In 2010, encouraged by a mentor, I began listening to one audiobook per week. It changed my life. I felt more inspired, more innovative and more energized than I had ever done at school, university or at work.
It has been one of the single biggest contributors to my personal and professional success than anything else.
Over the next few years my time spent on learning grew. One day I calculated that excluding specific research for writing books or training programs that I’m developing, I consume ~700 hours of learning per year.
Per week, that breaks down into (on average):
- 10 hours listening to audiobooks (approx. 1 book per week)
- 2 hours reading books / articles
- 2 hours watching videos or completing e-learning exercises
- 1.46 hrs on ‘live’ courses (Conferences, Webinars, Workshops etc.)
Now, you might say: “Alexis, but you are different, you run your own business, so can find time for this and can fund it at will.”
But when I worked at other organizations (that I did not own), I worked fewer hours and had more spare time available. I also had access to training budgets and ‘free’ courses that I do not have now.
Where I find the money
This is easy.
It’s an investment. I find it typically pays back 10 times within a two year period, and many times more over the following years.
It’s also not that expensive. An audiobook is ~$10-15, I listen to ~1 per week, that’s less than $1,000 a year, for the majority of my continuing professional development. (costing 10 times cheaper than my Honors degree, despite being twice as useful).
Where I find the time
This is the tougher one.
Audiobooks are the best for this. I listen to them whenever I’m not able to work, not having to think hard, and not writing (I find these all conflict with listening to a book):
- Driving (~8 hours per week)
- Walking (Minimum 30 mins per day = 4 hours per week)
- Gardening (~4 hours per month = 1 hour per week) (That’s my garden in the photo)
- Cooking (~1 hour per week)
- Tidying / cleaning (~1 hour per week)
There are probably more activities that I also use for audiobooks, but just those few result in 15 hours a week of time available.
No excuses. I encourage you to increase the amount of time you spend on learning, and help your colleagues and employees do the same. I promise you’ll find it pays back more than 10 times over.
Please let me know in the comments: How do you make time for learning? What books or resources do you find most useful?