I came close to overwhelm when I signed up for a newsletter and immediately received at least four hours worth of content – free of course. I love to learn but that put me close to overwhelm. I sat down and figured out a system that allows me stress free learning
Identify what you want to learn
Make some categories of the areas you want to study and put them in an order of importance. Right now, mine are podcasting and video with a little exploration into curation.
Create a page called “Study”
Or “Learn”. Whatever you want to call the information and resources that you want to explore. I use a Word document. Then add the names of areas you want to explore and turn them into Heading I to make a quick-search table of contents.
Put all your study resources in one place
I keep a document open all day called My Unfolding Life and it has everything – Three Important Things I Will Do Today, My Mantra Day, plus all sorts of ideas and lists. It used to contain a category called Study, and as you can see, I moved it out of there – all 11 pages of links to interesting things I want to read but have not had time to do.
Organize them by topic
Once I collected all the possibilities in one place, I made subcategories like podcasting, video, curation, newsletter, etc. Again, I used Heading 2 to make a TOC. Do you see where I’m going? I didn’t sit down and organize all 11 pages at once. I put a few under the proper categories and will arrange the rest as I start a particular area of study. For now, I have them out of my daily action list and off into their own organized world. It was a relief to de-clutter one list and organizes another.
Schedule specific times to study
I often feel like studying on the weekend. I don’t specify when, but I open myself up to study when I feel like it. I do have “study” on my list of Important Things to Do Today on those two days. I can select a topic by my mood or by what I need to prepare for in the following week.
Study ahead in small segments
I spent two hours viewing a great series on podcasting. I spent nearly two hours on a webinar and took copious notes. I spent an hour working in a software program I need to re-learn so I can use it in the next few weeks. Curation interests me so I keep adding to my knowledge of that. Learning one small part of the overall skill/concept you are exploring is a powerful step forward.
Allow yourself to go off the beaten path
If a great idea pops into my inbox, I weigh it against my overall plans and either listen/watch that day or put it safely in my Study List. That keeps my action list streamlined but still gives me easy access to what I need when it’s time to study.
Why study is important
You can study to learn a concept or study to learn a skill. When I want to figure something out, I very often write a post. The say we teach what we need to learn so I write courses to help me “own” things better too. When you study something, take time to see how/if you would apply it to your life. Application is the most powerful way to own a concept or a skill.
What to do with the abundance of ideas that comes from learning
Study is exciting, no question about it. It’s common to want to rush out and implement the new idea I just learned. But I can’t. And I don’t. Maintain a strong overview of what you are trying to accomplish. Ideas that further that current path are to be explored. Possibilities could even go so far as to find themselves on a separate list called “Possibilities” to be looked at when the time was right.
Don’t let the amount of available content overwhelm you. Pick and choose what you need/want right now on your journey and put them on a separate list. Then schedule at least two hours of study a week. That’s how you make room to learn.
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