Learning shouldn’t be a luxury. But time is never on anyone’s side. It moves fast and is always getting away from you. Learning takes a back seat to just getting things done. A fire drill or critical issue is always just waiting around the corner to blow up your schedule. There just isn’t any time to learn. I’m always learning and getting excited by new ideas and concepts. Learning gets my mind going and I can think of new ways to apply this new knowledge. Or it leads me down a new path I didn’t even know existed. We all need time to learn and to grow. But how do we fit it in?
Carving out a section of time for learning and putting it on the calendar is a good start. Your schedule may fall part, but it’s there as a reminder to set some time aside for it. If I schedule it, then there is a good chance I’ll be able to take the time to actually do it. If not, I can juggle things around a bit to make sure the time for learning still stays somewhere on my schedule.
The workday may just not work out at all for you. How about your commute? If you drive back and forth to work, then listening to an audio book might be a solution. If you ride the bus then an audio book, reading blogs or even reading an e-book are options. Get creative into how you can incorporate time in your day to be set aside for learning.
A couple of lunch time webinars are a good choice. Try to avoid the sales pitch stuff and check out webinars on iiba.org or other business analysis sites.
Pick the Best Time
What’s your best time for learning? Bright and early? Lunch time? Right before sleeping? We all have a time slot in our days where we learn the best. It’s different for everyone. Pick a time in your day that makes sense for when during the day you work best.
To learn we usually need a good environment to learn in. A friend of mine can sit in a noisy coffee shop and feel right at home learning. I prefer a quiet place with little distractions. Think about what the best place is for you to learn. Is it at work? Home? In the car? There’s no right or wrong place for learning.
Music or lack of music while studying can help focus your concentration. Chill it out with relaxing music might be your thing. I’ve had a student play heavy metal to relax and another student play Mozart. One thing is for certain it can help you blot out the rest of the world to focus on learning. One technique is the noise cancelling head phones – I turned them on but don’t play any music to get silence. Maybe it’s silence, maybe music – either way pick a track for learning.
A Classroom Is Not Needed
Training your brain doesn’t mean you have to sit in a classroom. There are lots of ways in which to engage in learning. Webinar or virtual training is a great way to learn while eating lunch at your desk or even at home. Audio books, e-books and reading blogs can be easy to digest in short timeframes. Learning can happen anywhere. Where’s your learning place?
Observe, Listen or Interact?
We all have a preferred method of learning new concepts. Do you learn best by visually observing, listening or by interacting? Studies have shown we all have preferences or learning styles.
Observers learn by watching or reading. They tend to read a book, check out a blog online or watch a recording of a webinar.
Listeners learn by hearing. They tend to pick audio books and webinars where listening is a key part in learning. These folks can “see” the words as they are spoken.
Interactive learners like situations where there is a conversation, questions can be asked and advice provided. They share success stories and ask for help on roadblocks. They enjoy sharing their knowledge.
Try to pick topics you normally wouldn’t engage in to get out of your comfort zone. Going to the same topic over and over again does little to expand your knowledge base. Stepping out of that comfort zone takes energy and a lot of thinking. Picking the easy topic is a good refresher, but challenge yourself!