Let’s be honest, 2020 was an extraordinary year filled with change and uncertainty. For frontline workers, and especially people who work in the homelessness sector, there may even have been a fair amount of fear and anxiety. In times like these, it's hard to think about accomplishing goals. It’s more a matter of keeping our heads above water. Now that the new year is here, there is renewed optimism. We are harnessing deep wells of resilience and strength. We are looking past restrictions and lockdowns, and thinking about how we will emerge stronger and with more compassion.
The past year has meant enormous change in every area of our lives including the workplace. Like most people, a lot of your time was spent learning how to get things done in a new way. So setting goals for learning may not be high on your to-do list. You may already feel stretched beyond capacity.
More than likely, you are exhausted. The best things for you right now might be to take a walk or a nap. If that’s the case, go do that now.
Now that you're rested, you can continue reading this post.
It may seem counterintuitive, but tackling new challenges can help you feel re-energized.
To start, choose what you want to learn in 2021. What areas of learning or professional development will you dedicate yourself to? Next, take steps to set up a learning routine.
HOW TO STICK TO A LEARNING ROUTINE
1. Pick a time
Habits are powerful tools to increase productivity. Our brains like when we don’t have to think as much. Habits and routines allow you to forego making the decision to act. Like brushing your teeth daily, they allow you to switch to autopilot. This avoids decision fatigue and decreases the chance that you’ll put off doing the activity.
When should you set aside time in your day for learning? It depends. Some people like to tackle learning first thing in the morning when they have the most energy. Others find they are more relaxed in the evenings which helps them process new knowledge. Not sure which is best for you? Try it out for a few days and see which time is easier to stick to.
2. Put it in your calendar
Now that you’ve carved out time for learning, you need to block off the time in your day. Scheduling it into your day signals that it is important. If you don’t put it in your calendar, the time will easily be taken up with other activities. You may find you spend that time mindlessly scrolling through your phone or attending to low priority tasks.
Whether you choose a 15-minute session daily or longer intervals a few times each week, blocking off the time in your calendar in advance will help you stay on track.
3. Track your progress
You’ve picked a time and blocked it out in your calendar. Now you need a way to see your progress. If you added these sessions to an online calendar, you can print out one month and mark each day that you complete with an X. Put the reminder some place that you will see it every day. Visually tracking your progress increases motivation by helping you focus on results. If you prefer a digital solution, use the reminder app on your phone or a free tracking app.
Don’t forget to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be big. The point is to acknowledge each small success along the way which increases your motivation to move forward.
Be kind to yourself. If you miss a day or find yourself struggling in other ways, don’t beat yourself up. You’re human and life is unpredictable. As soon as you can, get back to your routine. Routines can be a great source of comfort - a self-care ritual that you honour each and every day.
Do you have a learning goal for 2021? Online learning platform, Udemy, saw demand surge for courses on productivity and mental health.
Share what you’re hoping to learn this year. Reach out to us on social media or ….
How can the Homelessness Learning Hub help?
The Homelessness Learning Hub has hundreds of resources to support your professional development including online training on the topics you care most about. Our online trainings are free and self-paced which helps you fit them into your busy schedule to meet your professional development goals.
=>>> Next topics in the series
CREATE YOUR SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING PLAN
MANAGERS, SUPPORT YOUR STAFF TO LEARN AT WORK