How to find time for learning in an execution-driven job
As a marketing agency for the food & beverage sector, we know what it means to have a job where a lot is going on, and how difficult it can sometimes be to put some time aside for learning sessions. Hence, learning new skills and staying informed about new trends, legal & IT changes as well as the competitive landscape is crucial for our position - and for a lot of other marketers our there too. If you are one of them, and would like to find a way of integrating more ongoing “skill sessions” into your job, our list of some great self-discipline hacks might be of help.
How to integrate 5 easy habits into your work routine to continuously learn on your job?
1. As the name implies, “learn on the job” while researching for your tasks:
We sometimes do not notice it enough, but time brings experience, and every single task of your daily work helps to acquire new skills and a bigger pile of cases in your repertoire. Especially while you research for tasks, try to discipline yourself to note down everything that could be of future value into some sort of document. Whether it is a “partner database” for potential service providers you find, a doc for important information that you want to remember, or your own dictionary of specific industry wordings you come across.
2. Subscribe to marketing newsletters and create a reading routine:
For us, subscribing to newsletters and giving them a 15 minute read before each working day is a crucial part of our daily business. Not all information is always interesting, but we want to make sure to stay informed and learn from the good and bad examples of other companies. Marketing newsletters are a great way to get valuable, curated information delivered straight into your inbox - but you should always put some time aside (per day or week in your work calendar) to make sure you actually read them!
3. Make question lists and answer them in monthly learning blocks:
Whenever you come across a question that pops into your head, but it might not be relevant at the moment so you will not research them for any of your current tasks, make sure to put them on a Q&A list, and add a time block into your calendar for a monthly Q&A learning session. We often have questions that we would like to have answered, but if they are not urgent enough, we keep postponing them. Writing them down and taking only a couple of hours per month to try and find an answer (via internet or colleagues) will make you feel much safer and confident for future situations.
4. Ask questions as much as you can:
When we speak to clients, service partners, job candidates or other experts, we try to listen and ask questions as much as we can. Everyone likes to share stories of personal experience, and this is important if someone else needs your actual input, but in other situations, we always like to step back and listen to what other people have to say. This way we can make sure that we collect a lot of input from other sources and experience levels, instead of always sharing only our own know-how - as what we already know does not turn into new skills by simply repeating it all the time. It is much more important for us to hear what others have to say, as we can by that passively grow our own experience level too.
5. Prioritize which skills you would actually like to acquire:
Following the above mentioned tips, you might end up with a pile of new, interesting skills that will simply never end. Since our day only has 24 hours, it is important for you to prioritize and not blindly learn everything you might be interested in, as this task could never be accomplished. It is therefore crucial to take a step back and think about what is really important for your future career development, which things you want to understand but not be able to execute, and which ones are of the highest priority. This gives you space to really focus on the most important learning areas, while maybe only quickly reading up on others. Learning should remain fun and never be an obligation, so prioritizing is key to get the most out of your time and keep the “fun while studying”.