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How To Create a Learning Plan

Five ways I sneak learning material into my every day.

In the last blog we looked through the steps you can take to get started on your professional development learning journey. Now let’s look at how you can make a schedule that works for you.

Nonprofit professionals rarely have extra time. Our jobs, by nature, extend well beyond Monday to Friday, 9-5pm and the job description. So, taking on extra work or task doesn’t come easy. To to make a plan that you can stick with, you need to find what specifically will work for you. Rather than have me telly ou what you should do, let me tell you what works for me. Here are four ways I sneak learning material into my every day.

Finding Opportunities

Perhaps you set aside one lunch each week for attending a webinar, or 15 minutes each day for reading, or listen to audio content while commuting or doing chores, whatever it is, it is personalized for you.

For me, it goes like this:

  • Each day I take about 30 minutes to read through newsletters, news articles, and Google alerts. It took a few years, but eventually I realized this was best accomplished not first thing, when I like doing it best, rather after the first or second task of the day has been accomplished. When I start the day with reading, it tends to take much longer. Thirty minutes can stretch to sixty, easily. So, I first start with some easy to achieve, but also easy to procrastinate tasks, then on to reading
  • If this daily commitment doesn’t work for you, another way to stay on top of this type of content, which can easily pile is to create a folder in your email for Articles, or News, or Reading. Put all of those newsletters in there and clear it out at regular intervals, like once per week or every second week.
  • Next, I pair up webinars with mundane tasks. A mundane task is something that does not require very much thought, like data entry, printing & stuffing envelopes, or filing (digitally this means clearing my desktop).
  • Daily, I listen to podcasts about the nonprofit community while cooking dinner, (I save the other podcasts or audio books for chores, which are usually done later in the day). This time can also be used to listen to an audio book related to work.
  • I also read daily. This may sound absurd, but I read 3 pages a day. Having a limit gives me the option of reading while I’m waiting for something to happen. This easily replaces mindless scrolling. I normally leave this book in the kitchen.

What works for you? If you have any tips to share, please add them in the comments.

In the next blog we’ll look at how to manage the content of learning.