Tony Robinson of DoReallyGood.com has given us permission to share his posts here on Attitudes 4 Innovation. We are thrilled to do so, because his content is not only insightful, but also makes you think about things that you may have never thought of before. Please enjoy “How to Achieve More by Learning Less”…
When I first started DoReallyGood.com, I was jumping into a brand new field that I had no experience in whatsoever. And like most people starting a new endeavor, I began educating myself. Learning how to make a blog work, how to promote it, how to write better, how to serve people with your work… and the list goes on.
Let’s just say I had a lot to learn.
But with all of the learning that I was doing, I eventually had to stop and ask myself, “Is all of this really even helping me?”
I was listening to several podcasts episodes every day. I was reading books on business, and I subscribed to other blogs that talk about how to run a blog. It was information overload for sure.
I was consuming all of this great information, but was it really helping me achieve more in life? Was it really helping me move closer towards achieving my goals?
I eventually realized that 75% of the stuff I was reading and listening to, were things I couldn’t even apply in my life. They were either tactics that were too advanced, or certain strategies I didn’t have the resources for… I was wasting my time learning things I wasn’t ready to execute on.
Some people boast about consuming a ridiculous amount of information. “Last week, I read 34 blog posts, 17 news articles, and 8 books.”
And my response is, “What action did you take with all of that new knowledge you gained?”
And their usual rebuttal is “Well, nothing yet…”
Do you see the problem there? Consuming information is fine, it’s necessary when you’re trying to learn a new skill. But at what point do you start learning too much?
And yes, there definitely is a point at which you can learn too much. At some point, you have to stop seeking out new information, and just start taking action.
Constant Learning Can Be Counterproductive to Achieving Your Goals
How often do you read something amazing, filled with actionable content. And then instead of acting on what you just read, you just go on and read something else?
Probably more often than you’re comfortable admitting.
It’s like your caught in this continual learning loop, where you learn one new thing, and that new thing shows you this other thing you’ve never heard of. Then you go and learn about that new thing, which leads you to this other new thing you’ve never heard of. So you’re constantly stuck learning, because you always feel like there’s something more that you need to know.
But all of that knowledge you’re gaining becomes useless if you don’t act on it.
How much more productive would you be if you spent less time learning, and more time doing? How different would your life be? How much closer would you be to achieving your goals?
So I’m encouraging you to go get your hands dirty. Go test out that theory you just learned. Go see if what that person told you is actually true.
Only Consume Information on a Need to Know Basis
Now understand, I’m not advocating that you stop learning new things. What I am saying is that, you should only be seeking out information that you can immediately apply to your life, in a way that helps you achieve your most important goals.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on reducing the amount of information I consume. There’s a phrase I came across called, “Just in Time Learning”, which basically says that you only seek out information that you can immediately apply to the most important task your working on, or goal you’re trying to achieve.
Anything else, you ignore.
Think of it as an “information diet”. Just like with a regular diet where you restrict the food your body consumes, an information diet restricts the knowledge your brain consumes.
Say for instance you’re trying learn a new language. Reading an article or watching a video that shows you how to write a novel in Spanish would be an absolute waste of your time. All you need is something that’s going to show you the absolute basics of speaking another language.
Or say you’re to manage your time better. More specifically, you want to spend less time checking your email. An example of Just in Time Learning would be, reading an article or watching a video that shows you a specific strategy for managing your inbox.
What’s Your Goal and What Do You Need to Learn?
What’s the goal you’re working towards? Once you’ve identified your goal, think about the very next action you have to take to achieve that goal.
What do you need to learn to achieve that very next action? That’s where you should focus your time and energy.
If you’re on step 1, you’re wasting your time learning how to do step 5. Instead, spend that time learning how to masterfully execute step 1.
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