It is difficult to keep up with the pace of change. Technology becomes more advanced daily. In order to be effective and successful in our careers we need to humbly seek to increase our understanding, learning more about our chosen field, and increasing our knowledge about the world and other cultures.
Consider the following strategies to help you learn more this year and be more effective in your career.
Be a discerning reader (and listener)
Many of us get lost in the world of Facebook or Twitter without getting much beyond celebrity gossip, irritating trolls, or cute puppy videos. Instead, make an effort to limit your time on social media and grab a high-quality magazine, such as the New Yorker or Monocle. Make a practice of reading good books that bring you into unfamiliar (and uncomfortable) territory.
The same applies to your listening habits. Download a great podcast or audio book and listen in on your commute, rather than sports radio or a vapid talk show.
Seek out a mentor
Find your Jedi Master or, at least, someone who is smart and knowledgeable in your field and learn what you can from them. People are more generous than you might think and are often eager to share with others the lessons they have learned. Be bold, take the initiative, and invite a would-be mentor out to lunch today.
Ask for feedback from your boss
You might be one of those who tries to avoid his or her boss. This might be a common strategy, but it won’t aid your career. What you want, and need, is straightforward and honest feedback from your manager. This will enable you to understand your blind spots and weaknesses and become a more effective employee.
Don’t come home from work and mindlessly turn on the television. Watch with a purpose. Take a look at that documentary you’ve queued up on Netflix, or check out the new series on PBS. Or put aside the screens and grab a good book or invite a friend over for some meaningful conversation.
Take a class
Yes, this is an obvious one but should not be overlooked. You don’t need to spend a lot of money (or any at all), nor do you need to make a six-week commitment. Many classes are free—at your library, community center, church, or online—and require no more than an evening of your time or a few hours on a Saturday morning. You have many options and taking advantage of them can provide great benefits to your career.
Teach what you’re learning
One of the best ways to truly learn a subject is to teach it. Share what you’ve learned by providing a brief workshop at your place of employment or train your teammates in a special team meeting. This will reinforce what you’ve learned and make it more real to you.
Commit to learning more this year by implementing these strategies and you’ll likely experience more success at work and at home.