Hey Friend, do you need more learning in your life?
Lifelong learning makes life exciting, opens opportunities for us, keeps us young, prepares us to make the world a better place, and leads to greater happiness. But how do we find time for it? Often our days are crammed and time is a rare commodity.
Often, for me, the hardest part is to start. To actually carve out the time from the demands of life and make learning a priority. Once I’ve got started, the excitement and thrill of learning motivates. When my learning is driving me towards accomplishing a goal or making a difference then it kicks me into overdrive and finding time for learning isn’t the problem anymore: finding time for everything else is the struggle!
Here are a dozen ideas to help you find dedicated study time, become intentional about your learning, and make a few adjustments in your habits that will help you become the learning superhero you want to be.
Know your WHY.
I think this is probably the most important thing you can do to make more time for learning. When you have a compelling reason for the learning you are doing, you will automatically make it a priority.
Are you learning about essential oils so you can help heal your family’s health problems naturally?
Are you learning about social media marketing so you can start a home-based business to be able to work while being at home with your kids?
Are you learning about principles of liberty so you can defend the loss of freedom you see in our society?
Are you learning how to communicate effectively so you can strengthen your marriage?
Are you learning about all the best kayak destinations in the world so you can live your dreams of, well, kayaking in all the best kayaking destinations in the world??? (That’s me for sure!)
The idea is to pursue education like a desperate woman searching for her keys when she’s late for an important appointment. You NEED this education to get where you want to go, that you need to go, where you are passionate about going. Find your passion and follow it by learning all you can to fill it.
Once you get this one down, the rest is a whole lot easier.
“Education prepares you for better employment opportunities. It puts you in a better position to serve and to bless those around you. It will set you on a path of lifelong learning. It will strengthen you to fight against ignorance and error. Education will prepare you for what is ahead…” Robert D. Hales
Put away technology that is stealing your precious time.
Leave your phone outside your bedroom so you can grab a few minutes of reading “from the best books” before you go to sleep and when you first wake up in the morning. Instead of reaching for your phone in spare minutes or to relax, grab a book. Fill your mind with knowledge and expansive ideas to think about through your day rather than mindless trivia and other people’s agendas.
“… seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” Doctrine and Covenants 88:118
Set a specific daily learning appointment with yourself.
This is your sacred time. Protect it. Look forward to it. Get up early and go to bed early for it. Cut out social media scrolling for it. Call it your study session, brain blitz, your delicious mental retreat, or whatever makes you happy. Just get creative to carve out time for learning. Start with 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night and work up to at least an hour of study a day. This will become your favorite time of the day.
Have a plan.
Have a plan of what you will do during your learning appointment. Make it EASY for yourself! When you arrive at your daily learning appointment with yourself, be prepared with what you are going to do. Don’t waste this time wondering what you’re going to learn about and how you’re going to do it. Keep reading for some great ideas to help you plan ahead.
You’ll want t make every minute count. Have your materials ready to go and your space planned ahead of time. Choose a time and place where you won’t have distractions. It’s always nice to have something nice to sip or snack on too.
Keep a book list.
Keep a running list of books you want to read. Ask friends and family you trust for recommendations. Check out suggestions from an internet search. You can’t go wrong with most classics. Keep at least 3 physical copies of books from your list on hand. One good plan is to always be in the middle of a paper book and an audio book so depending on where you’re at you can learn. You are never lonely or bored if you have a good book to read.
Here are a few of my favorites at the moment:
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph. D
- All That Makes Life Bright, by Josi S. Kilpack
- Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish, by Sue Bender
- How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller
- A Lantern in her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich
Make a learn list.
Create a list of topics you want to study. This is your to-do list of learning. If your list isn’t very long right now, help yourself see the expansive and irresistible possibilities. Pick up a book. Get lost in a search of “interesting things to learn about” on google and start there. When something piques your curiosity, write it down. Pretty soon you will have a list that wakes you up in the morning. Cultivate your curiosity. Feed it. Reward it. Encourage it.
