What Is Just In Time Learning?
I just finished listening to an AskPat episode where Pat Flynn admitted that he really doesn’t listen to that many podcasts or read blogs regularly. Yes, he’s got a few that have impacted him so much he tries to keep up with them but only if it serves a need he has RIGHT NOW! He also mentions that of the media he does consume, he doesn’t save them all in their own folders. Instead, he keeps email or evernote folders around topics and puts the articles or links into them as he discovers them.
For instance, he said he’s not doing Pinterest right now but he’s got a folder of information on the subject that he can go to WHEN HE NEEDS IT!
This practice, referred to as “Just In Time Learning” was first introduced to me a little while back from the guys at the Internet Business Mastery site. The underlying premise is that learning is great but learning exactly what you need to know NOW is way more effective. Let me use myself as an example to prove this.
My Own Experience
When I first realized not too long ago that I might be an entrepreneur, I had a lot of de-programming and learning to do. My idea of an entrepreneur was one of a hard-driven ADD patient who couldn’t sit still for more than a few seconds. The only way they accomplished anything boiled down to mathematics. In other words, if you start one hundred projects and finish ten, eventually one of them will work out for you. I learned listening to John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur On Fire podcast this simply wasn’t the case. The most successful of his guests always had failures. However, it was usually because the ideas were not relevant to their audiences. Not because they were so busy doing a hundred projects that some of them just never got finished.
In business, we have this tendency to think anything related to our topic is worth consuming. Here’s an example that should clarify this for you. When was the last time you learned how to make yarn so you could knit a sweater? Sounds completely stupid doesn’t it? Yet, how many times have you found yourself learning about twitter while you’re working on landing page copy? Did it help you? No, it didn’t. We need to take the same approach to our businesses that we do to non-business pursuits. Learn all you can about what you’re trying to do right now and take action on it! Period.
Still, with my flawed idea of how success worked I thought I needed to do a lot of “catching up.” At one point, I was listening to around ten podcasts regularly. Guess what I discovered? That’s right, overconsuming leads to underproducing. Plain and simple. Sure, I was learning a lot of stuff I didn’t know but would I remember it when I needed it? Probably not. Plus, what difference does it make how much you have to teach if you’re never writing anything? None. I’ve since scaled way back and even the ones I follow I don’t listen to all of them. If the topic is not immediately relevant, I skip it. Sure, I may be missing some “nuggets” but I’ll take that chance if it gives me thirty to sixty minutes back to create something I can be proud of.
My Suggestion For You
So, like Pat, I’m urging you to practice “Just In Time Learning.” When you set a goal, keep your eyes open for everything that will help you accomplish that goal right now. Then, take action on that content. The rest, let it be. It will always be there later if it serves another goal you have. In the mean time, don’t let trying to learn everything get in the way of learning and using the ONE thing that will move your business forward.
Do you still find yourself knee deep in content that doesn’t serve your immediate goal? Then, you’re struggling to produce anything and wonder why? Let me know how you deal with it by leaving a comment below.