I try to learn something new on a weekly, if not daily basis. Being a lover of learning was something that never left me, even after I completed grad school. It’s also helped me to reach my goals and literally change my career. You can learn something new, even if you think you don’t have time. It’s all about building it into your life.
Below are some ideas for incorporating learning into your everyday life so you can keep that brain from getting rusty. You might not change your career as I did (heck, you might not want to), but hopefully carving out some space to learn will improve your life in one way or another.
Learn something new on YouTube while on the toilet
Maybe you feel like you only have 5 minutes of time to yourself per day and that happens to be on the toilet. You can still learn, and my first suggestion is heading to YouTube. It’s free and accessible, plus people teach you just about anything and everything on that platform.
We remodeled our first fixer-upper primarily by watching YouTube. (No, it wasn’t all done on the ivory throne.) Still, people film everything from scraping your popcorn ceilings, to meditation techniques. Anything you want to learn right away you can find on YouTube.
Learn something new by checking Instagram stories on your break (and follow people who are informative)
Using your break time at work to learn something new can be as simple as checking your Instagram stories. Of course, you need to follow people whose posts aren’t just selfies and ice cream photos (although a few of these never hurt anyone).
I highly recommend following Amanda from Dumpster Dog Blog. She does a 5 Spot Friday which teaches something new about finances, typically investing. Another one to watch is Hey Berna, whose stories promise to entertain and educate about budgeting, debt pay off and more. Lastly, I try to never miss stories from Mixed Up Money because they are real, down to earth, and educational.
Learn something new by diving into an audiobook on a daily commute
Your commute is a perfect time to dive into some more hefty learning. You’re in the car for a period of time on a regular basis. You can think of it more like a classroom or your own personal improvement time and find a book you want to listen to.
We use Libby, an app that connects with local libraries and lets you check out audiobooks for free. But if the wait is 16 weeks for a book I want now, I will pay for it on Audible and listen to it that way.
If you’re not sure about Audiobooks, I can totally relate. Listening to books was hard for me and I resisted for years. I loved the act of holding a book and flipping the pages. But after some dedication, I really got into it. I let go of what I thought the “book” experience should be like and really embraced the fact that I could ‘read’ more, and therefore learn more by listening to audiobooks.
Listen to your favorite podcast while walking the dog (or the kids)
Our dog needs to get out every day. Some days we take short walks around the block, and other days I bring him to a local park. I use this time to bond with him, but also to learn. I will listen to a podcast (or a book) using my cordless ear plugs while we walk along the trails together. He really never seems to mind that I am off in my own world while he is sniffing the twigs and shrubs.
My favorite podcast is The Fairer Cents, which always bring relevant ideas to the table with knowledgeable women to discuss them. Listening to podcasts always seems to teach me something new. When I hear a conversation I’m challenged in my own thinking and processing in a way that is totally different from a book.
Watch a documentary at the gym
Cardio at the gym like the stair stepper, treadmill or bike can be the perfect time to watch a documentary on your phone. Most of these machines have a little place to prop up your phone and if you can sweat a watch at the same time, then I say to go for it. Some of my favorites I watched on Netflix are:
- What the Health
- Black Fish
- Seeing Allred
- She’s Beautiful when She’s Angry
- The Hunting Ground
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi
- The Keepers
- The Family
I will admit this isn’t for everyone. Since I go to a cycle studio now, I am not able to double-dip with learning and working out like I used to, But it could work for you.
Read a blog post any chance you get!
Standing in line? Waiting for your coffee order? Lounging on the couch? Check out your favorite blogs and leave a comment. I love reading Tread Lightly, Retire Early, Smile and Conquer, Bravely Go, and Her First 100K on a regular basis.
While I don’t think we all need to be constantly doing, I do think we need to always be learning. Even if that’s just a few minutes a day. Tell me what ways you incorporate learning into your life and stay smart my friends!
How we spend our “downtime” is important. By spending it being productive and learning, you are setting yourself up for making more decisions to be productive in the future. This is really getting at being conscious of your media diet.
I really like the idea of watching a documentary during cardio. I often listen to podcasts or audiobooks and it is often not really immersive enough.
I love the phrasing of “media diet”. Great point, being conscious of this can yield major results with consistency just like a food diet.
Thank you for reading!