“Never stop learning” is one of our favorite phrases at Wilson Public Relations. But how exactly can we put this in practice – particularly in a fast-moving world where it’s hard enough to balance professional and personal obligations?
If you want to create change using smaller blocks of learning to fulfill your goals, these tips could work for you.
Large projects always mean small steps.
As one example, obtaining a new certification or even seeking a part-time degree can be a lot to take on. Managing your time, stress, and staying on task while working through a large project involves pre-planning and small steps. Even on days when you’re giving yourself a break, being mindful of your time is crucial. If Saturday is set aside for personal time, then it needs to be scheduled as such to prioritize yourself just as you do your work. Schedule management and prioritization are essential for laying the foundation for continuous learning.
Integrate learning into your existing schedule.
Did you know that a common language learning tip is to use music, podcasts, or subtitles to subtly slip your second language into everyday life? Often without knowing it, your brain will start to pick up on the language you want to learn.
Put this idea into action by thinking about what your goals are and coming up with creative solutions for how to reach them. Want to read two books a week? Try listening to an audiobook while doing chores. Is it your goal to stay up to date with the news? Turn on a business podcast while sipping your morning coffee. One thing we always recommend – and try to implement ourselves – is to unplug in the evenings for a much-needed break.
Expand your vocabulary.
If you’re in a communications or customer-facing business, expanding your vocabulary is likely a good idea. A larger word bank can give you more tools so that you can better communicate with others.
Although reading is a great way to work toward this goal, it can be challenging to fit this into an already busy schedule. Dictionary.com has a great “word of the day” feature you can sign up for as an alternative. One fun way to exercise your vocabulary muscles is to try to come up with sentences for the word to fit in. It’s likely you will get it wrong the first time, and that’s okay. Learning takes time and practice.
Have an objective and track it. Remember to make things manageable, though. Time blocking certainly works for our team, and there are other tools that you might use, such as creating a spreadsheet to organize notes, using a notepad and pen to keep track of your daily tasks, or simply setting aside 15 to 30 minutes a week to work toward a learning goal. Staying organized can make this feel more attainable.
Tap into your inner child.
There was a time when all of us couldn’t stop asking questions, specifically around the “why” and “how” of the world. It can be worthwhile to access that part of yourself again. Sometimes, this can look like learning for the sake of learning, which is quite simple when you think about it.
Open yourself up to conversation with someone new and ask them about their experiences. Starting with the server or bartender at your favorite restaurant would be a great option. We are learning all the time. Your brain builds reserves to store in your mind, and the knowledge you absorb in these new conversations will come out at unexpected times.
Be okay with getting it wrong.
When you fall short, mistakes can actually be a good thing – a lesson learned. Most of the time, these situations can be repaired or mitigated, even if you don’t get a do-over. If you’re not focused on your shortcomings, a learning opportunity will emerge.
We get it. There isn’t always time – and, in a period of inflation, money – to sign up for skill development or weekend and evening classes. Big projects need dedicated time to nurture and get off the ground.
And it’s much like that common saying: good things take time.