Personal and professional growth require continuous education. Ambitious professionals must stay ahead of the game and be aware of the latest ideas and developments. They also need to constantly upgrade their skills to keep up with the fast-evolving trends. Allocating time for learning is always a challenge, though. The three tools discussed in this article will help to embark into daily learning and do it efficiently.
You probably have been in a situation where you wanted to read the latest bestseller but kept putting it down because you didn’t have enough time. The great solution to this is audio books.
Audio books have been around for long time but are still an under-utilized resource. Learning becomes so much easier with audio books. You can listen to a book while commuting, travelling, doing chores or working out. A book consisting of 350 pages equals to an average of seven hours of narration. Assuming your regular commute or work-out routine lasts for an hour a day, it will take you about a week to complete a book. Continue keeping up with this pace and it will add up to 35-45 books a year.
While there are several audio-book platforms to choose from, the market leader and my all-time favorite is Audible. Audible has the largest collection of audio books and outstanding customer service. Subscribers can listen to a sample narration before they purchase a book. If for some reason you didn’t like the book, you can return it, no questions asked.
Audible also offers an audio version of the most popular magazines and periodicals including: Fast Company and HBR. Moreover, every member gets a free audio subscription to The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal a great resource to stay up to date with the world’s business news.
As with everything in life, you have to prioritize your reading list by carefully selecting books that will best contribute to your knowledge base. But how about all the great thought leadership insights that are published in hundreds of books that you could not find time to read? Executive summaries can be the answer.
Business book summaries (a.k.a. executive summaries) distill the main underlying book to provide you the most important points in a 7-8 pages’ resume. While business summaries won’t substitute reading a book from cover to cover, they sure can serve as a great source of new ideas and help you stay up to date with new developments in your niche.
Let’s say you have recently joined an Advisory Board of a health care startup company. While health care industry might be the area of your expertise, startups could be a whole new experience. You don’t need to take a course on startups but would like to quickly dive into the topic and learn from thought leaders. This is where business summaries come handy. You can pick up several of them and learn the leading ideas in several hours.
There are numerous players in the market. Soundview Executive Book Summaries, Business Book Summaries, getAbstract, to name a few. All of them offer multiple plans to select from and differ in format.
My favorite platform for executive summaries is Summaries.Com. Similar to many other players on the market Summaries.Com offers 8-page summaries of business bestsellers. What differentiates Summaries.Com is visual presentation of the information. Summaries.Com uses multiple charts, diagrams and other visual tools that help to comprehend the information faster. The content is well structured and easy to grasp.
A podcast is the last decade phenomenon that represents a concept of “an-internet radio on demand”. Podcasts last anywhere from ten minutes to one and a half hour and could we either a monolog or an interview. The pool of producers (hosts) can vary from solopreneurs to large corporations that produce podcasts on various business topics.
Podcasts are periodicals and, therefore, serve as a tool for a continuous real-life learning. The most commonly used frequency is a weekly podcast. As you subscribe (on iTunes or Stitcher) and listen to a podcast, you emerge into and learn about the topic with every episode.
What differentiates podcasts in many cases is real-life stories. You will find podcasts to be less about theories and more focused on the host or a guest sharing their own experience and lessons learned.
An audio format makes it convenient to consume information on the go. Podcasts are becoming extremely popular. Chances are that companies and industries in which you are interested in already have a podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to learn about latest trends and stay up to date.
There are many podcasts to select from (subject to your knowledge or market interests). For instance, to stay up to date with the world business news check out Marketplace podcast. Those serving or planning to join startup board would appreciate The Entrepreneur on Fire podcast to learn from today’s entrepreneurs.
We all struggle to find time to learn new skills. Incorporating those three learning solutions into your schedule will help you to develop a daily routine and commit to continuous education.