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An Environment for Learning

An Environment for Learning

Let’s say you decide to go back to college.

This time, you are going to do it on your own terms. Not because you have to, but because you want to. You are older and wiser now, and you have the ability to look back, taking advantage of the fact that hindsight is 20-20.

However, we’re not going back in time; you are making this decision as one for today. You have arrived at the golden state of being an adult learner and you fully understand the value of lifelong learning. You now know why you need to take certain courses, challenging your professors to coach and mentor you, not just lecture you. Further, you know that if you plan ahead enough, you can interview your prospective professors, choosing the best who teach the courses you’ve elected to take.

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Let’s also say, that you do have to play by the rules. You have to take a core curriculum first, getting basic credits out of the way before you get to the ‘good stuff.’ Still, you are not willing to just do the time, going through the motions, sitting there waiting for the bell to ring so you can be on to the next thing. You’re going to engage, milking every moment for what it’s worth, playing offense and making it count. You now understand it isn’t just what you’re learning, but how you learn it. Comprehension versus memorization, questioning versus naïve acceptance, retention and personal application … you now understand the bennies of the ‘how’ that comes with the ‘what.’

How would you make the most of it?

What is the best possible environment for learning that you would create for yourself, one where you get all fired up and excited about learning? How will you fit this charged-up experience into the total form you are creating for your life, so there is no overwhelm, no stress, just a great fit? What are the differences that hindsight has helped you reconcile?

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Yes, you definitely are older and wiser now. You consider these things carefully. Deliberately. Purposefully.
Have some thoughts in mind? Good.

Next step: Think about how you can create your imaginary college plan for the best possible learning environment where you work, and in the job you have right now. For the role you have.

  • The ‘teacher’ is your boss, or another workplace mentor— who? And that’s just one of them; reconsider your entire professional network. No college student settles for just one professor, why should you?
  • The tuition payments are captured on that line item of your business plan called ‘staff education, training, and tuition reimbursements.’ Are you using it up each budget year, or have you let it waste away untouched?
  • The course curriculum you choose from? Well, the world is your oyster, and the classrooms could very well be virtual ones. Come to think of it, you could probably make some killer app choices which don’t cost you a dime now that you’re wired up for internet access as your now-world basics … it’s just another utility payment, right?

Now the cool part, the fun part. Remember, this is about want to, not have to:
What are your choices?

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  • What will you choose to learn?
  • Why did you make those choices? What is your ultimate goal? Did you write down your learning objectives so you can check them off, and stay the course?
  • What’s the value add? Remember, this is today, and you’ve become someone who understands that ‘payment’ is about much more than money. You want some ROI for effort and for your precious attention; what is it?
  • When will you be ‘in class,’ and have you blocked those sacred times on your calendar as non-negotiable?
  • Your ‘grading’ has probably become some kind of metric, a measurement. Of what? When are your grading periods; your ‘semesters?’ When will you feel you can tip it into some workplace synergy, so you know it truly counts?
  • We learn for the second time when we teach it, and we become mentor and coach. Who will be your student, and when can you start the goodness for both of you? Perhaps it can be a combination debrief-dialogue/re-teaching… Have you calendared those times too?

The environments most conducive for learning have very little to do with brick and mortar classrooms, don’t they.

In today’s world, where the phenomenal spider web of optic cable and wireless wizardry connects us to teachers around the globe, location needn’t be a factor at all.

The best learning environments are created by and constructed with our brains, our attitudes about learning, our unwillingness to waste a single moment of thought, and choices which are made. Once made, lifelong learners cement their choices into the best form for their lives by decisive, deliberate actions. They then re-teach because they can’t not teach; learning excitement has captured their spirit and enlivened it with renewed energy.

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Want that for yourself. Do not let another day go by paying lip service to being a lifelong learner. This is your life; grow it with learning that matters because it matters to you.

Related Articles:

  • Line Up for Learning! We have a learning forum coming up on Talking Story soon; let us help you with your choices on the what and the how!

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. For more of her ideas, click to her Thursday columns in the archives; you’ll find her index in the left column of www.ManagingWithAloha.com

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: It’s not the Perks

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

More Time Management Techniques

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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