The internet provides a daily deluge of information and ideas. Failure to utilize them means risking your business or professional edge. A carefully crafted learning strategy is needed to derive maximum benefit.
Use a blog reader
The best blogs provide the latest information in concise high value packages. Blog readers save selected sources for ultra-efficient review and provide significant advantages over email subscriptions.
For those that don't currently use a one, the advantages may not be obvious. They become more apparent in direct proportion to the number of sources you follow. Blog readers help you visually scan only posts that have been written since the reader's last use. The task of separating posts into "read" and "don't read" becomes fast and easy.
It's impossible to review everything that becomes available each day. Being highly selective about the sources you review and, even more importantly, those that you don't is a key to success.
Do you really need to read about the latest violent crime or the latest celebrity scandal? Add these items or others that don't support your educational goals to a written "don't read or watch" list. At a minimum, commit to limiting your exposure to them to a few minutes a day or just ignore them completely.
Don't spend much time making the list. Instead, consider it a "work in progress" and update it as needed.
Find and dialogue with peers
In the past, finding others with enough interest and the willingness to get together was difficult. As a company executive or professional hoping to commiserate with someone facing similar issues, who would you call? And who had time? The circle of people with whom you could easily meet was mostly limited to those you already knew.
Social media has completely changed the picture. In a few hours, you can identify people with similar interests. Once you've established rapport, meeting virtually or in-person is the next logical step. This aspect of social media tools like Twitter is easily overlooked, yet it may be more valuable than any of the more well publicized benefits.
Geographical, cost and travel time barriers to discussions have also been obliterated. From online meeting tools and webcams to free long distance, it's now easy to collaborate and hold discussions regardless of your location.
Research makes it clear. Regular exercise has a profound effect on our ability to learn and assimilate information. For more on this topic, I suggest reviewing the research from Harvard trained psychiatrist John Ratey.
Don't just read, listen!
Of course there are times, for example when you're driving or exercising, where reading is impractical (although we've probably all seen a driver or two that would disagree).
Purchase a book on CD or download an eBook. Move it to your multimedia cable cell phone or to your MP3 player for listening at your convenience. Also note that some Bluetooth headsets will automatically pause playback if you take a call.