Centric Columbus’ Ben Kister discusses the best ways to stay on top of your learning before you start your day.
Part three of a series.
Finding time to incorporate learning into your day can be challenging. From work commitments to personal relationships, you are most likely trying to keep up.
But it is important to keep learning so you’re ready to take on new tasks and challenges. Consistently exercising that learning muscle (aka your brain) is a great way to grow and reach your life goals.
The best time to get your brain churning and thinking is in the morning before breakfast. Think about your morning routine: Do you take time to incorporate learning? By creating a habit to learn before breakfast, you train your brain to be more active, which will make those long days a piece of cake!
Let’s explore five different activities you can do to start the habit of learning in the morning:
1. Meditate to Learn More About Yourself
When was the last time you slowed down and took a moment to yourself? Sit in silence, just letting your thoughts come and go.
Meditation is a fantastic way to be more mindful while learning and reflecting on yourself. Use this quiet time early in the morning as meditation, so you can learn more about yourself, including what is bothering you, or what vibes you are actually picking up throughout the day.
It may not make you a master at your profession, but it will make you a master of yourself and that, arguably, is more important.
Now that we have had some quiet time to learn more about ourselves, let’s begin our day – while still in the learning mindset – by diving into a good book.
2. Read a Chapter of a Book
“The More Things You Read, The More Things You Will Know. The More That You Learn, The More Places You’ll Go.” -Dr. Seuss
The knowledge you obtain from reading gives you the chance to take on opportunities near and far. Read a section of a book a day so you’re always learning something new.
I try to read one chapter a day and then find ways to apply what I learned from that chapter in different ways.
When I wrote this piece, I was reading a book on effective communication that talked about how your mouth moves faster than your brain. It recommended you slow down and take pauses to consider what you say before you say it.
Ever since, I’ve been working on slowing down and taking breaks when I speak, which has been improving my conversational skills. Who knows where this new skill will take me!
You may not have time to read a whole book chapter each morning, so let’s look at something most of us already make time for: browsing social media.
3. Review Industry Trends on Social Media
According to a study done by Sensis, one of the top two most popular times to check social media is right when you wake up. Many of us fall into this category, so why not use this scrolling time for learning?
Take some time in the morning before breakfast to read about the latest industry trends. That will prepare you to take on that office conversation today. Seems like a good use of your morning minutes to me!
There are a lot of influencers, industry publication profiles, and news profiles we can learn from – across social media platforms. Just make sure to remember, not all information is created equal and not everything you read on the internet is true. Finding and consistently following credible sources instead of “spoof” websites is a prerequisite for learning to happen.
Getting a quick fix with social media may work if you like to read, but what about those of us who learn through audio? If that’s your style, you may want to lean towards podcasts or videos.
4. Listen to Podcasts or Videos
Podcasts are a great way to learn for those of us who seem to always be on the go. They help expand your mind by asking you to consider different perspectives and opinions on various topics.
Videos tend to be a better fit for those with more time to watch the screen. Personally, I enjoy motivational videos, entrepreneurial vlogs, workout videos, and “how-to” tutorials to start my day.
Perhaps the best part about videos and podcasts is they’re typically offered in a series you can follow, ensuring you will be served similar content and making it easier for you to learn something new on a regular basis.
Reading and audio/visual are great, but what about if you’re an experiential learner? Good news is there’s a way for you to learn before breakfast, too. Practice something!
5. Practice Something or Applied Learning
“Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect” – Vince Lombardi
A great teacher in life is experience, which can be gained through practice. Practice can come in multiple forms:
- Envision the skill in your head
- Try it out yourself
- Try the skill on someone else
As an example, here’s a skill you can practice before breakfast: communication. Take the time to practice what you would say in a high pressure moment. What you will say in a meeting. Or how you will approach small talk in an elevator. Record yourself a couple times so you can hear yourself. Try to work on your “ums” and “ahs.”
Through practice, you are giving yourself the benefit of going through these situations before they happen. That experience can prove valuable.
Getting experience through practice in the morning may seem weird in the beginning, but as you continue to work on this habit it will become a natural way to prepare for the day.
As you can see, all types of learning can take place before breakfast. Regardless of your learning style, you can have fun learning before you get the day started. Above are five different forms of learning you can try. But there are so many more.
Quick! Write down five ways you plan to incorporate learning in your morning routine…
Did you do it?
Good, I did too!
- Record myself to catch filler words.
- Read or listen to a section of the book I’m currently reading.
- Search Youtube for SEO and Project Management “How-To” videos.
- Subscribe to a leadership podcast for those mornings I don’t watch a video.
- Set aside 10 minutes for meditation and breathing exercises, three times per week.
This way the next time your alarm goes off, and you are tempted to hit the snooze button, you have a reason to get up to start your day.
In the next blog in the series, we’ll discuss how learning is everywhere.e