How to keep learning while working full-time
min video //
min read //
November 14, 2023
In a world that’s evolving very quickly, the importance of continuous learning cannot be overstated. In fact, in many fields, advancements in tech are rendering much of what we had learned in school and university obsolete. As such, continuous learning is not simply a luxury but rather a necessity, especially for those looking to switch careers, progress within their existing roles, or enrich their knowledge.
However, for many of us, it can be difficult to find the time and energy for learning alongside our existing responsibilities at work. But fear not, as it is entirely possible to strike a balance between the two. In this blog, we’ll explore effective strategies to help you keep learning while working full-time.
Set clear goals and learning outcomes
The first step in successfully balancing learning and work is to define your goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve through your learning journey. Are you looking to acquire new skills relevant to your job, pursue a new career path, or simply explore a personal interest? Setting clear objectives will help you stay focused and motivated.
It is also important to set realistic goals and learning outcomes. For example, rather than choosing to pursue 4 different courses at once, focus on one to begin with. Realistic goals will provide you with a sense of direction and purpose, which will keep you focused and engaged.
Just as you prioritize tasks at work, you should prioritize learning. Block out specific time slots in your schedule for learning activities. It could be as simple as dedicating 30 minutes every morning or an hour every evening. Treat these learning appointments with the same level of importance as meetings or deadlines at work.
Establish a routine
When it comes to learning while working full-time, consistency is key. Establish a routine that works for you, whatever that may be. Whether you prefer early mornings, lunch breaks, or evenings, stick to your chosen learning schedule. Over time, it will become a habit, which makes it easier to integrate it into your routine.
According to Healthline, it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit.
Embrace online learning
The digital age of today has really revolutionized how we learn. Online platforms provide a variety of resources, including courses, tutorials, webinars, and forums. Many of these can also be accessed free of charge!
Make use of commute time
If you commute to get to work every morning, you can make use of your commute time to learn. Consider listening to educational podcasts, audiobooks, or language learning apps during your commute. If you’re not driving, you can also read or watch videos. In doing so, you can make the most of otherwise idle hours.
For example, in Istanbul, the average public transport commute is 68 minutes. So, commuters in Istanbul lose about 142 hours per year to traffic. If you live in Istanbul and commute to work, this means 142 hours that you could potentially use to learn something new!
Join professional networks
Of course, networking is no doubt super important for finding jobs, progressing your career, and widening your network. But did you know that networking is also a great way to learn? If you’re working full-time, you can keep learning by attending conferences, seminars, or join industry-related groups such as tech groups if you’re in tech. Engaging with peers can provide insights, access to valuable resources, and opportunities to share ideas and build new skills.
Seek support from your company
You can also ask for support from your company, especially when your learning outcomes will directly benefit your work. This could be in the form of more flexibility and time off or resources like training programs. Some companies allocate specific budgets for their staff’s continuous learning and skill development, so they may even be able to sponsor your studies!
In fact, more than 3 in 4 companies provide a selection of online learning or training for employees and new team members. So, seek support from your company, and seize the opportunities they give you!
As you manage your full-time job with your learning, you must stay organized. To do this, you can use calendars, create to-do lists, and utilize project management tools like Clickup, Todoist, and Trello.
In order to stay on top of your learning game, you must practice self-care. This is very important to avoid burnout given the pressures of also delivering on your full-time work commitments. Journal, get enough sleep, stay active, and eat well. Meditation and breathwork are also particularly helpful if you’re under a lot of stress. Check out tools like Headspace, Calm, or Oak for guided sessions. If you feel well mentally and emotionally, you will also be more likely to absorb and retain new information.
Stay flexible and adaptable
Finally, you must ensure you stay flexible and adaptable in case you miss a class or if you need to adjust your goals, your habits, or your learning approach. Just focus on maintaining a positive growth mindset, keep going, and do not give up even when it gets tough or it doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Ready to start your learning journey?
Learning while working full-time is no doubt a challenge – but one that is definitely worth taking! By setting clear goals, prioritizing learning, and following the strategies above, you can balance your career with your continuous learning and grow both professionally and personally. Remember that learning is a journey, and with dedication and commitment, you can continue to equip yourself with new knowledge and skills while still excelling in your career. Are you ready to start your learning journey? Here’s how to learn online in 5 steps.