This is What 20 to 60 Minutes of Learning per Day Can Do for Your Brain
Don't call it "reading"; call it "learning".
I’ve just got back from my morning walk – which today went for around 70 minutes.
I managed to get through 1 hour 03 minutes of Tim Ferris’s book ‘Tribe of Mentors’ (listening at 2.10x speed). I made some notes on some of the key ‘aha’ moments for me – One of them being only allowing myself to have my morning latte right before the same activity each day – so that in my case might be making cold calls.
But the Pavolovian style association with ‘things’ is powerful – and what you can do with coffee really spoke to me.
This is notwithstanding the other advice I read which is that to be creative and do something well it’s actually better to be in a place of financial comfort.
Whilst equally it’s important to do something you’ll know you’ll fail at each month – because failures teach you mental fortitude and discipline.
Also, in beginning this read of Tribe Of Mentors – I also found a load of ‘blinkist’ short reads based upon the most popular books from Tim and other authors – around 15.
So I’ll get through them all eventually.
I’m closing in on 300 blinkists read which is pretty cool – although I’ve been using that app for over 2 years so it’s maybe 1 ‘blink’ every 3-days (they’re 8-15 minute reads).
Nonetheless – I started the journey of ‘learn every day’ around November 2019 – so I’m around 19 months into it.
It’s difficult to catalogue the impact this has had upon my growth.
I guess now it’s no coincidence that every Friday I’ll do team training internally and use it as an opportunity to ‘give back’ effectively.
It’s more and more now focussing upon life advice and general productivity and efficiency insights more than it is anything specific to a subject.
Writing is the other thing that I tend to do pretty regularly.
It’s a solid way to organise your thoughts before you start your day – and I guess in some senses I find it meditative and calming because I can write out the meanderings of my mind (of which there are many).
That’s why I’m leaning of late towards these 20-minute sprints of producing content and now NOT making it keyword focussed but again taking it back to basics and making it about whatever is on my mind.
It’s definitely the case that ‘learning’ – and learning proactively and with purpose – outside of ‘on-the-job’ training – definitely gives you a competitive advantage above and beyond what your job requires you to do.
If it’s required – you’ll learn those things anyway – but then outside of that – how you spend your time is critical.
My reading (like my mind) meanders.
So I’ll find things that pique my interest because it’s something I was recommended, by Blinkist, Audible, a friend or otherwise. Other times there might be a question I have in my personal or professional life that leads me to reading something about it.
Then, each week on Friday I have an opportunity to give back to the team and share something with them.
Let’s run the math on ‘learning’.
20 minutes per day (on average), 365 days per day is 121.6 hours – or 5 days straight of learning.
And given its intense and purposeful nature – I’d say it’s 3x more effective than much of the other learning you’ll do (so let’s make it 60 minutes per day of ‘value).
So we’ll expand it’s ‘value’ to 15 days.
That’s 15 days of additional learning per year. Over a decade that’s 150 days or 5 months.
I guess this is a way of encouraging you to consider learning. And notice I use the word learning. Try and take things away from that which you read.
And don’t ‘read’. It suggests a passive activity that doesn’t require deep engagement.
I mean ‘study’ – engage with the content, take notes, and try and feed it back into your everyday life.
The gains you make over time will get you ahead.