How to Find Time to Learn a New Skill

It's not uncommon to wish there were more hours in the day to get everything done, let alone to learn a new skill. But, because we all only have 24 hours, it's important to know how to find time each day to accomplish the things that truly matter to you.
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When it comes to learning something new, the time you allot for that should be a priority. Whether you want to brush up on a skill for work or your personal life, being a life-long learner has many benefits, which makes finding time to learn incredibly important.

But, that’s not always easy.

Thankfully, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. There are plenty of techniques, tips, and tricks you can use to find time for a new skill. Let’s cover a couple of them that can completely change your time management practices, and help you learn something new.

The Pomodoro Technique

One of the most innovative and effective ways of managing your time and increasing productivity is the Pomodoro Technique.

This technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the early 1990s, and its interesting name comes from the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used to track his time.

The method has become popular for its effectiveness, as well as its ease. It allows you to spend a period of time on focused work sessions, followed by a short break. Cirillo himself would set his timer for a 25-minute focused session before taking a break. These short breaks allow for more focused concentration without burning out or feeling fatigued.

The Pomodoro Technique can help you to focus on the skill you're trying to learn without getting frustrated or bored. You'll be more focused during your learning sessions and will likely grasp concepts faster. In addition to learning a new skill, this is a great time-tracking technique for anyone who:
  • Gets easily distracted during work
  • Enjoys gamified settings
  • Sets unrealistic expectations about how much they can get done in a day
  • Works too much
When it comes to your work life or focusing on a specific task, this is one of the best methods to use. You don't even need a tomato-shaped timer. There are plenty of time-tracking apps you can do to practice self-discipline, but you can also do something as simple as setting a timer for studying on your phone.

A "Time Budget"

Another option for finding the time to learn a new skill is to learn how to better budget every moment of your day.

This is a great option because most people understand how a budget works. You might typically think about money when you're budgeting, but time is often just as valuable — if not more.

You only have 24 hours in a day to work with, so breaking those hours down is actually easier than you might think. Start by organizing the key areas in your life, including work, your home life, and the skill you want to learn. Write down how long each of them takes each day (or how much time you want to give each one).

Once you have the "key" areas down, you can fill the rest of your schedule in with smaller tasks. You'll quickly have a time budget outline that you can adjust as needed. As with any other budget, you might have to change things periodically depending on how your needs change. Or, you can cut things out. If you found that you were spending too much money on dining out each week, you'd cut back so you could better balance your budget. You can find ways to do that with your time, too.

Try things like meal prepping to save time during the week, especially when you get home from work. You'll get the added benefit of increased energy and productivity from making and eating healthy foods, rather than grabbing something at the drive-thru. Or, wake up an hour earlier to get through your morning routine. By making small changes and prioritizing the time it takes to do everything, you'll be able to learn a new skill without feeling rushed or overloaded.

Why It's Important

You won't prioritize the time it takes to learn something new if you don't think that skill is important. So, understanding how beneficial learning a new skill can be will help to keep you motivated and productive.

For starters, many skills can advance your career. Whether your goal is to get a raise, a promotion, or even start your own business, you'll need continued growth and dedication. Some of the top skills employers are looking for include:
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Analytical reasoning
  • Decision-making
Those skills don’t come overnight. It takes time and effort to become comfortable with them. The same goes for learning a new skill in your personal life. Maybe you want to build stronger relationships or get into the dating world. Preparation, practice, and consistency are all keys to bettering yourself and reaching your goals.

Use the techniques listed here, or find a method that works for you when it comes to managing your time. When you’re able to prioritize learning a new skill, you’ll reap the benefits that much faster.
  • Jori Hamilton
    Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Northwestern U.S. She covers topics including health and wellness, productivity, marketing, business, technology, politics, and women's rights.
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