Marketers working full-time have a lot on their plates,
am I right?
From waking up, getting ready, taking a long commute into work, meetings, deadlines, meetings, deadlines, oh and another meeting, email, then commuting back on home, taking care of your family, checking your email and Slacks into the wee hours of the night. Then sleep, rinse and repeat. Exhausting and expected every day.
It's really no surprise that the average employee only has time to devote 1% of their work week to amplifying their professional development. That's only around 25 minutes a week. Yikes!
So how does anyone have time to grow into their profession, gain new skills all while still balancing a plethora of other tasks in a day? Well here's the thing, if you don't have the "always learning" mindset in gear, you will miss out on today's trends, tomorrow's next level ideas, and ultimately how to progress further in your career.
But again, it's hard for working adults to hit the grind, and learn while they do it. At Six Bricks, we know it, we get it, we live it. Our focus is to get working adults in the marketing and sales fields real, honest and relatable curriculum that fit into their schedule.
The 5 Steps to Getting your Learning On.
But we're talking about you here not us, so here are 5 steps we recommend to ensure you're always learning and striving for that next promotion and not burning yourself out in the process!
#1: Take a Bite of "Snackable-Learning"
Research by Dianne Dukette and David Cornish (2009) suggests that the maximum attention span for learning is 20 minutes, this is especially true for adult working learners. We already know working adults find it challenging to find the time to learn something new, so just focus on small time increments!
Here are a few ways you can take a bite out of this one:
- Six Bricks courses run 30 to 60 mins long each. Spread that bad boy out over a couple days or take the course during your lunch time!
- Read 1-2 new blogs every day from some of your most admired sources. Let's be very honest, a blog shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to consume. Make sure whatever you want to remember for later you take notes, OR even Pin the blog using a Pinterest board.
- You can find some awesome content on sites like:
- Listen to podcasts! This is a great way to get in some snackable learning, you can listen while you work or listen on the commute.
#2: Make S.M.A.R.T goals
Like anyone, there are times where you might feel like you're working your tail off but not getting to that next step in your career. So instead of working so hard, start working a little smarter by leveraging S.M.A.R.T. goals.
The S.M.A.R.T goals framework allows you to make sure your learning and career goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timely.
This framework focuses around asking you questions around your goals such as:
- S - What are you looking to accomplish & why?
- M - How will I know if I have accomplished this?
- A - How do you plan to accomplish this?
- R - Is this goal something that makes sense for me and my career?
- T - What time frame do I want to bound myself to in this goal?
Whether your goal is to admin a software platform at your organization or learn everything you can around Google Analytics, this framework will help you ensure you meet that goal.
#3: Challenge yourself daily
Most people learn best by DOING. The best way to do this is challenging yourself daily to learn or DO something new! There are a lot of ways you can accomplish that; here's a simple on-the-job email marketing scenario that will show you just how.
Scenario: Scheduling an Email Send
Before you draft up some copy in your stale email template, let's think of a few things you can do to challenge yourself and stretch your skills.
- A/B test your subject lines - See what resonates better with your audience by sending two distinct subject lines out, see which has higher open rates as a result.
- We have an awesome course on A/B Testing you can sign up for here.
- Play with your audience segments - Send a different type of message to "decision makers" than to your "influencers" or any other segments that make sense for your business. You can break these messages up by using Plain Text for your decision makers and HTML emails for your influencers.
- Dabble with some CODE! - Most marketers that are not exposed to email or web marketing don't realize that knowing tiny lines of CSS & HTML are a small yet required part of the job. You can get up to speed on the small things you'll need to learn by simply looking through the code of your email. Start small by changing a button color or the weight of a font, then every day add something new to what you'd like to know about the topic.
- Our Email Marketing Basics course gives you a behind the scenes look at what makes the HTML tick in an email, and shows you what you can manipulate yourself!
These small challenges, to not only LEARN a new skill by DOING but also help you have more well-rounded marketing projects are sure to kick your learning and career into high gear. Remember, do it daily! And speaking of days...
#4: Talk to people!
This doesn't mean talking to Brenda in the break room about the drama she's currently having with Carl from sales. No no, start networking with your peers, people in different departments, picking brains of individuals you look up to in your organization and even outside of it.
Social Learning, or learning from others, accounts for up to 90% of what we learn. Learning from others, whether it be structured or on the fly, is a critical component to gaining new experiences, educating yourself, and expanding your network. It's also fun to learn with others! So take advantage of what the people around you know. There is a lot of untapped knowledge everywhere, reach out and grab it.
If you can, don't forget to speak to your manager or mentor
Be honest about where you see yourself in a year or even five. In the very fast pace of marketing, there is a lot of great stuff any one person can do in the span of a year, but it will be even better if you have someone on your side helping to push you towards that greatness. They might have some awesome insights for you to fast track your learning and your career progression. They can also help hold you accountable for the goals you have.
Also, find a study buddy
If someone on your team or a friend of yours is looking to learn something similar to you, work on your goals together! Meet regularly to discuss what you've learned, share best practices, and have fun seeing your skills expand simultaneously.
#5: 21 days make a habit
FINALLY, now that you have all these great tips that should allow you to fit learning into your day and help you progress in your career, stick with them! They say 21 days helps build a habit. Take on a few of these tips like listening to a podcast on your way to work every other day, challenging yourself with a new task daily or taking a Six Bricks course once a week and hold yourself accountable to them.
Putting in reoccurring reminders on your phone or calendar is a great way to help remind you of these new goals.
Defining your S.M.A.R.T goals around your desire to learn and making them VERY apparent to your manager will help you stick with them as well.
If after 21 days it doesn't stick, try a different approach.
You have all the ingredients, you just need to change the portions of your recipe up! Either way, we think these tips will surely get you on the right path to fitting in actionable learning into your busy schedule.