Learning is necessary to thrive in our uncertain, fast-changing work environment. We all need to keep our skills fresh to stay relevant. But what if you are too busy to take time to learn?

The secret is to make it a habit. Think about it this way. Imagine a person who goes to gym every morning. One day that person starts a new job, and they stop exercising because they want to settle in at work. Two to three weeks later, they find it almost impossible to return to gym because the habit has been broken.

It’s for this reason that when new employees join the organisation, we try to create the learning habit from the very beginning. However, we are often bound by how we frame learning. We need to release ourselves from the traditional mindset that says learning is a formal process that requires hours of our time. Because we are adults, we are in charge; we set the rules.

Learning should be fun and engaging, inspiring creativity and inquisitiveness. It should be unique to each individual, and it should be a life-long pursuit. Here are some ways to ensure you enjoy and benefit from learning.

Make it easy

To build a new habit requires consistency. For that reason, it’s important to start with something that is easy. For example, imagine committing to learning for just ten minutes a day. Prove to yourself that you can stick to this for a month, and you will be on a roll.

Get excited about it

We have many opportunities for learning every day, whether it’s watching a quick video online, listening to a TED Talk, or meeting with co-workers, managers and customers. If we take the time the time at the end of every week to reflect on what we have learned, it can make all the difference because we start to become excited about our newly acquired knowledge.

Have a purpose in mind

To learn effectively and feel good about it, it’s important to be intentional. When we look at ourselves holistically, we can determine what it is we know, and what we need to know more about. If you work in finance, for example, what you learned five years ago may be less applicable to what the role requires today, and you may feel the need to brush up on your knowledge and skills in this sphere. We become more attentive, curious, and passionate about learning when we can see its relevance to our lives and when we can use that learning to solve problems that matter to us.

Reward yourself

Tangible, concrete rewards that are easy to implement in everyday life can make all the difference. Try to reward yourself for attempting the things you’re striving to learn – whether that means a walk in the park, a cup of coffee, or a phone call with a friend. It will lead to far more productivity than punishing yourself for not competing a task.

Believe in yourself

Self-belief is about confidence, but it’s about so much more than that. The way to build confidence is to motivate yourself to try new things, have the resilience to keep going and learn from past mistakes, and have the positive attitude to help you see everything as a learning process. It’s also helpful if you can build relationships with people who are encouraging and who can provide mentorship in the workplace and outside of it too. Self-belief is highly valued by employers, and it also makes a big difference to how much you enjoy the work you do.

The more you learn the more adaptable you are to the changing world around you, and the more innovative your thinking. Innovative thinking is the ability to come up with new ideas and novel approaches to problems. It is about being creative and flexible. With technology moving fast, your ability to be flexible and to adapt to change is crucial if you want to have a successful and lengthy career.

[Photo by George Milton from Pexels]