Greater than 3 minutes, my friend!
2017 is here! It’s usually the time when we think about what we would like to do/improve during the upcoming, but will fail to accomplish.
Among all those resolutions, you may want to develop new skills, gain more knowledge in one (or more) of your fields of expertise.
When I started as a translator, I quickly realized that I needed more than translation skills to “survive and thrive”. For that, I had to find short courses packed with useful knowledge.
CPD is almost an obligation. But sometimes, it’s hard to keep going on a regular basis, attend courses at the end of a long and/or stressful day. It feels overwhelming and I’m having a hard time myself. You know that information overload feeling?
Last week, I found two interesting options to learn more without feeling under pressure. It comes in small quantities, so I don’t have to dedicate big chunks of time each day. I started to use them straight away (always eager to learn and try new things).
One of the secrets of a successful CPD plan is to understand how you work.
For example, what do you do when you find a good article but you don’t have time to read it entirely?
If you are like me, you probably bookmark it in your browser’s favorites or in an app like Pocket. Or you save it for later in the day, keeping the tab open in your browser.
But how many times do you go back to your favorites to finish reading that article?
Me, almost never. Sometimes, I’m surprised to rediscover articles when I dig through Pocket (my Pocket looks like Hermione’s magical bag in Harry Potter, bottomless).
I noticed one thing that I always read/check every day: my emails. I don’t like having unread emails in my inbox. I always take some time to have a look at the articles I received via the newsletters I subscribed to. So the trick is to send those articles in my inbox.
For that, I simply use an IFTTT applet that sends me the articles straight into my inbox every time I bookmark them in Pocket.
They are saved in Pocket, I see them in my inbox and purposely left them unread until I have finished work, so I can devour them. When I’m done, I can delete the email, the article is safely stored in Pocket for further reference.
Bonus tip: there is also a Pocket app for smartphones, so you can bookmark your articles on the go! (ideal for articles shared on Twitter).
Back to CPD! Here are two platforms where you can learn new things, little by little and at your own pace.
Highbrow makes it simple to learn new things in small bite-size chunks, one day at a time. It covers a dozen topics.
Simply pick the course you like, register with your email address and for the next 10 (working) days, you will receive an email a day with your lesson. Easy, isn’t it?
You can get started with the chosen topic’s basics and it’s easy to digest. Each lesson will require about 5 minutes of your time. No big deal.
I find it great to start looking at a subject you would like to turn into a specialization in the future.
You can dig deeper into the subject thanks to the links provided and books recommended.
To keep you productive, you are limited to one course at a time.
This free app (available on iOS and Android) is mostly about marketing, like web marketing, SEO, ads, etc.
It takes up to 5-10 minutes to complete one lesson. Each lesson is divided in about 3 sections in a card format where you learn the concepts. Sections are separated by short quizzes. The lesson ends with a short practical activity to apply the acquired knowledge.
Each week, you are presented with 5 topics, one for each day, only 5 minutes per day. Easy, right?
It works for me at the moment, because I read my email and like to keep my inbox free of unread emails.
Apps are great too. I have the bad habit to carry my smartphone with me all the time. I try now to make a better use of it, rather than browsing mindlessly through social networks.
If you already tried to analyse your daily productivity, you may have noticed some “wasted” hours during your day, hours when you did nothing. Like when you are waiting at the supermarket, at the doctor, when commuting to/from your office, etc.
Some of us listen to podcast during those times. But you can also use that time for short, concise CPD lessons.
These are two solutions among others. If you know other options, please share them in the comments.
So, are you ready to start the year with a bang and use one or both of the options above to make regular CPD course a habit this year? I will definitely try to!
What are your CPD plans for 2017?
P.S.: Happy New Year 😉