The world is changing faster than ever before.
“We are now living through the “age of accelerations” underpinned by those converging technological advances put in motion a decade ago. The pace of change (speed) and rate of change (exponential) are in many cases exceeding our capacity to cope with change.” Peter Griffin, Listener
Now, more than ever before, you are expected to stay current to stay relevant. To remain complacent in your job or business is likely to result in you being passed up by the competition and falling behind.
In this article, I’ll share what I learned about beating the overwhelm and keeping relevant in the digital age.
You can do online training, go back to school, attend workshops, or try a webinar – who hasn’t had 10 invites to webinars in their inbox just this week!? Yet, as you just read, technology is shifting faster than we can even adapt to.
All of this noise just gets to be overwhelming. How do you keep up in a world that has so much change?
Well, I can tell you what I tried, why IT WASN’T WORKING, and what I learned to move past it.
To keep up and “get ahead” I thought I needed more tools and resources. I dove head first into all the business books, podcasts, video learnings, and ecourses I could find.
On video trainings I’d find myself turning the playback speed up to double time so I could get through more content in less time. I skipped the practical exercises and told myself I’d come back to them later (I never did). I just had to keep checking off modules and trainings.
The faster I consumed information, the more I felt my anxiety build. I needed more. If only I could get the next certification then I would feel credible and knowledgeable
Pretty soon I was spending hours a week diving through e-learnings, working part-time on my business, and all of this was on top of a normal job and a commute.
I felt like I was falling even more behind…because I was.
I was so focused on learning that I was missing out on the doing.
The courses and content I was consuming were AMAZING, don’t get me wrong. It just wasn’t an effective way to go about it.
Think about it this way: If you want to get healthy, a good way to start is by eating healthy foods. But you don’t usually see people going out and trying to eat 15 lbs. of celery in a day to try and get healthier faster. Number one, I don’t know anyone who can eat that much celery in a day, and number two, it won’t make a difference in one day.
It takes consistent small actions to result in a change in your health. The same is true of learning. Most of you have gone to school for a number of years in your life, and it was that consistent action over time that led you to become who you are today.
We should all be learning new things all the time. It’s an amazing way to experience the world and continue to improve yourself, as well as put you in line for better things in your business or career. But learning should not come at the expense of actual, tangible progress.
And it doesn’t have to. Through this experience, I’ve learned some valuable lessons I’ll share with you here.
Just like healthy eating, we need a plan and some boundaries for our learning to maximize the productivity we receive out of it.
Make a list of what training you need.
What areas in you life do you need/want more training in?
Which ones will help you immediately in maximizing your career or business?
Which ones will help you in the long term?
Rank them by order of priority and benefit.
Be present & commit.
An hour of focused training is worth more than 10 hours of a course you didn’t focus on and didn’t glean the meaning of.
If you are going to use your precious time training, put your phone away, be present, commit to the exercises, and really learn.
If you can’t commit to this, you’re better off watching Netflix. It will at least be fun!
Set time limits.
It’s easy to sit in front of an e-course and obsessively attend each course, or attend every one of those 10 free webinars that are sitting in your inbox right now.
But if you did that, you’d be learning more than doing! So don’t do that.
How much time do you actually have, or want, to spend on training and learning? Keep in mind that less is usually more – be intentional, focused, realistic, and strategic about where and how much of your time you invest. For some of you, this might be a few hours a week, for others maybe it’s only one.
Whatever it is, write it down, or schedule it on your calendar. This is now your commitment, stick to it!
Narrow your list.
Grab that list of prioritized trainings you wrote in number 1. Now look at how much time you committed in number 2.
Now it’s time to choose which trainings you actually have time for.
Don’t forget to account time for homework and practical application.
Put the others on a shelf for later, when you might have more time, or they might be more necessary.
Apply, apply, apply!
The best way to retain knowledge is to use it. Make sure the training is something you can practice in your daily life or work – and do that!
If I can give you one indication of if you are doing too much or too little training, it is how you feel.
If you feel totally comfortable in your life and career, you’re may be needing a challenge or falling behind. Evaluate your position, and consider learning something new.
If you are investing a lot of time in training, but you still feel totally anxious, like you can’t keep up, and maybe you even feel like a fraud – then you need a focused plan. Use the steps we just went through to build one.
If you’re feeling slightly uncomfortable, like you could know more, but you know enough to get by – that’s the sweet spot. In this spot that slight discomfort serves as a constant motivator to continue to move forward and learn. The most successful people I know are always in this sweet spot.
So go be uncomfortable. Continue to learn new things and apply them daily as you continue to morph into a better version of you!