There is this is the problem I face all the time. I know I should continually, incrementally, steadily learn – every day. I totally buy into this philosophy, am committed to it and want to do it. I know that even one hour a day done every day will achieve wonders over the long term.
But when in the day should I devote this one hour? Do I have to do it everyday at the same time? What about weekends? Should I make it explicit and put it on my calendar or should I just use any free time I find? How do I actually implement this ideal? And what should I learn?
Part 1: The When
This part needs some self analysis and understanding how you live your life.
I have found my ideal When: scheduling my learning time in my calendar and assigning the same time everyday. In the ideal world, I like to get to office an hour early and the first hour of every work day is my personal learning hour. That way, I learn every day I work, and this learning is done before I get sucked into work.
On the path to find my ideal When, I have experimented with
- learning while I’m eating lunch (challenge: my brain does really need a break, and this is not good for practicing presence)
- the last hour of my work day (you’ll still have to come in earlier, and how will your workplace react to seeing you doing something other than working even though you came in early? Human nature, it seems is less forgiving when tired.. Also, if you are working on something with a deadline or are really tired or really into your work, how easy is it to break away?)
- first thing in the morning (a great option)
- learning at home after your cup of coffee (I have found this to be parent-unfriendly. But should work beautifully if you don’t have kids)
- the last thing before bed (do you have enough energy, will power to actually do this)
- or some other time…
I suspect, for you, whatever you choose, you will need to look through all your options and try them out before you find something that works for you at least 75% of the time. The other 25% life happens, and we need to be flexible and just make it happen – use your schedule but not be a slave to it.
I know I still cycle through the options as and when my life situation changes and I need to find my new ideal.
Do this for a bit and you will be able to consistently learn for at least an hour 10months in a year. So, in Part 1, we have tried to figure out the “When” part. In Part 2, we’ll figure out the “What to study” part.
Some Links for part 1:
- The Simple Dollar – Spend Time Developing Your Career Skills to Avoid Getting Fired
- Brian Tracy – One hour makes all the difference –
- Shane Parrish – The Warren Buffett formula: How you can get smarter