Your brain can benefit from learning while doing.
Did you know that one of the biggest dips in brain performance happens when you graduate from school?
This is because you’re no longer challenging yourself, and while many of us find challenges in our work, we often forget to continue learning. We know it’s important for our brains, our lives and our success … but we simply can’t find the time. Or so we tell ourselves.
We all have 24 hours in each day, but only some of us learn every day. It’s partly a matter of prioritizing learning in your life. After all, if you don’t know why you want to learn, you won’t bother to make the effort.
But it’s also about learning smartly. Learning doesn’t have to take up hours of your day—as long as you know the right way to do it. I share many five- to 10-minute Kwik tips on supercharging your brain in my new podcast “Kwik Brain.” But there are a lot of other ways to fit learning into your day.
These are some of my favorites.
1. Learn on your commute.
It takes the average American 25.4 minutes to get to work. That’s about an hour each day … or 261 hours a year if you work every weekday. That’s an incredible amount of time you could be using to learn. If you drive to work, this is a great time to listen to a large chunk of an audiobook. Take public transportation? Read or even do workbooks, if you feel so inclined.
2. Learn as you cook (or clean).
How do you motivate yourself to do your least-favorite errand, whether that’s prepping dinner or cleaning the bathroom? One easy way is to tie the activity you hate to something you love … like learning. Listening to an educational podcast is ideal because it’s totally hands-free. You can even use your podcast as a timer. You don’t have to clear out your whole closet today; you just have to clean it for as long as your episode lasts.
3. Learn while you wait.
There’s a famous Stephen King urban legend you might have seen online. King told a blogger that he should read for five hours a day. The blogger scoffed and said that was impossible. But a few weeks later, the same blogger saw King at the movie theater. The author read in line, as the trailers played … right up until the opening credits hit the screen. And when the movie ended, he immediately opened up his book and began reading again.
You might not want to read in a movie theater, but the lesson of Stephen King is that you have far more time in a day than you think you do and that you spend a lot of it waiting. So carry a book around with you to read while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, the doctor’s office or anywhere else you can think of. Keep it on your phone for maximum convenience. You also could listen to short podcast episodes. Each episode of my new podcast “Kwik Brain” is just five to 10 minutes long, so you can listen to it anywhere.
4. Learn with your friends.
A lot of people love going to happy hour with their friends. But as fun as that might be, it’s not the healthiest habit for your brain. If your friends also want to learn, make it a social activity. Most universities and community centers offer adult learning classes that you might be interested in. You also could start a book club to encourage each other to read or even take turns teaching each other skills you already know.
5. Learn on the job.
Most of us forget how crucial learning is to our careers. But if you can’t keep up with the latest developments in your field, how can you ensure you’ll remain successful? If you would like to learn a skill that is important to your job, try talking to your boss about it. Many companies have funds set aside for precisely this purpose—or it could be a perk that you ask for during your next salary negotiation.
No matter how busy you are, you have time to learn. And by doing it for just a few minutes a day, you can completely transform your life.
Visit kwikbrain.com to find more ways to learn on the go!
Photo credit: George Doyle, ThinkStock