How to Learn New Skills When You Have a Busy Schedule

Whether we assign a dollar value to it or not, time is valuable to us. Think about it: How much of your typical work week do you spend stressed about not having enough time to complete a task or reach a goal?

Beyond the scope of work, what about chores and duties we have to manage at home? What about trying to spend time with friends, relatives, or pursuing a hobby?

It’s no surprise that life can seem to spiral out of control sometimes. Once our career gets started and you have several priorities on your daily to-do list, time becomes a hot commodity. When we struggle to find any time to do something ourselves before or after work, it can seem like learning new skills is impossible.

This problem all boils down to learning proper time management. Getting a handle on managing your time effectively and understanding what you stand to gain from it is important. Time is limited, no matter how you slice it, so would you rather spend your day being productive and improving yourself or doing nothing?

Feeling overwhelmed by everything life throws at you? Below, I’ve listed some easy tips and techniques you can integrate into your daily routine to keep your mind sharp and learning.

Build Reading or Audiobooks into Your Routine

Who has the time to read these days? I ask myself that each night before going to sleep, but I’ve found that reading helps keep my mind sharp and it’s better for you than watching TV or playing games. I tend to read fiction and mystery novels, so I can be immersed in the actions and stories of other characters.

As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for books where I can learn from the professionals in the industry. I can build off their work to teach myself how to improve my linguistics, style, and voice. For the non-writers out there, consider non-fiction books or magazines on topics you’re interested in like history, politics, or geography.

Audiobooks and podcasts take the benefits of reading a step further. While I prefer the medium of a physical book, the convenience of listening to a book is not to be disregarded. The best part is you can listen and learn wherever and whenever you want. Log onto Spotify, YouTube, Audible, or countless other places.

Learn Online

Technology and education are two industries that have steadily woven together over the recent decades. Online classes are easy and convenient to enroll into and can be done from your home, office, or the coffee shop. They’re a fantastic way to learn a new skill the formal way if you need instruction from experts.

You can learn many technical skills such as programming, SEO and even how to blog with WordPress, but there are also creative skills to learn such as Photoshop and web design. Since you can study at your own pace, you don’t need to feel committed to a certain course and you can generally switch whenever you want to. If something doesn’t suit you, then there’s no need to stick with it or request a refund—you can simply open up another course that could interest you.

Use Your Commute

I drive an hour to work and an hour home every day. it kind of sucks. I’ve come to leverage my commute into a period where I can learn new skills and build upon myself. Once I came to realize that I was pretty much a captive audience in my car (or the train or bus) for two hours each day, I knew that I could use that that time occupying myself with something better.

I use my commute to get my tasks and projects sorted for the day. With the free time available to me, I’ll run through the work I’ll need to do and assign time slots for when I anticipate these objectives to be finished.

This is a great time management hack that can do wonders for freeing up time. Experts and professionals recommend listing out what you need to do each day because it develops a routine. By anticipating what you need to do and when you need to do it by, you’ll come to realize how much more time you have. From there, the next step is to review your daily agenda and trim the fat. Where can you cut down on or improve?

Immerse Yourself in Culture

Maybe you aren’t in the business of learning a new, practical skill such as Photoshop or another language. Instead, you can learn new things embedding yourself in the culture of where you live.

Investigate local attractions like parks and museums to learn about art. Take a crafts course at the community center to learn something new. Sign up for newsletters and opt-in notifications for events in your area and subscribe to local news outlets to stay in the loop of what’s happening around town.

You can also take your learning adventure into cyberspace. You can watch documentaries, educational YouTube videos, or listen to TED talks on all manner of subjects.

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