In a compelling world, we need to expand our knowledge very often. The relevance of what we learn is blending fast these days. In some cases, we can even lose our job if not informed about trends, new approaches, new methods, and critical knowledge needed. Running to save our selves many people miss on building a sustainable in-time strategy for learning and development. While we need always to learn to be in line with the world of work, we need to develop and sustain habits to help us do it successfully.
I am offering you a simple list of habits to help you learn more effectively when you need to do it without running behind your industry trends.
Habit 1: Inform yourself
Are you reading only Facebook news and nothing else? Do you miss the information or the newsletter of your local professional organization? Did you miss the story in the morning? If that is you, then you need to think of changing it. To exist and be productive, we need to inform ourselves about contemporary trends, the environment around us, the processes that may affect our organization and us, etc. But to do it successfully, we also need to choose wisely what sources of information we are going to trust and how much time we will need to invest in informing ourselves. Trusted and reliable sources of information help us grow, while non trusted sources of information often cause us to lose additional time to understand, accept and use the information we received
Habit 2: Read fiction
Many people have made the mistake of sticking only to professional sources of information. That saves them time but also limits their imagination and creativity. At least 25% of what you read must not relate to a professional topic but be there to provoke you to think uniquely. Criminal, sci-fi and other books are an excellent point to start. I read about 60 books a year, and 20 of them are not business books. And from the insights I got from a sci-fi book, I was able to recreate one of our company processes and save the company and employees 3% of their time. Literature and publications, different from business topics that you usually read are an effective way to boost your imagination and creativity, so why not trying them?
Habit 3: Exercise
The third habit relates to your healthy you. When I was in elementary school, I have had a teacher who always told us “Healthy body, healthy mind”. I did not understand him then, but years after that I got it. Physical activity is one of the paths to lower mental pressure and switch off from the daily stress. It helps you not only burn those calories you want but also recharge yourself for the next challenging situation in your life. Exercising does not mean to train 3-4 hours every day, but still, if you want to learn what turns you on and how to lower the pressure around you, you will need to clear your mind and start everything from scratch, or at least move on from the moment before things have to get done so worse. Normalizing blood circulation in your body works positively on the way you rea-charge yourself and become ready to face the next challenge, full of energy and willingness to make that change happen for good.
Habit 4: Watch educational videos
The current century has allowed us to learn while we watch and listen. In the last decade the e-learning platforms have evolved so much that we now can use them to learn everything we want – from how to cook, trough how to prepare analysis using Excel or similar, present data in an understandable way, learn to code, to manage, to lead, etc. Educational videos have a different impact on different people. But the world is now moving from class learning to video teaching. You only need to define the subject that is most interesting for you at the current moment and you can start learning while watching educational videos. With so many options out there – from videos created from professional organizations, leading industry gurus, or just from the lovely quarter person, who want s to share wisdom with others you can choose the best one that suits best your needs and budget and start watching. You will not be able to memorize everything, but think of the videos as repeating the opportunity to learn while you just sit relaxed in your favorite chair, or on the couch, or at the terrace of that lovely mountain villa, you always wanted to rent or buy.
Habit 5: Record what you learn
In 2019 I have watched more than 300 hours of educational videos and courses. There is no way that I could have remembered every word or every idea I have watched or implemented even half of what I have learned within 2-4 weeks after I have watched it. But during the years of training myself on how to learn better, I have written down all the meaningful ideas I wanted to work after I have learned them. That made me a list of more than 50 ideas (some of them were repeating) and brought my team at work into a completely new situation. From a calm and balanced day to days and weeks where we had to implement more than 2 ideas a week. What happened after all that work is that our ideas and actions that followed allowed us to directly support employee engagement and accountability at the company and increase them with more than 10% on annual basis (this we saw in our traditional satisfaction and engagement in-house survey in 2020). This short example is not to present me and my team in a more positive light, but to point on the raising need to document what we have learned. If you focus on documenting what you have learned, you will find the right place and time to implement it for your and other company or family members good.
There is no right or wrong strategy that can help the person to expand its knowledge daily. The above-shared habits have worked and are working for me and a group of more than 2500 people I have trained to use them in their daily schedule. But still, if you want to succeed in developing your knowledge you will need to find these habits that impact your knowledge gathering. The list above is a good start, but you can always cut some of the things or add new ones, depending on your attitude and needs. Now, why do not try to change the way you add knowledge to your brain and use it to change the world and your company for good.