Once you graduate from college and enter the workforce, finding time and practical ways to keep learning can be challenging. Most fields encourage professionals to take continuing education classes, go to conferences, and do workshops—but what about some practical, inexpensive, every-day ways to keep your mind sharp?
Enrich your life and try these 8 ways to continue learning.
Instead of turning on a movie or a show, watch something online that will work your brain and teach you something new:
- Watch TED talks! These are short talks (18 minutes or less) by many different people about a variety of topics and ideas ranging from science to business to global issues.
- Ignite videos are a series of 5 minute video presentations each consisting of 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. These videos cover thousands of topics, and provide perfect learning opportunities for those few minutes you have while eating lunch, waiting at the doctor’s office, or riding the bus.
- Webinars, or instructional presentations you attend online, are unique in that you can interact with the presenter and ask questions, like in a classroom. Check out webinars on LinkedIn, BrightTALK, or google “[your industry] webinar” to find some that interest you.
Not only is reading enjoyable, but this hobby can also relieve stress, delay/prevent Alzheimer’s disease, increase your vocabulary, improve memory, and help you sleep better. You don’t have to read Charles Dickens to get these benefits. Read magazines, newspapers, or blogs if you prefer. A nice easy way to be consistent is to sign up for a daily newsletter in your email, such as:
- Highbrow: 10-day courses on a variety of subjects. Each day, a newsletter that takes just 5 minutes to read is sent to your inbox.
- theSkimm: They do the reading, you get the highlights of the latest news.
- Need 2 Know: The most important news broken down and made “over easy.”
- SmartBrief: SmartBrief offers multiple newsletters for various industries. Find one to help you in your specific career.
Find more great newsletters here.
If you do love reading books, make it a social thing and start a bookclub with your friends! Take turns choosing the book so you’ll be exposed to all different kinds of literature. Many libraries even have book club kits with several copies of each book and a list of discussion questions to go with, making it free and easy.
Listening to articles, podcasts, and audio books is one of the easiest ways to continue learning because you can do so while commuting, cooking, exercising, eating, walking the dog, cleaning, etc. Gather all the articles you’ve been wanting to read online and use the Audiofy app to convert them into audio. Explore the iTunes store to find podcasts of interest. Check out books on CD at your public library. There is so much to learn by listening, and you can do it without taking up any additional time in your day.
Stop clanning and try educational games like Elevate or Lumosity instead. These brain trainers can be customized to help you improve in the areas you need the most. Have fun and get smarter at the same time with these cognitive games.
Do you write a lot of emails or do a lot of writing for your job? Install Grammarly on your computer to help improve your writing. This program will find and correct grammar mistakes anytime you write on the computer, as well as explain why the change is needed so you can learn and do it right next time.
Surround yourself with intelligent people and learn from them! You are no longer interacting with college professors every day, but you do associate with people that you can learn from. Ask others about their experiences, opinions, ideas, knowledge, and more. Go beyond talking about the weather and take opportunities to learn from other peoples’ lives. Again, this doesn’t have to take more time from your schedule. You likely do some socializing anyway, so just look to learn when getting to know others.
Exercising regularly has a lot of benefits besides just burning calories. Breaking a sweat helps increase blood flow, which helps get more oxygen to the brain. It also helps slow the decay in the brain that makes our memories and learning abilities decline, helping you be a quick learner for longer. Keep your brain young by working your body.
Don’t wait until you can afford to see the sites in Washington D.C. to be a tourist. Be a tourist where you live! If you don’t already know, find out what your town’s attractions are and go explore. Check out museums, historical sites, monuments, foreign cuisine, or whatever else your city has to offer. Chances are you don’t have to go far to find something interesting, unique, and educational.