Most Contractors know that they don’t know everything. Most Contractors know that they need to learn more to grow their business.
The problem isn’t that they think they’ve got it all solved; the problem is, we’re all insanely business and it’s hard to find time to learn.
It happens… a lot. We may squeeze in some time during a quiet day to learn something that we can use to grow our business but as things pick up and the busy season starts to overwhelm, it becomes harder to find the time. Learning gets put aside in favor of just trying to stay on top of all the work that needs to get done.
If you know the importance of learning to grow your contracting business, but if you struggle with finding the time, then keep reading because here are 5 ways to learn on the fly even if you don’t think you have the time:
1. Record Your Learning. Get a blank spiral-bound notebook. Turn to about page 4 or 5 (leaving the first few pages as a table of contents you’ll fill in as you go). Draw a horizontal line across the middle of the page, which will give you about 15 lines at the top of the page and 15 at the bottom. Each of these “half-pages” will be a lesson. Don’t try to fill tons of pages on anything, just keep yourself focused on taking just half a page of notes on anything. This will make your learning go faster while also keeping you focused.
2. Start With A Question. Rather than picking up a book or listening to a podcast and wondering, “What will I learn while I read/listen to this?” Start by asking yourself a question. Write the question at the top of one of your half-pages in your notebook. The question might about a problem you have in your business right now or a skill you need to learn. Then read a few pages in books and on websites to find your answer. This method of learning keeps you really focused on practical topics rather than the more time-consuming open-ended “What will I learn from this book?” method.
3. Learn In 3 Minute Segments. Too often, people think they need to listen to an entire podcast, read an entire chapter, or watch an entire video to learn anything. This is not true. Set the alarm on your mobile phone for 3 minutes and start listening, reading, or watching. When 3 minutes is up, summarize what you’ve learned in a few quick notes in your notebook. You don’t need to spend a long time. And, you’ll make it more valuable when you continue to the next step.
4. Take Action Right Away. If you read a whole book and then just take one or two actions as a result, you’ll have put in a lot of study time for just a small result. But if you keep your learning to just a few minutes and then take an intentional action from that, you’ll get more focused on the action you’re taking and overall you’ll take even more action and create even more change from what you learn.
5. Squeeze In More Time. It’s easy to find time when you’re looking for it, and even easier if you’re just looking for 3 minutes here or there. Why not listen to a podcast on the way home from the office? Or read for 3 minutes while you drink your coffee in the morning? Your learning doesn’t have to be an interruption in the day; it can be leveraged from time you never realized was available to you when you thought about learning differently.
No one knows everything there is to know about growing their business, that’s why it’s so important to learn. But for most Contractors, learning seems to be a big, time-consuming effort that you have to set aside time to do. As a result, it’s easy to procrastinate on your learning. However, if you use this approach above, you can make your learning more frequent and more practical while fitting into the time available to you.