How I fit reading and learning into my full time schedule
*Now featured on Hacker Noon
With a business like mine, the only way I can truly perform well at my job is by constantly learning.
Unfortunately, I have to actually do my job as well. And my days right now are long, as it’s just me running things since relocating to Barcelona, Spain.
I’ve developed a few tricks and habits that help me fit consistent learning into my busy schedule without even having to think about it.
Subconsciously taking in information throughout my day actually helps me come up with my best ideas later.
Here’s what I do.
Procrastinate and learn things:
All together in one tab on my first screen, I’ve grouped together these four apps so I can open them when I need a break:
Kindle app for iPhone:
Each week, I pick out two books: one on self improvement and one on something related to my business. I try to pick books in the 200-500 page range. For 20 minutes in the morning over coffee, I flip through a couple of chapters of each. I do this again whenever I get coffee during work (way too much). Right now, I’m reading Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer for the 1000th time.
This is the one I used for relevant news and trends related to work. Flipboard gives me a super visual, quick view of the top articles for the topics I’ve followed. I follow startup, business, tech, and marketing topics so I can easily stay on top of any new information or trends I need to know. I save them and later on I can research more in depth.
I just like to hear about what y’all are up to and hear your story.
This is a couple of things for me: content research, audience feedback, comic relief, and half the time it makes me cry because of the deep answers.
Since moving to Spain, I’ve had to turbocharge the Spanish practice. When waiting for the metro, taking a break from work, waiting for a coffee etc., I just open up Duolingo and practice a few phrases here and there. It’s actually pretty addictive.
Sweat and learn things:
Nothing gets me through a workout like distraction.
Podcasts: I can’t bring myself to cut anyone off mid-sentence so 1 hour podcast = 1 hour workout. Perfect. My favorite is Love Your Work by David Kadavy. He also left work and life in the US to do this own thing in a Spanish speaking country and his advice is always very much worth following.
Lay in bed and learn things:
If I’m going to be unproductive, I might as well make it passive learning time.
Udemy: This is my new Netflix. I buy probably two courses on a variety of different skills a week. I “binge watch episodes” and take notes at night. I use Day One to take notes to look back on later. This has seriously been one of the most helpful tools in learning new skills in a really fast, straight to the point way to better help my clients.
How I remind myself to learn things:
To keep on top of all these avenues of learning, I created a new list in my personal productivity tracking app Any.do to make sure I make my way through my books, courses, lessons, etc.
I get through so much more than I expect each week. You’d be surprised how many minutes you can steal back with these few apps.