I have noticed a pattern among bloggers when it comes to learning. In fact, I have seen this same learning pattern happen in my own life. Learning is fun. Learning is exciting. Learning feels like we are making progress. I am not against learning and growing. I think you should. I think we should be life-long learners. However, there is a right and wrong way to go about this.
You should not be learning, if:
- It is during your “prime time.” Whether you blog on the side or full-time, you need to have a “prime time.” A sacred time of the day when you are focused on creating. Whether it is creating a blog post, podcast, video, course, or ebook, you need dedicated time to do so. As others have so eloquently put it, you cannot consume and create at the same time. It is like trying to drink and talk at the same time. It just cannot be done.
- You don’t have a strategy for putting it into action. How many people do you know that are “super smart” but their actions tell you a different story. It is like listening to a long lecture about exercise and nutrition from an obese person. I’m not trying to be unkind. I am making a point. Knowledge for knowledge sake isn’t useful. You have to put it into action. Wisdom is putting feet to your knowledge. Focused learning with a strategy is a much better way. I call it just-in-time learning.
The Benefits of Just-in-Time Learning
What does “just-in-time” mean? In the business world, just-in-time is described this way:
A strategy for inventory management in which raw materials and components are delivered from the vendor or supplier immediately before they are needed in the manufacturing process.
Okay, so that was a mouthful. What does it have to do with me and my blogging career? There is a lot to learn about blogging.
You can’t learn it all in a day, week, or month. The sooner you accept that reality the better off you will be. If you want to grow your blog and grow “you” at the same time, here is how you do it.
1. Learn only what is necessary at the moment. In other words, what one specific area can you grow in that will yield the best results right now? I use Evernote to manage just about everything. One of my notes is labelled “Weekly Focus.” I choose one area that I want to specifically grow in. I resist the temptation to learn about anything else until I have conqured a subject matter. I recently used this process to learn and publish my first Kindle book.
2. Record what you have learned along the way. Whether you highlight in a book, write ideas down on a 3×5, or put everything into a mindmap, you need to have a way to collect what you have learned. Why? Because we so easily forget what we just read. I like to use a mindmap. It allows me to capture things I have learned. I can always better organize it later. Organizing a mindmap on a topic for me feels a lot like developing my own strategy.
For the past two weeks my “weekly focus” has been about learning email marketing. It is a specific area I want to grow further in. There are things I do that work, but I still have room for improvement. I am actually going to be sharing some of what I have learned in a later post.
3. Let speed of implementation rule the day. I can not stress this enough. In some ways, I wish I would have made this more of a habit in my life sooner. How quickly can you move from learning to taking action? how soon can you implement what you just learned. Again, do not read just to learn. Read to take action.
For example, I just finished Michael Hyatt’s new book Platform. I would encourage you all to read it. His philosophy mirrors ours very closely when it come to blogging. You have probably heard us say that you build a blog “brick-by-brick.” His book talks about how to build a platform “plank by plank.” In fact, his book is a how to manual. It is filled with actionable steps. I often wonder how many people will read the book, enjoy it, and not take any action. Don’t let it be true about you.
How can you put this into action right now?
Hopefully you are motivated after reading this. Let me leave you with one specific way you can start the “just-in-time” learning process. In the right column of this blog, you will see “categories.” We have tagged all of our post into certain categories as we have published them. By selecting a category, you can learn and grow in a specific area.
A few of the categories include: blogging basics, creating content, getting traffic, blog design, or making money. Choose a category, learn, record, and develop an action plan.
- You cannot consume and create at the same time.
- Wisdom is putting feet to your knowledge.
- Focused learning with a strategy is a much better way.
- Learn only what is necessary at the moment.
- Record what you have learned along the way.
- Let speed of implementation rule the day.