1. Listen to audiobooks. Every morning when I cook breakfast and get ready to go to our office, I listen to an audiobook on some aspect of business that can improve my ability to be an effective CEO. I love it because I don’t lose any time since I can get mundane tasks done at the same time. Pro tip: You can listen to books at 1.5 to 2 times the speed so you can get more information in less time.- Mark Krassner, Expectful
2. Block off learning times each week. I block off one afternoon per week for reading. This is my opportunity to learn about trends or new topics that could help further my business. I’ve found that this type of informal education has been the most valuable to me. Having a consistent chunk of time where I can go deep has made concepts more sticky, and has enabled me to come up with some big ideas.- Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile
3. Attend virtual conferences.
There is a slew of new virtual conferences that don’t require travel time and logistics. They are structured similar to regular conferences, with keynotes, workshops and panels, just with all content online. They are typically lower in cost and can deliver content as good as in-person ones, especially since you can jump out of a boring virtual session easily.
4. Take part in panel discussions.
There is always a lot of new information to take away from panel discussions at conferences. Whether I am participating in them or simply taking it in as a viewer, hearing the top experts in a field share their stories and experiences has aided in my growth.
5. Spend more time reading daily.
The best way to learn is by reading and using your time wisely to do so. I think to some extent we are all guilty of spending unnecessary time on social media and don’t realize the time we spend on it. I’d rather use my time efficiently and learn more about my industry. After forming this habit, I was amazed at how much knowledge I was gaining.
6. Surround yourself with the right people.
“You are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time.” Be intentional about who those people are so that you’re learning and growing together. I’ve gotten my “MBA on the streets” through a number of piecemeal efforts, most of which stems back to being surrounded by the right people (they’re the ones who suggest the right conferences, books, tools and insights).
7. Minimize searching for new content.
There’s always the next best business book to read. I found myself spending hours a month researching the next book to read versus actually reading. I stick with one author and try to digest everything they’ve written. This month, it’s Simon Sinek. When searching for the next book or interview to consume, I listen for the people he references and buy those books.
8. Take courses online.
Websites like lynda.com and udemy.com offer thousands of online courses you can take in your spare time. It’s a great way to learn new skills and further my education without committing to a strict and demanding schedule. I like to offer these courses to my employees, as well.
9. Listen to podcasts.
Podcasts are a great way to further your education while optimizing your time during lulls in your day like your commute to work. Some podcasts, like Tim Ferriss, can seem overwhelming due to their longer length format. However, there are shorter casts such as On Being, which only lasts 50 minutes. Both podcasts include interviews with world-class entrepreneurs, philosophers and thought leaders.
10. Participate in entrepreneur Slack channels.
I’ve explored and joined quite a few entrepreneur-based Slack channels (I’ve also created one). Visiting these channels in the day takes very little time, but offers big benefits as far as instant access to opinions and experience. I like to drop by when I have a free moment to ask a question or to see what today’s big discussion is. It’s easy to jump in and give it more time if needed.
11. Buy videos from conferences.
Twice I have saved myself a ton of time (and money for flights and hotel stays) by buying the videos from conferences that I wanted to attend and just did not have time to go to in person. There was also the added benefit of being able to watch the videos on my own time (and watch them more than once). This may only be an option if you have attended the conference in person previously.