Dec 28 2020
With the 2021 upon us you are probably plotting, planning and getting organized.
We often focus on our business plans and results.
But what about your plan for you?
Or the people in your organization?
How will you stay sharp?
How will you stay up-to-date?
How will you invest in yourself and your skills?
In the spirit of 2021, here are 21 things that you can do to keep your skills sharp and invest in yourself and your skills this year. I’d recommend you choose 3 or 4 things on this list to focus on and commit to in 2021.
- Build a Learning Plan for Yourself
Build a learning plan for yourself that focuses on building the digital skills that matter most in your career going forward. Decide which specific skills you want to work on and establish a goal for yourself.
- Attend a Conference
Conferences are great because there is learning, networking and inspiration. A conference allows you to learn from industry leaders. While it isn’t comprehensive, like a training workshop, it gives you ideas, tidbits and learnings to implement.
- Follow Industry Leaders on Social Media
Your social media doesn’t have to be exclusively personal. If you spend time on social media make a point to follow some industry leaders or news sites. This helps you stay up-to-date with what you are already doing.
- Find a News Site to Check Daily
Choose 1 news site that you can check daily. Get the app and install it on your phone homepage to remember to check it. This is an easy way to get a steady stream of news.
- Create a Reading List
Choose some topics that you want to really dive into and find books about them. Blog posts are great, but they are little tidbits. Books tend to go deeper and are well researched and comprehensive.
- Attend a Training Workshop
Formal training is great because it allows you to pause, immerse yourself and really learn from an expert. Formal training is comprehensive and should arm you with what you need to improve performance. Choose 1 or 2 formal trainings to attend.
- Join Webinars
Webinars are great because you don’t have to book too much time to attend them. I’d recommend 1 webinar a month that matches the skills you want to grow. Avoid anything that is likely to be full of sales pitches to maximize the ROI on your time.
- Enlist and Accountability Partner
Most business professionals are interested in development, but it often takes a back seat to the day-to-day demands of work. Enlist a friend or colleague to help you stay accountable. If you have similar goals you can sign up for some of these items together.
- Follow Industry News on Social Media
Staying on top of news can be tough. Get your news where you already are. Choose 1 – 3 industry news sites to follow on social media. Get your news where you already are and stay up-to-date.
- Invest in Coaching
If you are serious about growth a digital coach is a great way to get 1:1 support to learn and grow. Coaching is shown to help business professionals get un-stuck with outside perspective and expertise. Consider a coach to help you achieve your goals.
- Online Training
The advantage of online training is that you can do it when it suits you. Choose a handful of online courses or certifications to complete this year and schedule the time to complete them.
- YouTube Tutorials
YouTube is an often ignored treasure trove of learning. Sure it is a little hit or miss, but if you want to learn something specific you can often find a great free video. Explore YouTube to meet some of your learning goals. You can even build a playlist to watch when you have time.
Look for opportunities to practice the things you want to learn. A lot of digital marketers volunteer to help small businesses or non-profits. This provides a low-risk way to try new things and get experience under your belt.
- Coffee Dates with Experts
If you have experts in your network, look for opportunities to schedule coffee dates (virtually) to learn from each other and share experiences. Learn from someone who has been there and done that.
- Networking, Industry Associations or Trade Groups
Trade groups or industry associations are great places for networking and learning. They usually have an education program with diverse speakers and presenters. They are a great place to learn and grow your network.
- Become a Mentor
It may sound counter-intuitive, but mentoring someone else can help you grow. You can learn from your mentee. Also by sharing your experiences you may learn a thing or two in reflection.
- Join an Advisory Board
If you want to broaden your skills, look to join an advisory board of a small business or startup. There are usually many looking for volunteers (especially with digital skills) and you can give back while learning and offering advice to expand your knowledge.
- Find a Great Group
Facebook and LinkedIn both have groups that can be amazing sources of learning. I am in some groups that have dramatically improved my knowledge. Not all groups are created equal, so choose groups wisely based on who you want to connect with.
- Start Writing and Sharing
This may sound counter intuitive, but writing about something forces you to clarify your thoughts. Make a point to write regularly about the areas you are learning about. You can write on your blog, medium or even LinkedIn.
- Create a Big Ideas Sheet
In our training we use a “Big Ideas” sheet to track ideas or things to implement. If you invest in learning you’ll have tons of notes and thoughts. You want to make sure that you track your ideas separately. Create a big ideas sheet where you write down ideas that you can implement later.
- Schedule Think Time to Implement
Schedule time to think about what you are learning and how you will implement. Book time every week or month to sit, think and write. What did you learn and what will you do about it.
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