I don't have time to learn everything I want

I don’t have enough time to learn everything I want. What should I do?

Good news!

Those things you want to learn… you can absolutely find the time to learn them.

And the bad news?

The bad news is you must convince yourself of 3 brutal truths about finding time to learn:

  1. You choose what you do with your time.
  2. You can find time.
  3. Either you choose or someone else chooses for you.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these truths…

Truth #1: You choose what you do with your time

Whatever you’re doing with your time right now, you chose it.

Maybe it feels like an obligation or maybe you feel like you don’t have a choice. But in the end, it was all you. No one else but you.

You chose to read this article. You chose to hang out with your friends. You chose to help out around the house. You chose to grab that beer and veg out.

Whether it’s doing chores, running errands or taking care of family, it feels like we often don’t have a choice. The thing is you made a choice to do those things, because you decided that doing them is better for you than not doing them.

You can always choose to skip chores, run those errands tomorrow or ignore your family. You might not like the consequences, but you are in control of what you do with your time.

Truth #2: You can find time

You might be thinking:

But Ray, there’s only so many hours in a day.

It’s so hard to fit in learning after work.

And handling the difficulty of learning along with fighting the stress of deadlines is a big issue, too.

I feel your pain. I feel it because I’m living it.

I’ve got about 5-6 hours between finishing up at work and sleep.

With eating, cleaning up, hanging out with my family, taking an after-dinner stroll, getting my daughter washed up and ready for bed, and then reading to her before she goes down for the night, I’m left with around 2-3 hours (on a good day).

At this point, I’m ready to wind down my day and fitting in learning after all that is the last thing on my mind.

You know what is on my mind?

The stress of deadlines. Oh, and the latest problem at work is replaying in my mind, too.

So how did I switch gears?

I decided not to.

Forcing myself to push through learning when my energy is at its lowest is an unsustainable approach to learning. I’d have to work up the motivation and muster up the energy to learn.

To me, learning when I’m exhausted felt unproductive. So why not learn when I feel refreshed?

I systematically rearranged my schedule so that those 2-3 hours are in the morning when I wake up.

Rather than learn when my energy levels are at its lowest, I learn when my brain is most receptive to learning. Everyone’s peak learning hours are different. Some learn better first thing in the morning. You might learn better right after breakfast or in the evening.

Find your peak learning hours and then protect them.

I find mornings quiet and peaceful, so I invest a few minutes the night before to decide what I’ll be learning in the morning. I don’t want to be fumbling around trying to figure what to learn and wasting my peak learning hours.

Truth #3: Either you choose or someone else chooses for you

Imagine you have 2-3 hours at the end of the day after everything you want to take care of is done. What happens?

Maybe you watch TV? Maybe you surf the Internet? Maybe you get on Facebook. Or perhaps you spend time with your family or spouse.

This might be exactly what you’re looking to do, but who made the choice? Did you make the choice, or did it just happen?

For me, 2-3 hours at the end of the day usually meant I was randomly browsing the Internet. I’d bounce from click-baity articles to YouTube videos to my Facebook feed to Twitter and then to Google News and the list goes on.

I didn’t really think about what I’d do with those 2-3 hours.

By not choosing what I was doing in those 2-3 hours, I was making the choice to let those 2-3 hours happen by default. Whatever happens will just happen.

Your turn

Truth #1 says we choose where we invest our time.

Truth #2 says we can find the time.

Truth #3 says if we don’t choose where to invest our time, someone or something else will do it for us.

Now, it’s your turn…

How many hours or minutes do you have to yourself in a day? When are your peak learning hours? Can you rearrange your schedule so that your free time and peak learning hours align?

Let us know in the comments below or send us an email.

About the Author
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Ray Li

Ray is a software engineer and data enthusiast who has been blogging for over a decade. He loves to learn, teach and grow. You’ll usually find him wrangling data, programming and lifehacking.

Comments 2

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    Ray, I completely agree with this article. In the last five or six years, I’ve done what you suggested and switched my schedule so that I was using the 2-3 hours before I left for my paying job to learn what I was most interested in, as well as to do things like meditate.

    It’s all about taking responsibility for how one uses the time we’re given.

    Great start!

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