The quote on the home page of this site says “You owe it to yourself to become better at what you do.”
But who has time? After working a full-time job from morning til night, you get home and you have to prepare dinner, and do some laundry, and play with the kids, and help them with their homework, and by the time they’re in bed – you just want to fall asleep in front of the TV. All your energy goes into your day, and you can’t imagine carving an hour or two per day for self-improvement or spend time learning just for fun.
It’s a real concern. Many of us have obligations beyond ourselves – to work, to parents, to kids, to spouses, to our community, etc. And so to try to find so much time per day or per week not only is difficult, but can actually be selfish as some other obligation of yours is not getting their due as you focus on yourself.
You have to make your learning a priority alongside everything else. If you were enrolled in college, and had to juggle going to real classes on campus that cost you thousands of dollars per year to attend, you would juggle work, school, and family. It wouldn’t be easy, but you would do it. You might have to say no to a few things, you might have to ask the neighbors if your son can go with them to practice on Saturdays instead of you being there. If you prioritize it, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
It’s a deep topic, I know. So many people are in situations truly out of their control – taking care of sick parents or disabled children, for instance. I’m not trying to suggest the solution so easy and obvious. If it was, you’d have time for all sorts of things in your life that you’ve always wanted, including learning a new language.
But how easy it is to go through life letting other people tell us what to do and where to be. It should make a big improvement to your life just to be able to control your time a bit more – say yes to things you want to say yes to, and feel free to say no to things you don’t want to. I think it starts there.
And managing your own time and being master of your own destiny – perhaps the best self-improvement of all.
Some tips for making time for learning:
- Pick a day of the week (say, first thing in the morning on Saturday) to focus on your courses and get 2-3 hours of study in
- Take advantage of travel time and other idle time using mobile apps or downloading videos yourself for offline learning
- Only focus on one course at a time if you can’t handle more. Don’t try to do too much.
- Make sure you’re spending that time wisely. If the course isn’t good, drop it. If the course isn’t for you, do something else.
- Recognize when other people are asking you for your time for something that only helps them, and learn to say no tactfully
- i.e. if your neighbor is constantly asking you to watch their kids while they go out for a few hours which takes up your entire day