Seven Ways to Continue Learning | Quarterly Planning Series
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All this week, we've been giving tips and suggestions to plan out your Quarterly Planning. We're wrapping up the planning part of this series today, and will be focusing in on one more item to consider: what to learn.
For previous posts in this series, see them here:
Part One | Getting Started, What to Maintain and What to Create
Part Two | What to Promote
Part Three | What to Learn (you are here!)
So today, let's talk about the final planning detail to take into consideration when you're planning out your quarter, what to learn.
When it comes to being a business owner, there is always something more to learn. Whether you're learning how to organize your files for your business or want to finally complete that course that you purchased months ago, if you factor in learning into your quarterly plans, it'll help you tremendously as you continue to grow in your business.
The "I don't know how to _______ " seems to continually be the reason that people don't move forward with meeting goals they set in their business, so today we want to help you conquer that self-limiting belief and change it instead to
"I don't know how to ______ yet, but I'm going to learn!"
So, let's break it down into easy sections for you to think about a few things. Regardless of your budget that you may have for continuing education, there are a plethora of ways that you can continually learn new things in your business.
What to Learn | Podcasts
There are quite a few business podcasts out there now, and the majority of them, I find myself listening and wanting to take notes rather than having them on in the background as background noise. The majority of podcasts deliver tremendous value - why not have those be a part of your business education, in an entirely free way? Find out when a new episode comes out each week and schedule in the same time each week to listen to their episodes (just like it was a favorite TV show, before DVR came along!), so that you can learn from them on a weekly basis.
What to Learn | YouTube Videos
YouTube is a plethora of information where you can learn just about any skill necessary within your business these days. Perhaps you want to learn how to create an email signature or learn how to use Trello, even learn how to style flatlays for your stationery or something else that will help you further on in your business.
Same as with listening to Podcasts, set aside learning time each week (or monthly) that you can focus in on learning one important skill that you want to improve upon.
What to Learn | Blog Posts to Read
Is there a blog post that you want to read, or perhaps a series that you know you could learn from, if you sit down and work through them? (hey, kind of like this one!) . Keep a running series with the blog posts you want to read and learn from. If you receive these emails in your inbox and you're a gmail user, perhaps you want to add a certain colored star - let's take blue for example - and every Friday from 9-10am, you reserve specifically for your blue starred blog posts that are in your inbox that you want to read.
As another example, if you are a Trello or Asana user, have a running list with the direct links to the blog post that you want to read, so that you don't have to waste your time searching for the post you wanted to learn more from, and it's there waiting for you when you're ready for it.
What to Learn | Courses to Complete
So, let's be serious for a second. How many courses or classes have you purchased that are sitting there entirely unstarted?? A lot of times, we purchase a course because we don't want to miss out on being able to sign up for it for another few months, but, at the same time, what good are those courses doing for you if they aren't even opened, or if you started just a few lessons before moving on to the next course that you bought?
Make a plan to set aside a certain amount of time each week to work your way through a course, so that you can put what you've learned to good use!
What to Learn | Online Summits
How many of us have signed up for an Online Summit or purchased an All-Access Pass from one we attended, but since then, you haven't gone through the content that is there for you? (I'm guilty here too, my friend!) If you attend an online summit, chances are that you won't be able to absorb and put into place all of the content you learned in those two, three, or four days it takes place. However, if you purchased the pass to have access to the classes after they take place, don't purchase and then forget about them! There is a lot of good content included in online summits, that we all can continually learn from!
What to Learn | Conferences
Perhaps you'll be attending a Conference this quarter, and you want to have time to implement what you've learned after returning home from a Conference.
So many times, we attend those conferences and we spend so much time jotting down so many notes in a notebook or making connections with people while we're there, but then when we return home, we immediately settle back into a routine and that notebook or binder where you filled out all of those notes sits there unopened, and days turn into weeks turn into months.
Don't do that to yourself.
