Becoming a lifelong learner

Now well over two years out of college, I am always considering ways in which I can grow and thrive in my professional life. I’ve found that a lot of this growth can be fostered by a commitment to lifelong learning. Taking active steps in the pursuit of knowledge will keep you motivated, curious and in tune with the world around you. Luckily we’re in an age where information is at our fingertips and there are really simple steps you can take to continue learning and growing each day.

Learning on the job.
Find a role that challenges you. Being in a position where you’re learning something new everyday is not only going to keep you motivated but will force you to grow professionally. Millennials are notorious for switching roles every year or two, which could be due to the fact that we strive to continue growing, sometimes at an exponential pace. Holding onto a career and a team that encourages growth and evolves along with the industry will lead to natural learning and development.

Read everything.
Fall is the perfect time to curl up with a blanket by the fire and open a book, magazine or even an app. These are a few of my go-to’s in my free time or during my daily commute.

  • News – I’m pretty old fashioned and prefer to read physical books and magazines, but staying up on current events and industry news is best done online. I love waking up with theSkimm. Every morning there’s a hilarious but informative snapshot of current events and trending topics in my inbox. I also try to be proactive in reading technology news so I subscribe to TechCrunch and MediaPost email newsletters as well.
  • Books – In the context of professional development it’s certainly important to read non-fiction but there’s just something about a relaxing beach read or suspenseful novel that really resets your mind. I believe that a balance between the two is the key to remaining a motivated reader. Always having a book on hand can get pricey so I often turn to Half Price Books, Value Village or even the public library to keep my bookshelf fresh without spending a fortune.  
  • Magazines – Like books, there is such a variety of magazine topics that you can leverage them for learning in a number of ways. Personally, I don’t use magazines in a professional context but there are plenty of professional magazines out there. I subscribe to Seattle Met to keep up with what’s happening in my area and find activity and restaurant recommendations. I also use magazines like HGTV and Better Homes and Gardens as my escape into endless recipe and interior design ideas!

Commute with a podcast.
Honestly, I didn’t quite understand the popularity of podcasts until recently, but once I found shows that were relevant to me, I was hooked! Entertaining podcasts make a car, bus or train ride go much faster and can really get you thinking. I’ve also started listening to podcasts while getting ready for work. The right podcast will not only fill the silence of an empty house in the morning, but can be such a motivational way to start the day! My personal favorites for kick starting my weekdays are Girl Boss Radio with Sophia Amoruso, Office Hours with Spencer Rascoff and So Money with Farnoosh Tobari. They all typically feature interviews with inspiring professionals but are light enough to digest before 8am!

We all live such busy lives that finding time to dedicate to learning can be daunting, but fitting a couple of these simple items into your daily routine can make a world of difference. These were some of the steps I take daily to continue growing and I certainly feel more motivated to push forward when I make time for these activities. Challenge yourself to find one learning opportunity each day this week and see how you feel!

I’d love to hear your favorite podcasts, magazines and books. What other steps can you take to become a lifelong learner?


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