1. Devote all your free time to learning
For our brain to have time to digest helpful information and put everything in its place, we need to give it a rest. And since, in addition to learning in our lives, we also have work and personal affairs, it is challenging to do this.
And yet, you should devote only some of your free time to self-education. Otherwise, you can drive yourself into constant time pressure when you do not have time for anything and are under endless stress. Prolonged presence in such a state can lead to burnout and a complete loss of interest in work and self-education.
To avoid these problems, make a study plan that fits into your current schedule: think about when and what you will study, in what format you will do it, and how much time you will spend. A transparent system will keep you on track and allow you time to rest and reboot.
2. Use only one learning format
If you limit yourself to only reading books or watching online training videos, these activities can become routine and boring. Alternating formats help you switch and form the most complete understanding of the topic. Here's where you can draw information from:
- webinars and training videos;
- Professional development and retraining courses;
- professional societies;
- conferences and forums.
Combine these sources and pause if you feel tired of any of them. Learning should be as exciting and comfortable for you as possible. For instance, the professional essay writer advises you to refer to the different formats of this chart:
- set aside time every day to read books and articles;
- watch training videos or webinars three times a week;
- once a month, attend professional events, conferences, and forums;
- once every three months, participate in short-term courses - lasting from 1 to 5 days;
- take professional development courses once a year.
In this way, you will integrate lifelong learning into your life and develop the habit of constantly learning new things and getting information from different sources.
3. Not practicing what you have learned in practice
The main mistake that prevents you from turning knowledge into sustainable skills is a lack of exercise. The theory is critical, but everything learned will be quickly forgotten and useless without actual application and repeated repetition.
Therefore, after reading each book, watching a video, or taking a course, you should do the following:
- record the key points;
- think through the possibilities of applying them in practice;
- make a concrete plan - what exactly, in what sphere, and in what form you can use;
- put this plan into practice;
- analyze the results and, if necessary, adjust further actions.
For example, you have studied time management and are interested in the Pomodoro method. Determine in which cases it will be convenient to apply it. You may have long planned to write a great article or book, but you are constantly distracted by something else and need help to allocate time for it. Use this method to solve this problem. And if it doesn't work, try other tools you learned about while researching the topic.
It's also a good idea to start an "idea book" and record interesting tools, cases, or thoughts you come across while learning. You can return to these notes occasionally when you need fresh ideas for solving work or personal tasks.
The main thing is not to write them down chaotically but to develop a handy rubric that will help you find the information you need even months after you've studied the topic.
For example, it can be a spreadsheet with thematic tabs and columns organized by topic (marketing, productivity, management), format (ideas, presentations, expert articles, case studies, videos), or area of application (home, work, business, hobbies).
Or you can collect all the most essential things in cloud storage and create your knowledge base by structuring and organizing your valuable materials in folders.
4. Do not allow yourself to make mistakes
Applying new knowledge is most often done by trial and error. And the latter can hurt the self-esteem of perfectionists and those who are hard on criticism.
That is why it is essential to set yourself up for fundamental changes at the very beginning: think about what you want to change as a result of the training when you start using the knowledge in practice and how you will analyze possible mistakes. Accept the fact that making mistakes is inevitable.
Don't worry about failures, but learn to make the most of them:
- record both positive and negative results;
- Identify the cause of the loss;
- think about how to avoid similar problems in the future;
- develop a plan of further actions taking into account the analysis;
- put the new project into practice.
For example, the Pomodoro method didn't help you make much progress in writing your article or book. Why did this happen? You may find it challenging to accomplish this task at this pace. Then, you need to find another tool that will suit you better.
For example, it could be the "Eat the Elephant" method. It suggests dividing the task into parts and doing it gradually, starting with a specific small daily action.
Be prepared that working out the bugs will require several iterations, as new problems may arise. But in the end, it will only be beneficial: you will have solid skills in the right area and practice dealing with different problem situations.