Learning doesn’t have to end just because you aren’t engaged in a formal training or education program. Committing to learning one new thing in your field each day can not only help keep your brain sharp, but also improve your awareness of the latest industry trends and give you something to talk to your boss and colleagues with around the water cooler.
Here are some easy options you can integrate into your everyday routine:
- Subscribe to email newsletters. Have the learning come to you by subscribing to 2-3 newsletters in your career area. Do an Internet search for your industry, plus the word “newsletter” (e.g. “health care newsletter” or “retail newsletter”), to locate options, or ask your supervisor what newsletters he or she reads regularly. Enter your email to subscribe to the newsletter, and you’ll start receiving them on a regular basis. Make time during your morning or lunch routine to read through the newsletter and see what’s happening in your field.
- Find relevant podcasts. A podcast is like a recorded radio segment that you can listen to on-demand from your Internet- or mobile-connected device. Episodes usually run anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes in length. Find podcasts in your interest area (iTunes or Stitcher are great places to start) and make a habit of listening to them as you’re getting ready in the morning, driving to and from your job, or making dinner.
- Search out an audiobook. If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t feel you have the time to sit down and read a book. Audiobooks can be a great option for people on the go, and you can listen to them incrementally during your morning and evening commute. Most libraries allow you to check out audiobooks for free. Look for nonfiction audiobooks related to your career interests.
- Watch a YouTube or Vimeo video. Skip the cat videos and seek out videos that relate to your professional area. These could be lectures TED talks on a topic, or video tutorials that help you build your skills in a particular area. There are also many videos on what it’s like to work in different professions that can help you evaluate a potential career move.
- Browse Alltop. Alltop is a site that aggregates headlines from newspapers, blogs and other publications. Check out the Alltop page for your industry—such as IT, health care and construction—to browse what’s happening in your field. All headlines are clickable and allow you to read the full articles on topics you’re interested in.
In addition to learning one new thing every day, make sure you’re passing this knowledge on! If you’ve set up your social media presence, posting a link to a relevant article a few times a week shows your followers that you’re committed to staying informed in your subject matter. You can also pair up with a friend or coworker and make a commitment to sharing the day’s news and things you’ve learned with one another.