The problem with this Dan Miller Challenge that I’ve taken up is that part of the premise is to pick a new action item everyday based on what I read and listen to.
Therefore, I’m often doing something different everyday. Sometimes, these items build on each other. Other times they are completely different.
I’m sticking with this plan for the next 5 months, but I’m realizing the importance of sticking to one main project or skill, even if the
Do you struggle with trying to learn and do too many things at once?
A couple weeks ago, I read about the importance of finding opportunities to present in front of groups, associations, and other organizations.
I emailed a couple organizations, and lo and behold, I got an opportunity. October 30th.
While I love reading and listening to all kinds of content, this upcoming presentation has become my focus.
I’m filtering all content through my desire to create value for those at the conference.
If you’re like I am and love to read this book, listen to that podcast, watch that series of Youtube videos, then you can relate to my version of adult ADD learning.
In order to make strides in any one area, though, you and I must learn to choose the most pressing piece of learning and focus on that one thing before bouncing to other things.
Just in time learning
Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn and Internet Business Mastery’s Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden introduced me to this idea of ‘just in time learning’.
Just in time learning is a practice whereby you focus solely on learning what you need to learn to achieve the next step in a current project.
For instance, for me right now, I’m focused on the presentation I have to give. My first job is to understand the best method planning and preparing my talk. Therefore, I’ve read a few blog posts and listened to a couple podcasts all around structuring my research, outlining, and pruning of my talk. When I get to the point where I need to create slides, then I’ll focus on that type of content.
Jumping from one thing to another, even within one project, slows down progress.
I get so tempted to try my hand at graphic design by creating slides, but first, I must focus on figuring out the one point I hope the audience walks away with.
Then I will focus on developing the supporting points and how to weave data and stories into the talk.
After that (and only after that), will I study the how-tos and worry about the slides.
Right now, every bit of content that I consume is around public speaking. But I’m drilling down deeper toward specific learning around the step I’m in at the moment.
How to practice just in time learning
Most of us don’t have the luxury of spending tons of time on one project at a time. Our day jobs are filled with a bunch of different people with whom we have a variety of relationships (bosses, colleagues, clients, direct reports).
We might have to stay sharp in a variety of areas.
That said, you and I should also be selective.
What’s one skill we know that would best move our work forward?
If you’re in sales, perhaps it’s learning the age-old practice of cold calling.
If you’re in customer service, perhaps it’s learning how to be more engaging with difficult customers.
If you’re a web designer, perhaps it’s learning a new CMS because WordPress is so 2013.
Pick the one thing and focus on it as much as possible until that one thing is either accomplished or deeply learned.
Write that one thing out on a piece of paper or create a file for it or a note in Evernote.
And get to work. Google it. Youtube it. Buy a book. Go to the library.
Figure that one thing out first before moving on.
I think we would all benefit from that type of focus.
How about you? Do you practice this type of approach to learning, especially for your work?
(Leave an answer in the comments)
Listening for today:
What the Speak Podcast – with Bryan Kelly: I binge-listened to about 5 episodes of this podcast during my commutes today. Michael Hyatt, Nancy Duarte, Chris Brogan, Jeff Goins, and Ken Davis all taught me a little more about public speaking, from preparation to presentation. (By the way, all the sudden these podcasts stopped in July. I’m hoping all is okay!)
SPI 087 : Why You Belong on Stage – Pat’s “Braindump” of Public Speaking and Presentation Tips – with Pat Flynn: This podcast is a wonderful overview of public speaking, especially for newbies like myself.