Did you stop learning when school stopped?

open books on wooden table

In university or any school, the term “hit the books” is used synonymously with learning.  That said, there is a major difference in the amount of learning and the amount of reading people do if they are not in school.  If you are trying to improve, get better, become more effective at your job, or contribute more to society, relationships, family and friends, then learning is key.

The biggest single barrier I hear to reading is “I don’t have the time”.  So often we spend the time we could be learning on our social media feed, watching TV, or just overall time-wasting.  If you have ever had to accomplish something significant over a few months and actually focus on it, you would be shocked to learn how much time we actually have: lots; if we don’t waste it!  I also hear that the cost of books is just so high these days so here are a few ideas that could help you overcome those barriers:

  • Use Audiobooks – imagine you could read books on your commute or when you are working out?  30 minutes to and from work in a car = 1 hour/day, 5/week, 20/month, 240/year with an average audiobook being 8 hours that if listened to at 1.5X speed = 45 books you could read per year!  Some services that are available include Audible, but there is a cost to that – read on about how to eliminate the cost.
  • Listen to Podcasts – there are experts in your field that pump out many different podcasts that may include other experts that you can listen too – all on your commute.  They also come with show notes where the producers put links to all kinds of content as well and most of this content is free.
  • Use predictive services to suggest your next read.  I like the Ap called Goodreads to do that for me.   It analyzes all of the books I have read and then suggests books that I may be interested in.  You can also go to a section in a bookstore or library that you like and see what else is adjacent to your favourite books.
  • Use an RSS Feed reader like Feedly. You can get the links to any blogs that you are interested in, organize them and get collated content from experts in that area.  I subscribe to lots of blogs where I am provided the headlines and I can double click to get the content if I think it could be useful.
  • Use your local library! Did you know you can get and read any book you want for free and that your library has an app where you can put books on hold and renew them from your phone? This can save lots of money and even a $0.60 late fine is far more economical than buying that book for $25.
  • Your library has audiobooks that you may have had to pay for through apps or subscriptions like audible but I have found I seldom go back and listen to a book I have already “read”. You can use the ap Overdrive or Libby to connect to your library and do the same thing as audible for free.
  • Your library can offer academic research or if you are alumni of a university, your alumni card can get you certain levels of access to the university library.
  • Lynda.com is a learning service with online courses from experts on almost any topic you can access this through your local library website!  If not in your local city, or town, just go to another city or town and sign up for a library card there.
  • Percipio is also an online learning service that may be offered by your employer with all kinds of content relevant to your job.
  • Get abstract is a service you may have access to where you can access the “Coles notes” book summary version if any of those business or leadership books that you may just want to explore at a top-line level.

In summary, you will never lose when you invest in yourself and your learning; also note that your wealth will only grow to the extent that you grow yourself!

Happy learning!