A Foolproof Way to Learn More in 2013
Back in December, I reflected on what I learned in 2012. One of them discussed the importance of online education and it’s impact on our ability to advanced our own education and development. I wanted to expand on that thought a little bit and offer what I believe is a foolproof way to learn more in 2013.
We all want more time, right?
We all feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done so we usually suffer ourselves. Sometimes we skip exercise, or eat poorly, or neglect continuing education.
By carving out 20 minutes a day and dedicating it to personal growth and continuing education, you’ll accumulate 2 extra weeks of time during the year. And that is just 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week – take the weekend off! If you spend 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week, that adds up to over 86 hours a year, or more than two full work weeks of continuing education.
I think 20 minutes is the perfect length of daily education. Studies have shown that pushing yourself a little bit each day, stepping away, and coming back results in better skill development. You’ll have better retention, and you can mix and match different topics each day to whatever interests you today or to learn something specific to a patient or client you have coming in later that day. You want to push yourself often, daily in this example, to create a habit of professional growth. This stimulates your brain and I can almost guarantee will make you feel better about yourself, feel more confident, and ultimately happier in the long run.
Finding 20 Minutes a Day
So how do you find 20 minutes a day and how do you fill these minutes? I’m glad you asked! (OK, I guess I was actually the one that asked…). Finding 20 minutes per day seems easy enough, but we all know how hard that can be at times. My easiest recommendations for finding these 20 minutes are to:
- Schedule these 20 minutes. Maybe it is at lunch, right when you get to work, while you are drinking your morning coffee, or whenever, but if you schedule these 20 minutes and make them part of your routine, you will be more likely to find time.
- Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. Really, what exciting things happened during those 8 hours you were sleeping? Nothing you can’t get to when you get to work or during a set time. I try to avoid my email until after I accomplished a major goal of the day, so that way I am not distracted with little to-do’s before I get the most important task of the day out of the way.
- Disconnect from social media. Studies have shown a certain amount of OCD is created by social media, making you want to stay connected throughout the day. I would bet many of you waste away 20 minutes a day playing around pinning, poking, and tweeting all day (do we still poke? Confession – I never knew what poking was…).
Rather than try to find 20 extra minutes a day, sometimes it’s easier to start with trying to multitask for 20 minutes per day. How about while you are eating breakfast, or commuting to work, or waiting at the dentist? Photo credit.
How to Use Those 20 Minutes
So now that you have found those magical 20 minutes, how do you maximize your ability to learn in these precious moments? Here are some ideas:
- Set up a system to stay on top of website articles and journal articles as they become available. You can use Google alerts, RSS feeds, and many more tools. If you want to learn what I do, I have a webinar on setting up a system to stay on top of interests and evidence.
- Always have some articles you want to read readily available on your phone or tablet using an RSS reader like Google Reader, a read it later app like Instapaper, or a note taking app like Evernote. Now, while you waiting in line at the bank, or for a haircut, or for your wife to get ready before you go out (because I know she’ll read this…).
- Listening to a podcast or audiobook while you are driving.
- Listening to a podcast or audiobook while jogging/walking/etc.
- Watching a DVD or online webinar while on a treadmill. I rip all my DVDs to my iPad and then watch them at 1.5x to 2.0x speed.
- Watching a DVD or online webinar while commuting to work (assuming you aren’t the one driving).
A Call to Action
I really believe that current trends in online education can make you much better at what you do. I started this thought in my article in December, but want to elaborate a little more. I would like to propose the following call to action for us all to learn more in 2013:
- Attend at least one continuing education seminar a year. This is designed to obtain a specific skill and should be dedicated to one with mostly hands-on learning and manual skill development.
- Attend at least one multi-speaker symposium each year. This is to get several different views in a short amount of time and usually has a wide variety of topics. Plus you get a great networking oppurtunity. Downside of these symposiums is usually lack of hands-on time.
- Have one book to read that is NOT related to our clinical skills, work on your other skill sets, I try to read 1-2 per month. HINT: You’ve probably figured it our by now, but most books like this have about 20% content and 80% stories to strengthen the content. I don’t need the fluff, I read fast and get through more books this way.
- Watch one webinar a week. Subscribe to a resource that has a diverse amount of topics that you can digest quickly, like RehabWebinars.com or my Inner Circle. That way you can vary the topics but whatever is on your mind that week or whoever you have on the schedule that day. If a webinar is more than 20 minutes, watch half one day and the other half the next.
- Read a couple of websites a day while drinking your morning coffee, eating lunch, or unwinding in bed. I usually spend 10 minutes a day doing this and staying on top of what is been published on the internet. As I mentioned earlier, you can read more about how to learn my system of staying current.
Think about it, over the course of the year you would attend at least 1 continuing education seminar, 1 symposium, read at least 12 books, watched 52 webinars, and read 100′s of online blog posts and journal articles. There is no doubt this will serve as a great shortcut to overachieving and making great progress in your career.
Now that you have gained all this time and know what to do with it, use these two weeks you gained to educate yourself more and start overachieving!