Making time to learn at work can be daunting. Hundreds of emails, tasks piling up, follow-up reminders, and slack messages all at your door don’t really leave time for your brain to think about learning. The brain is a muscle and without training it every day it gets weaker. Having a workplace that values learning can certainly change an organization’s efficiency. But what’s the use if you don’t know how to budget your learning time. You can check out our other article on how to create a culture of learning in the workplace here. Below are three tips you can use for effectively budgeting learning time at work.
Tip #1. Allocate Time on Your Calendar
This tip is the most obvious but also the most effective. Blocking out regularly scheduled time on your calendar ensures that time dedicated to learning will be front-and-center whenever you open your calendar and will ensure others don’t mistakenly schedule meetings that conflict with your desired learning dates and times.
Blocking time on your calendar also gives a sense of the importance of learning. You’re not going to schedule something that’s not of meaning on your calendar.
Tip #2. Prioritize what you want to learn
Learning is fun but sometimes we get derailed and start learning or researching things we weren’t supposed to in that moment. There’s nothing wrong with the constant thirst for knowledge, but at work, you may want to keep focused on your initial learning goal. Especially if you need to learn a specific skill for your role or if you’re wanting to branch out and get into a new role.
The best way to make sure you’re learning what you need to learn is prioritizing. Take into account your learning goals and write a list of the things you need to learn. An example could be:
Topics to learn this quarter:
- CSS basics
- HTML Basics
- C# Basics
Once you have the foundation of what you want to learn you can break down those topics into smaller lists. A task manager like Trello, Monday, or Asana could be helpful for this.
Tip #3. Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s that’s still being used today. This technique works well if you’re limited on time or have difficulty concentrating for prolonged periods.
With this technique, you can prioritize what you want to learn for 25 minutes at a time and take breaks in between. Not only does it give the brain enough rest for when you get back into it, but it avoids feeling overwhelmed since you only focus on one task at a time.
Here’s how you do it:
- Choose a single task to focus on.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work only on your selected task.
- After 25 minutes take a five-minute break.
- Repeat steps 1-3 four times.
- Take a longer break of about 15 to 30 minutes.
These three tips should help you start learning at work with the right foot forward. Keep in mind that this alone may not work for everyone right off the bat. Experiment with your learning and see what works best for you. Trial and error will be your best teacher. Check out Treehouse and become a lifelong learner with us! Happy learning!