Here are a few things on my current learn-list:
- Digital graphic design
- Teachings of Christ in the New Testament
- How to oil paint in a chunky, free style
- Social media marketing
- How to tell an engaging story
Use podcasts and audiobooks.
Listen to podcasts or audiobooks while walking, chopping vegetables for dinner, making breakfast, folding laundry, waiting while you pick up kids, driving from one activity to the other, pulling weeds, raking leaves, getting a pedicure, or waiting at a doctor’s office. There are a bunch of time-pockets throughout our days that you could easily fill with learning!
In case you’re new to podcasts, here’s a great primer to get you started.
Here are some of my favorite podcasts right now: The Mission Driven Mom, Art of Manliness, About Progress, The Tony Robbins Podcast. Our family has used Audible and loves the easy access to audio books it provides.
Make digital study easy and convenient.
It’s easier now more than ever to learn right at home at your computer. E-books, digital courses, subscription services and online publications abound for whatever topic you want to study. But along with these come a bunch of login passwords.
Make digital studying easy with passwords recorded in one safe easy-to-access place so it’s ready to go and you don’t spend precious time looking for what you want and trying to figure out how to access it.
Go on monthly learning dates.
Set aside a monthly learning date with yourself and anyone else you can rope into it. This is different from your daily learning appointment. It’s a little fancier. It’s a little more fun! Like Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research.” Take time to play! It’s all in the name of research, right?
Attend a class, lecture, volunteer opportunity, or adventure. It would be even more fun if your husband will go with you or a friend who shares your interests. Taking your kids along is a fantastic way to model what lifelong learning looks like. Help ignite a passion for learning in their hearts. You can even create these experiences yourself by hosting a class or lecture at your house to discuss a topic or book.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” ~Brigham Young
Seek a mentor or a study group.
Find someone that knows something you want to know and ask them questions. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. . How else are you going to learn what you want to know unless you ask? Don’t waste time searching when you could go right to a reliable source.
Bill Nye has said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” Tap into that resource!
I did this recently at a fundraiser for the youth of our church. I entered the room where items of the silent auction were displayed and a local artist had several of her pictures set out. I was mesmerized! She painted the exact style I’ve been trying to learn for years! I could never find a teacher in that loose, fresh style I love. I started asking around if anyone knew her and if she was there. I wanted to meet her!
I tracked her down and after a lively conversation, I was bold enough to ask if she taught lessons and if she would mentor me. She didn’t teach – yet – but was willing to take me on. She also invited me to a painting class she attends. Bonus! My desire to learn squashed any hesitancy to ask.
“Our intellectual and spiritual growth through education is a righteous pursuit and represents our willingness to fulfill a commandment of God. Investments in our own development are worthwhile because we are daughters of God, and He wants us to reach our divine potential in every possible way.” Eva Witesman
Take community, college, or online courses and classes.
Think outside the box – your learning doesn’t have to be a traditional university or college experience. There are so many options and opportunities out there with the technology we now have.
If you are interested in gaining the classical education that you never had, check out the Mission Driven Mom Academy – it is my favorite place to start gaining the education you always wanted in preparation for living life mission. It is an online program where moms just like you and me study classics to learn the four foundational laws of life mission to prepare and start living life mission.
Keep a study notebook.
When your brain is on fire with so many questions, new-found truths, and fascinating information, you need a place to collect it all. Whether you use notes or an app on your phone, or like a more analog approach and carry around a notebook or journal with you, it’s important to record your curiosities and learning. Then, the ideas, information, and inspiration you’ve received while studying is right at your fingertips for reference, and you have a quick place to write your questions and ideas down for your next study session. I get so much JOY out of my study notes. They motivate me to learn something new so I can document it and add it to my collection of truth.
Hey Friend, which of these ideas got you excited? Which ones do you want to try first? I challenge you to make more time for learning in your life and see if it brings more abundance.
When I make learning a priority I always feel more interested and more interesting! I hope you’ll let me know how these ideas work for you too.