energy levels. You should not postpone learning that requires a ready and open mind to a time of day when you have the least amount of energy.
Article “What to do in the morning?” It helps you identify your peak hours of productivity throughout the day and then figure out how you can better schedule your learning to make the most of the changes in your energy level throughout the day.
5. Make learning a habit
You will only be able to continue learning once you have made it a habit. Acquiring good habits requires effort and regularity.
To get in the habit, look at your schedule and see how you can devote time to learning each day. Can you wake up an hour early? Or can you learn at lunchtime? Can you study after everyone has gone to bed? Consider the energy levels mentioned earlier.
Think of a reward that you can set for yourself, for example, over the next two weeks. This will help you overcome these thoughts and keep learning when you do not feel like reading or when you are tempted to do something else instead of reading.
Congratulations on doing this for two weeks! The first step is always the hardest step. Then commit to having learning in your schedule every day for the next 30 days. Reevaluate the times you have set for yourself. Are these times effective? If not, what can you do to make learning more practical?
Remember that habits are small daily activities that you have forced yourself to do. It is only with time and perseverance that those small daily activities become a habit.
6. Choose the right learning style
Do you know how to have the best learning? For example, some people have the best learning and information retention power when they read and take notes. Some are active learners; That is, they have to do the work themselves to learn. Some also learn when confronted with facts, not hypotheses.
Identifying your personal learning style is important, so you can do your learning in the best way you can.
It is often the easiest way to learn to interact with others; After all, if you know there are people who are available whenever you need help or advice, you are more likely to turn to them instead of getting frustrated with the learning process. When you join a group where learning is a priority, they can hold you accountable for your learning goals.
One of the best ways to do this is to join a class or take a course with others. Of course, you can also use LinkedIn and Twitter to help find professionals in your industry who are interested in learning. Remember, too, how members of the larger community are always with you as you work on your job skills.
You can also talk to your co-workers and see if they normally spend time learning. If so, you may be able to form a study group or spend some time reading or learning together.
8. Delegate tasks
Most likely, your day is full of tasks for which you are responsible. So how do you plan to incorporate learning into your program?
Take a look at your professional and personal responsibilities and see if you can delegate. (Delegate) For example, have more time to learn by delegating new tasks to group members or by hiring someone to clean your home and living space. If you can get even half an hour out of your schedule, you can use this time to work on your learning goals.
See Time Management for more information on finding the right time during the workday.