Tag Archives: productivity

5 top tips for learning on the go

Learning is a life long process and as I’ve mentioned many times before, the more you know is the more you realise that you don’t know. Like many of you, my life is busy but I’ve always made learning and acquiring new knowledge a priority, because I believe it’s the most important investment you can make in yourself and it will always pay dividends. As the saying goes, you can always find time for the things that are important to you, so if learning is a priority for you too, here are a few top tips that work for me:

1.  Sign-up to Audible

The number one way to acquire knowledge is through books, yep not even the Internet can replace the value of a good book. My absolute favourite pass time is to find somewhere secluded, preferably with a nice view and a cup of tea and just read for hours. Unfortunately life rarely affords such luxuries, so the next best thing is Audible. Audible is Amazon’s audio book division, there are various subscription options available and a great mobile app that allows you to download and listen to books whenever and wherever you are. I subscribed to Audible in 2010 and can’t recommend it enough, I’m one of those people that can’t bare to waste time so it’s a great way for me to utilise the three hours a day I spend commuting to and from work, and provides a great companion while doing the housework.

2.  Use mobile apps to capture your thoughts

Yes we can learn a lot from others but we can also learn a lot from ourselves. Many ideas come to our minds each day and we often fail to acknowledge them, simply dismiss them or forget them. You never know when a good idea will come in handy so I recommend capturing your thougts and ideas whenever you feel that they’ll be worth recollecting at some point in the future. The main app I use for this is Evernote it allows you to quickly type, and store notes, record voice notes, capture pictures, screen grabs and more on the go. The clip below pretty much demonstrates how I use the app regularly, if you only have one app on your phone to boost productivity it should probably be Evernote.

3.  Always have a book in your bag ( or a Kindle)

I’m a little bit obsessed with books so I tend to have a few paperbacks in my car and my Kindle in my bag at all times (I know my husband thinks it’s over kill too lol). But the thing is you never know when you’re going to have an inbetween moment and a few free minutes e.g. waiting in a queue or arriving early for a meeting, and as I mentioned earlier I hate to waste time and a good book is a great time filler.

4.  Listen to podcasts

A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

Podcasts are a great wat to keep up to date with authors, speakers and thought leaders that are prominent in your industry and beyond. Stitcher is my latest, favourite app.

It’s great for making sure I never miss an episode of my favourite podcasts which include:

5.  Become a professional listener

You can learn something from everyone and anyone, we often miss nuggets of wisdom imparted by others in our daily lives because we’re more interested in expressing our own opinions as opposed to listening to those of others. Much can be gained from listening keenly to what others have to say.

I hope you’ve found theses tips for learning on the go useful and I’d love to hear if there are others you’d like to recommend so feel free to comment below.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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Finding your flow

flow

There are times when I open up a word doc and my mind and fingers are in total sync, the ideas just ‘flow’, I’m typing and it appears great things are happening because I’m in that particular mental state. Perhaps you can relate?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a Hungarian psychologist coined the term ‘flow’  to describe this mental state and describes it as follows;

“being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

Here’s a brief overview of the theory:

The benefits of finding flow

  • Flow enables you to produce high quality work with relative ease
  • Flow gives you a feeling of satisfaction and happiness
  • Flow takes the struggle out of work
  • Flow enables you to maximise your time
  • Flow increases your productivity
  • Flow enables you to have focused concentration on a task
  • Flow makes work easier and I’ll even go as far as saying joyful
Evidently our lives would be a whole lot easier if we could set our minds to a task and just ‘flow’. However, often ‘flow’ evades us, and it can be a struggle to concentrate long enough to find that flow. As mentioned in a previous post, some days with all the will in the world productivity and focused concentration eludes me.

So the question is how do you find your flow?

  1. You have to have a passion for the work and the task at hand
  2. It has to be challenging yet not too hard

Hence, if you are persistently struggling with the above in a particular area, maybe it’s because it’s not the right work for you. Quite simply you can’t flow in something that you’re not passionate about or gifted to do.

So the question remains what are you gifted to do? Well, what are you naturally passionate about? where do your natural strengths and talents lie? What occupations exist that will enable you to bring your passion and talents together? If you’re struggling to answer these questions, I highly recommend that you read the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, it’s a really good place to start.

I’d like to add a caveat at this point, just because you are good at something doesn’t mean no work is required or that as soon as you set to work you’ll ‘flow’, but what it does mean is that even if it takes time you’ll be able to ‘flow’ eventually.

Here’s an example from my own life; I believe God has gifted me with the ability to write and speak in a way that compels others. However, that doesn’t mean that I can write a blog post or article without spending time thinking about it, or stand in front of a group of people and present without preparing thoroughly. In fact I often ponder ideas for days if not weeks before I actually put pen to paper or present. However, once I’ve prepared I find it quite easy to flow.

The thing about ‘flow’ is that once you’re flowing the end result will have elements of what you prepared but will often look quite different. Reason being when you’re flowing in your gift it will sometimes take you places you hadn’t prepared to go, so by all means prepare, but when what you have prepared goes awry, don’t sweat it, just go with the flow!

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has a lot to say about ‘flow’ and a great deal of it is useful, but I’ve found that I flow best when I simply let go of all worries and concerns and cast my cares on God (1 Peter 5:7). What I’ve found is that God has placed a treasure trove of gifting’s on the inside of me and when I let go and trust Him to bring those gifting’s out, that is when I really find my flow! Likewise there’s a treasure trove of gifting’s in you.

Blessings,
Katrina x

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