It’s easy to get tunnel vision in business and only focus on the tasks directly ahead of you. However, setting aside a little time to learn and hone new skills on a daily basis is key. It’ll not only allow you to survive in this changing entrepreneurial landscape but to thrive in it.
Many of us still operate under the idea that, once we leave school with our diplomas in hand, there’s no need to continue mastering different areas of knowledge. However, the reality is that we no longer live in a world where learning can stay fixed for anyone in any trade. Adaptation is a currency worth its weight in gold in today’s business world, where new innovations are continuously changing the game.
Being a constant learner means staying sharp, relevant in your field, and ahead of the curve. And forming these habits doesn’t have to be difficult or terribly time consuming either. There are a number of simple ways to implement lifelong learning into your day-to-day routine, no matter how busy you are:
Set specific and concrete learning goals
First things first, get those self-improvement ideas out of your head and out into the real world in a tangible way. Writing a list of what you want to learn can help you stick to your goals in a meaningful way.
Next, create objectives that are manageable, by breaking down big picture goals into daily, monthly, and annual stepping stones. If you want to learn more about SEO techniques, for example, you could set a goal to read one blog post about your area of interest per day. Chrome extensions like Prioritab can also help you keep your short-term daily goals and long-term weekly and monthly goals in sight.
You don’t need a classroom to learn
The internet has given us many amazing things, including access to topnotch online courses, that allow us to learn nearly any topic under the sun. You can even get an Ivy League education for free from Open Yale Courses and Stanford Online, which are filled with hundreds of video courses on everything from financing to psychology.
Other fantastic learning resources include sites like Lynda.com and Coursera, which are effective and affordable education companies that let you search for specific online classes and complete them at your own pace. With these sites, you can learn how to build an Android app, or learn Photoshop, or SEO marketing techniques, just to name a few options.
Another great, free education tool is YouTube, which is populated with tutorials on just about anything you could think of. Not to mention, you can use it to catch up on cutting edge TED Talks and stay current on new developments and ideas.
While more traditional methods of lifelong learning, like being in a physical classroom, will always be indispensable, the internet is also an invaluable tool, when setting out on your journey as a lifelong learner. It can broaden your horizons and allow you to tailor learning to your daily schedule and needs.
Learn during your downtime
For busy entrepreneurs, it can be hard to squeeze in time for continued education. However, with podcasts and nonfiction audiobooks, lifelong learning is much more attainable. A perfect time to dive into audio learning is during your commute to and from work, or while you exercise, or cook. If you’re looking for a good place to start, The Harvard Business Review’s podcast, HBR Ideacast, is excellent for anyone looking to sharpen their entrepreneurial skills and learn from the leading minds in business.
The bottom line
Making learning a lifelong and daily endeavor might sound like quite the time investment, but it’s one that will pay off in the future and can be done in bite sized increments every day. Your future self will thank you.