How to Learn Something New Even If You Have a Busy Schedule

You don’t need to clear your schedule; all you need are some tips and tricks!

Does every moment of your day seem jam-packed to the point that you don’t know how you could fit in learning a new skill? Right now, you may think you don’t have the time, but after applying these tips, you’ll be surprised by what you can manage.

Mastery by Robert Greene


by Robert Greene

⏱ 11 minutes reading time

🎧 Audio version available

Buy on Amazon

Learn When You’re Most Productive

Obviously, we’re not telling you to compromise your work. But if you’re working all day long, it’s almost guaranteed that you procrastinate a task or two– or, at least, spend more time on it than necessary.

If you truly want to learn something new– whether that’s a new language, playing a musical instrument, or even learning to crochet, it’s time to figure out when you’re most productive in order to cut down on the time you may be wasting.

Time, may we add, that could be put into better use– like practicing or reading about your new skill. There is no right or wrong way about it. Every person has their own rhythms, and when their minds work faster.

Some people are absolute powerhouses in the morning. Some can breeze through all their work at night. See what time during the day you’re most energized and adjust your schedule accordingly. Do what’s best for you.

If you find yourself unable to determine when that is, you can try one of the many productivity methods recommended by professionals. A world-renowned method is the Pomodoro Technique. Invented by an entrepreneur called Francesco Cirillo, who wanted to make the best use of his time, this method suggests working for just 25 minutes before taking a five-minute break.

See how easy it can be? These breaks are more productive than you think– and hey! Maybe you can use these breaks to learn something new!

Audiobooks– Lots of Them!

Depending on what you want to learn, chances are there’s a book for it. But who has the time to indulge in some immersive reading?

Enter audiobooks, a busy person’s lifesaver. Audiobooks, filed in your phone alongside your favorite songs, are a great way to learn new material. All you need is your phone, some headphones, and a few minutes, or an hour if you can spare it.

The next time you’re working on something, cleaning, taking a walk, exercising, now you can reap the benefits of a voice giving you the information in your ear.

In this modern-day and age, audiobooks have never been more accessible. The resources and subjects are countless and available in abundance– with a lot of them being offered online for discounts or even for free.

Take Advantage of Your Commute Time

Commutes get a pretty bad rep. But think about them this way: you’re sitting there, and all you have to do is get yourself from point A to point B. How about we harness this time?

No more boring commutes! Take advantage of this blank time of the day. Grab a book, your phone, a laptop, or a tablet, and learn away.

So, as you sit on the bus on your way to work, perhaps, read an eBook about the hobby you’re interested in. Other than eBooks, there are countless digital resources you can use.

Or, do you have one of those audiobooks we just spoke of and no time during the day to listen to them? How about right now? Chances are they’ll make the time fly by!

And of course, you have podcasts– aka, a game-changer when it comes to busy schedules. They’re a lot less intense than audiobooks but no less informative– perhaps even more informative at times! They work especially well, especially if you happen to be driving yourself and your hands are busy.

You’re guaranteed to find a specialized podcast that pertains to your interests or hosts professionals in that field.

Use an App

This tip is related particularly to learning a new language. Learning a new language can be incredibly challenging, especially if you don’t have the time to practice consistently.

Luckily, there are numerous apps that exist just for that reason! Whether you have a word of the day app or one that helps you conjugating verbs, have fun with all the knowledge you gain!

Have a Mentor Help You

One thing we’ve found to be the most helpful is to have an experienced person help guide and mentor you. Part of learning depends on other people, especially if you’re facing something challenging or something that needs extra explanation. A mentor will help speed things along. They can teach you all sorts of neat tips and tricks and offer invaluable guidance.

Plus, having gone through the same journey as you, they’ll probably have sound advice on how to learn more efficiently.

Take Online Classes

A busy schedule may not have the flexibility to fit in actual classes, but online classes? They exist any time you want during any moment of the day. All you need is a laptop or even a phone and an internet connection.

The best thing about online classes or courses– or overall material– is that you can learn at your own pace, which means picking up right where you left off during your last break, for example.

Examples of what you can learn online are endless. They include anything from languages to technical skills such as coding and programming, SEO, Photoshop, web design, and even blogging.

Pick your favorite courses– but here’s another bonus. If you find that you feel like you’re wasting your time on a course that isn’t benefiting you, it’s super easy to switch to another.

In some courses, you may not even always need an internet connection. You’ll be able to download the material, videos, and audio. So, if you’re in your daily commute, waiting for someone to arrive, et cetera, you can always watch an educational video or two.

While some online courses are free, others have a fee. But the other best thing about learning online is that it comes at a dramatically lower cost than learning in a physical classroom.

Practice Every Day

Ever heard of the famous Malcolm Gladwell saying that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill? That may not be entirely true– or even feasible. Who has 10,000 hours to learn a skill?

One of the best strategies you can use is practicing as often as you can instead of just learning. Every skill needs practice. You may be racing to take in as much knowledge as you can, but there is nothing that cements a piece of information or technique in your head more than a hands-on method.

You may not become a world-renowned expert, but you’re learning something new and useful. And practice is flexible, meaning that you can dedicate whatever time you have available.

Track Your Schedule

One of the most important steps in making room in your day to pick up something new is tracking your schedule. Chances are you can make room to fit in a break or two to learn.

The first thing you need to do is write down everything you’re supposed to do during the day. It’s best to keep things simple but specific. For example, don’t just write down “work,” divide it into meetings, writing reports, et cetera.

A method that works wonderfully is categorizing your day into two categories using two different colors: your work time and your free time.

Write down the exact time if you need to. By keeping track of your activities this way, you’re likely to find some free time where you can indulge in cultivating your interests.

Spend Your Breaks Wisely

Our last piece of advice is one of the most efficient ones so far! It’s how you take breaks. Ever heard of productive breaks? They’re incredible! And you won’t have to worry about this new skill cutting into your work or needing to rearrange your schedule.

So the next time you take a break, think about it this way: just because you’re taking a break between one task and another doesn’t necessarily mean you should spend this time mindlessly scrolling through social media.

This time can be used productively. Even during your lunch break, you can listen to a short podcast or to a part of an audiobook or practice your new skill.

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