You spent a lot of your hard-earned income to attend that Conference, and what you learned during that experience is incredibly valuable.
Set aside time each week to contact people you met, to work through the notes you took, to continually put into place what you learned while you were there.
What to Learn | Programs + Platforms you use
As a final note, there are programs that we use every single day that go through changes and adaptations, and evolve on their own. For example, recently Etsy made a few changes in their program regarding Free Shipping, and it can affect how listings are displayed moving forward. Rather than sitting and not doing anything, it's imperative you learn about the changes, so that you can help your business in the best way possible if you're going to have your products on that platform.
In addition, if you're an InDesign or Illustrator or Photoshop or even a Canva user, are there new things that you can learn in those programs to help you learn how to do things better? If you want to learn how to remove a background from a photo in Canva or learn how to make a branded gif for your business using Photoshop, create an e-book in inDesign, or how to create artboards in Illustrator, take the time to jot down what you want to learn and spend time researching it each month.
If you’re using Instagram, when’s the last time that you researched and tracked your own list of hashtags to use for your own business, instead of using the same 30 over and over that everyone else is using? If a particular hashtag has more than a million posts within it, chances are that you’re essentially wasting that hashtag spot for yourself. You want to find hashtags that are newer or have less posts, in order for your reach to be better. Research different sets of hashtags and then organize them by different types, so that you can use the ones best for you for that specific post.
Suggested Instagram Planner with hashtag help and amazing insights built right in: Plann
(use this referral link, and if you upgrade with 30 days of signing up, you’ll receive a $10 credit to your account!)
What to Learn | How to Organize it All
So now you may be thinking, okay! I'm going to do this! But then when it comes time to organize it all, you find that you have post-its everywhere, notes everywhere, random bookmarks on your computer or just don't really have a place where it's written down - it's all in your head. Instead, here are three ways we would suggest to organize everything.
1 | Create a Trello Board literally titled "What to Learn", and then create lists into the categories above. For each item, create a card with the title of the item that you want to learn. This way, you have one specific card to house all links, all notes, all documents, etc. to have it all. We also suggest creating additional lists where you can "move things through" - perhaps title them "Currently Learning, Learn in August, Learn in September, Completed Learning, etcetera. This way you can see your progress and have a place to map out what you'll learn when.
Suggested Class Resource: How to Use Trello for Business Planning
2 | If you're an Asana user, create a recurring task for yourself set aside with time to learn. I personally do this every week, and every Friday morning I have two hours set aside to work through or learn from a specific item I'm working on. I use both Asana and Trello, so my recurring task in Asana literally says "Currently Learning | Item Topic" and in the description, I have a link to my current Trello card with that specific card ready to go, so that I can access all of my notes and links as needed. When I change the thing I'm currently learning, I simply change the item topic title along with the link to the Trello card.
Suggested Course Resource: Asana for Makers by Janet LeBlanc of Paper + Spark
3 | Have a special page in your planner with learning topics and items listed in it with the date you first wrote it down included, so that you can highlight and cross off items as you go. If you have something written in a planner from last January, and it's now August more than a year later, you may just want to decide that either (a) you don't need/want to learn that anymore because it may not be relevant now. Or, it could be that reminder that maybe you do need to finally learn that specific skill since it's been waiting to complete it for so long!
Why Learning Matters
Why should you spend time learning each quarter? Every day in business, there's something new that comes to fruition or new changes that take place. It's our responsibility as business owners to continually invest in our own education and continually grow our business smarts.
It'll make you more confident in your abilities, and eventually you'll be able to look back and say look how far I've come! I've learned how to do ___ and ____ and ___ ! and that alone will make you feel so much better about things moving forward for your business.
This officially wraps up our final post in regards to planning for each Quarter for your business. We hope you’ve loved it, and that it’s helped you tremendously with how to plan out your Quarter! We won’t leave you hanging here though … next week, we’ve got one more post in store for you … how to implement all of those plans, so that you can get past the planning part and into the implementation part.
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