How Can You Make Time for Learning?

Last Updated: 06 June 2022

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Maturing as a learner is realising that you don’t automatically ‘have’ time for things. Instead, you know that you have to make time by prioritising tasks and holding yourself accountable.

In this article, we’ll discuss four techniques for making time to learn, as well as four ways you can get back into learning after falling off the education wagon.

How can you make time to learn every day?

  1. Be clear with yourself and those around you: Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that there’s a room in your house where you can close the door and be met with complete solitude and silence. Whether it’s your mum calling to see how your day’s been or your kids wanting to show you the coolest rock they’ve ever found, there are bound to be distractions during your education sessions. A great way to combat this is to let the people that you interact with most know that every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday you’re going to put aside two hours for learning. Whether that means your partner takes the kids or your mum waits for you to call her, this should give you some space to focus as well as another way to hold yourself accountable for your planned learning.

  2. Plan ahead: There’s nothing more daunting than sitting down to complete a task and having to start and finish it in a single sitting. Instead, you should put aside five minutes at the end of each session to plan the next session of learning. This could be making a list of educational resources in your Ausmed portfolio or saving some relevant TedTalks into your Youtube account. Simple, quick and means you can hit the ground running in the next session.

  3. Prioritise: You don’t have to go through every single activity in a learning session in order to prioritise your time. Instead, you can do more of a blanket prioritisation where you rank goals, and then these rankings apply to whichever learning activities fall under those goals. That way, if you run out of time to do a whole learning session, you can still do a shorter session and get closer to completing your primary goals.

  4. Reward yourself: Oldest trick in the book: if you finish your planned learning, you get to demolish a whole block of fruit and nut chocolate. In all seriousness, you should always have something waiting for you on the other side, whether it’s a good meal, a new episode of your favourite TV show or a long walk in the park. Positive affirmation, though basic, is very effective.

How can you get back into the flow of learning?

Life happens and sometimes you’ll miss a learning session – it happens to everyone! Here are a few steps you can use to get past it and start learning effectively again.

  1. Cut yourself some slack: You didn’t fail by missing a learning session. Learning is meant to enhance your life, not rule it. Hence, you build learning around your life, not the other way around.

  2. Recalibrate your learning schedule: Given you missed one, have you taken into account your other responsibilities? Are the scheduled times working for you? Maybe you really want to be a morning learner, but in reality you’re more likely to commit to learning later in the evening? Before you restart your learning campaign, you need to make sure you’re not setting yourself up to fall back off the wagon.

  3. Understand that it’s not all or nothing: Even if you can only put aside a few minutes to complete some learning throughout the week, give yourself credit and acknowledge that you’re committing to your goal. Maybe you want to be completing five hours a week in the future, but don’t put that expectation on yourself yet. Build up to it and enjoy those few minutes in those early weeks.

  4. Keep a strong grasp on why you’re learning: Is your goal to master some management/leadership skills so you can receive a promotion, or are you narrowing a knowledge gap so you can provide more fulfilling care to your patients? Either way, keep this in the forefront of your mind and hold yourself accountable to that goal.

How can I optimise my learning even more?

At Ausmed, we believe that effective learning is the best way to provide effective care. With this in mind, effective learning is also a habit – and a skill! – that requires lots of practice and even more trial and error.

Find more content like this under the Learning Theories tab on The Handover, your source for all the latest guides to improve your learning. Here are just a few:

Don’t be intimidated by designated education sessions: take the pressure off by staying focused on your overall goals and always plan ahead!

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