As professional, career-driven individuals we work hard and often, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for self-learning. We all understand the importance of it, but in a 12 to 14 hour day, how the hell do you fit it in?

The fact is if you don’t stay on top of industry news and trends you are no longer relevant and that can make it pretty hard to earn a living. Regardless of what you do for a living, you need to continually educate yourself on what is happening in the world as we are constantly pressed for knowledge wherever we go.

So how do you do it? Since not sleeping isn’t an option, I mapped out some other alternatives.

  1. Utilize tools. Set up a Feedly account and categorize your news in folders and set aside 30 minutes a day to peruse news and stay up-to-date on your industry and the world. I have my news categorized by marketing, public relations, social media, business news and inspiration. Digesting information in 30 minute increments, once a day is completely doable.
  2. Podcasts. Podcast audiences are growing, and at a rapid rate. Americans spend about 2 percent of their daily share of audio consumption listening to podcasts, according to a study by Edison. This has likely increased since this study. Podcasts are available on any electronic device, I listen through iTunes and have just started making my way down this Inc. magazine list.
  3. Read. I know so old-school, who has time for that? Perhaps I am an old soul, but there is nothing more satisfying to me than really consuming a book and highlighting the passages that speak to you. In fact, right now, I have Jeffery Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling in my bag. It is a good reminder to me on keeping the relationship in selling. Some of my other favorites are Purple Cow by Seth Godin, Linchpin by Seth Godin, Smart Networking by Liz Lynch and anything by Malcolm Gladwell. These books sit on my shelf in my office and when I need some inspiration I grab one and flip to one of the passages I previously marked.
  4. Webinars.  Just the other day, my team and I sat down and participated in a pitching webinar put on by Cision. It was an hour, over lunch that we spent learning and discussing (and eating). There were a lot of resources and tips shared and we were able to engage with other participants via Twitter. Ragan.com has a lot of great webcasts and webinars and you can watch on your own time.
  5. Twitter Chat. I have to admit, I don’t do this on a regular basis but the ones I do participate in have connected me to individuals that I can continue to learn from. Looking for the right Twitter Chat for you? TweetReport.com has a comprehensive list broken down by weekday, topic, host, etc. If you find chats overwhelming, use a tool like TweetChat.com to help you manage and engage.

There is so many other ways to pursue knowledge, whether it is a conference, breakfast speaker series, luncheon event, etc. It all takes time, and you have to find what works for you. Maybe that is getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning or setting 30 minutes aside before you tuck yourself in for the night…the important thing is that you do it.

Have other ideas? Tools? I would love to hear from you. Drop you comment below or shoot me an email at kim@834design.com.

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