Working full-time checks a lot off our to-do lists, such as paying bills, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, saving for retirement, and enjoying leisure activities occasionally. Often, though, it leaves a feeling of stagnation in the way of growth and progress. Because you may be going to work and getting paid, and as much as you enjoy the job, it can still feel like you’re stuck in a rut. And why shouldn’t it – you’re doing the same tasks day in, day out. Not only is this feeling of stagnation uncomfortable, but it’s also unproductive.
However, learning new skills can help break this pattern, keep you sharp, motivated, and current with the changing trends, challenge you to think in new ways, and help you grow professionally. Besides, it also can help open up doors to promotions or even land a new job. Employers look for individuals who stay ahead of the curve, and learning new skills is a great way to stay competitive and boost your resume.
Fortunately, with a few strategic steps, you can learn new skills and continue progressing in your career while keeping your current job. Here are some tips:
Enroll in an Online Degree Program
Whether you’re working in the tech, education, finance, or healthcare industry, enrolling in an online degree program can help expand your knowledge base, equip you with the latest industry trends, and prepare you for future professional demands. You can study at your own pace and around your current job schedule and learn under the guidance of professionals with years of experience and knowledge in their respective fields.
However, you must choose an accredited program to ensure the highest quality education and proper recognition. For instance, if you’re a teacher or an educator, consider enrolling in NCATE accredited online programs and learn all the aspects of the profession, from assessment to curriculum design and instruction.
Nothing beats the experience of attending an interactive workshop to gain hands-on skills and learn from a professional. You can find workshops in your city or nearby area to gain the necessary skills and knowledge.
How to make the most of a professional workshop?
- Arrive on time
- Take notes
- Be present during the discussions and exercises
- Participate in activities
- Ask questions and raise doubts when something is unclear.
Also, don’t hesitate to interact with other attendees – networking and building connections are essential to learning new skills. You’ll find numerous like-minded people with similar interests and goals who can help you learn effectively.
What better way to learn than from the pros? Books are bibles of knowledge. Reading them will give you an understanding of the concepts from a different angle. Plus, they come at reasonable prices, are easy to carry and access, and can be read anytime, anywhere.
You can also join a reading club to stay motivated and discuss essential points with other members. Or join an online discussion forum to ask questions and discuss your doubts with fellow readers. It’s best to read at least one book a month to stay ahead of the curve and gain new insights you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Important points to remember when reading:
- Highlight important points and take notes
- Read actively, meaning don’t just read the words – interpret them and think critically
- Ask yourself questions to understand the content better
- Focus on one topic at a time and go in-depth
If you’re a slow reader, learn the tricks to speed read, so you can finish the book faster and make the most of your time.
Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are the lemons of the modern age. You can listen to them anytime, anywhere – on your commute, during lunch break, while doing chores around the house – and learn something new.
You can explore topics like coding, marketing, finance, writing, and teaching; the list goes on. And many of these podcasts are also quite entertaining – some feature guests, interviews, and narrations.
Listen to at least one podcast a week and take notes on what you hear or learn. It’s also essential to apply the knowledge you gain.
A mentor is a person who guides you, teaches you, and helps you take the proper steps to learn new skills and progress in your career. Ask someone you trust and respect for mentorship – usually, mentors are experienced individuals knowledgeable about the industry and can help you navigate your career path.
Schedule a meeting every week or month and ask them questions, discuss your doubts, and take their advice. If you can’t find a mentor in real life, start looking online or join professional forums to connect with like-minded people and learn from them.
Take It Slow
Learning as much as possible is tempting, but it’s essential to take it slow. Learning too many things at once can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. And since you’re already working full-time, your mental and physical health should precede everything else.
What can you do?
- Make a learning plan.
- Set achievable targets and work on one skill at a time.
- Break down the task into smaller sub-tasks.
- Know your learning style and then pick suitable learning methods.
- Reward yourself for meeting your goals.
Don’t let your curiosity make learning a chore. If at any point you feel overwhelmed, take a break and rest.
Learning new skills requires a great deal of discipline. You cannot expect to learn something overnight. And if you keep procrastinating, you won’t be able to meet your goals.
How to stop procrastinating?
The way you plan your day makes all the difference.
- Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks
- Set deadlines for each task
- Eliminate distractions (turn off notifications, unplug devices)
Learning new skills is the key to staying competitive and progressing in your career. And fortunately, you don’t have to quit your job to acquire them or spend a fortune. One of the best ways to learn new skills is by enrolling in an advanced degree program, which provides a comprehensive curriculum. You can also attend workshops, read books, listen to podcasts, and seek out mentors for guidance. But take it slow – don’t try to learn too much at once, and give yourself time to process each new concept.
My name is Andrea Thompson and I’m a home based freelance writer. I’m 23 years old, married to my best friend, and mother to a wonderfully independent and opinionated 3 year old girl and step-mother to a sweet seven year old boy. I live in a tiny, little town in Kentucky, where I spend my free time fishing with my kids.
Writing has always been my passion, which I followed through high school, and for a while in college. Life happened, and once I discovered we were pregnant, I switched directions; opting for the healthcare industry because of the stability.
Finally, years later, I was in a place where I could leave the day job that never truly made me happy, and pursue my dreams. I’ve built, and am still building, my writing career from scratch. But, I’m passionate and I’m good at what I do. And, in the end, I can prove to my daughter that she can do anything she wants with this life.