10 ways to get smarter every day - for free!

It’s back-to-school time again. A good opportunity to review your own learning and development plan, right? But as a business owner, chances are you simply don’t have time to ‘go back to school’.

Here are my top 10 tips and tricks to incorporate learning into the activities you’re already doing every day. But, wait! There’s another bonus – they’re all FREE.

  • Subscribe to the digital trade press – Amp up the value of your lunchbreak by skimming the ‘news’. 10 minutes of learning clocked. I like the ‘Dive’ series – choose your interest area and let them pull all the highlights from across the digital publishing world.

  • Ditto for special interest groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. 10 more minutes of learning.

  • Listen to a podcast during your commute – there’s some pretty amazing info out there that won’t just make your commute more productive, but more enjoyable too. 30 to 60 minutes of learning DONE. (Who am I kidding? Most of you are probably logging way more commuting time than that!) Buffer has pulled together a list of the best ones out there – you choose: something business related, something thought provoking, or something just for fun.

  • Click around social media – if you’re not already a pro, spend an extra 5 minutes next time you’re posting to check out a help article or click on something that’s previously scared you. BOOM! 5 more minutes of learning.

Look at that! 55 to 85 minutes of daily free learning.

You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.
— Conrad Hall

And since you’ve already incorporated an hour of learning into your existing day, here’s how to add just a little bit more, to round out your monthly total.

  • Attend a networking event – you’re already doing this to build new business right? Choose events that include panels or lectures to really increase your knowledge. In the DC area, I've really enjoyed Marketing Tech Talks, but you can find Meetups that suit you in your area.
  • Participate in a Twitter chat – You’d be surprised what great recommendations and links to cool things you can get from a Twitter chat.

And to go for the gusto (these ones might take a little bit longer, but are still free) try these out:

Lifelong learning isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. Hopefully I’ve helped you to realize that you are already learning during your day (give yourself a pat on the back!) and that it isn’t difficult to add more.  

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
— Benjamin Franklin

Do you have any great tips for learning that you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear them.