How To Avoid The Continuing Education Time Trap

When you’re in business for yourself, you can’t afford to let your skills slide. You must work to continually increase your marketing knowledge, learn new ways to help your clients prosper, discover emerging technology, and a host of other information.

In fact, you could easily spend all your time learning and no time at all actually implementing what you learn. That’s a common time trap that many budding entrepreneurs fall into, much to the detriment of their businesses!

So how do you manage to both run your business, work with clients, and put in the necessary time to stay on top of the latest developments in your niche? With careful prioritization and planning, that’s how.

Step 1: Schedule Your Study Time

You’ll hear me talk about calendars and their importance in your business over and over again. I believe that if something is important enough to do, then it’s important enough to put on your calendar. And that includes the time you’ll spend learning.

Take a look at your calendar and see:

  • How much time you truly have available (it’s probably less than you think).
  • What days and times you are less productive—this is the perfect time to watch a webinar or read a business book.
  • When you have other things scheduled that you can safely multi-task. For example, if you have to wait in the school pick-up line every day for 30 minutes, that’s a perfect time to read or listen to a business podcast.

Then block out a few hours each week solely for continuing education.

Step 2: Plan Your Study

Every day we’re bombarded with offers to watch another webinar or register for another must-have course or sign up for yet one more social media tool. They all sound so enticing, and if your friends and colleagues are jumping in, it can be tough to resist signing up for everything.

But avoiding the time trap of endless learning requires ruthless prioritization. Think about it this way: You cannot possibly use all of the tools and techniques you come across in a given day, no matter how low the price or how inviting the offer. And to spend time learning something you’re not ready to use is the very definition of a waste of time.

Instead, ask yourself:

  • Do I have a need for this right now?
  • Will it help me make more money, reach more people, or otherwise grow my business within the next month?

If the answer to those questions is no, then do not put this on your schedule. It’s of no real use to you at this point, and you can’t afford to let FOMO (fear of missing out) cause you to waste your time learning something you can’t use.

Pro tip: Product research can easily land you in a similar time trap. If you can’t immediately use the information, just file it away in your Evernote or other note-taking app for later. That way you’ll know where it is when you need it, but you won’t be wasting your time researching a product you’re not quite ready to create.

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