As we work tirelessly to improve our skills and realize our professional goals, it is important to note that some of the most unexpected and impactful benefits may come from exploring new skills and interests outside of our immediate roles.
By becoming more well-rounded in our experiences and developing new skills that might not be directly related to our jobs, we are able to become more dynamic in our approach and we are often able to see problems and strategies in a different way.
Let’s dive into how busy professionals can make time in their packed schedules to work on new skills and why it is critically important for us to examine how learning something new might benefit both our personal and professional endeavors!
1. Increased satisfaction in your role
Many employees explain a greater sense of satisfaction in their roles and employers report increased productivity and overall morale. A big part of this result is thanks to the sense of meaning and accomplishment that learning something new provides for us.
When we take on unknown territory and track small progress over time, we manifest a sense of confidence from your endeavors that we can carry into other experiences, including work.
Whether you are someone that has an easy time navigating a social and strategic work environment or someone that tends to be quiet and reserved, the confidence we gain from pursuing a new discipline can be substantial.
2. Making the most of your time
One way to maximize efficiency in your role and free up some more of your time for extra learning opportunities is to incorporate more automation into your processes.
Professionals that enlist some type of automated software for time-consuming tasks like email outreach and data analysis can use that extra time to develop their new talent.
Many leading companies are going out of their way to provide learning opportunities for their employees because they see the mutual benefit that these opportunities provide for the growth of their business and their employees.
Whether you are interested in some type of web design or you’ve taken it upon yourself to learn something new, don’t be afraid to showcase your work.
Pro Tip: If you’ve been waiting to learn something new, but are struggling to find the time in your schedule to pursue it, think about how your new skill will help you make an impact at work, present your case to your team and ask for a small amount of time in your work-week to learn more. Show your team how your new knowledge provides value, then ask for more time to learn!
3. Thinking creatively and critically
Once we finally feel comfortable in our roles, the idea of taking on something new might seem exhausting, but when we test ourselves to learn something new, our minds are forced to experiment and see things in a new way.
This can pay big dividends when it comes to problem-solving skills and the perspective you bring to strategic decision making.
Depending on how related your extracurricular pursuit is to your work, you might be improving a skill that becomes invaluable to the company down the road.
With so much cross-collaboration and communication, it’s not unreasonable to assume that even though the skill you are interested in honing might not seem immediately relevant to you work, it may come in handy as you meet new clients and explore new business opportunities
If you’re interested in art, design, computer programming or anything of the sort, there should be plenty of opportunities for you to implement what you learn in your professional career.
“The more you do, the more you can do,” is true in this instance because by learning something on your own time and taking the initiative to show how it can benefit your team, your coworkers will respect your effort and may give you more opportunities to spread your wings.
4. Network while you learn new skills
While pursuing skills outside of your main area of expertise can benefit you in terms of your own self-improvement and self-esteem, it can also open doors for you in terms of new relationships.
In order to grow as an individual, it is critically important to surround yourself with people that think differently than you and test your ideas.
By actively seeking new ways of learning and different trains of thought, you’ll have more opportunities to put your thinking to the test and adapt successful learning strategies from others.
Make good use of social networking tools like Linkedin and take the initiative to get out and introduce yourself. This is an invaluable skill in business and can also help speed up the learning process once you meet good teachers.
You never know how connecting with someone over common interests may evolve into new opportunities and a valuable relationship.
5. The new skills of learning
While we hope that we are adequately prepared for each new job experience and each new challenge in our roles, it’s inevitable that we will come across something new.
Depending on your expertise, you may or may not have an interest in learning something new that is directly associated with your daily tasks, but by taking on a new practice—whatever it is—we improve our ability to learn.
Pro Tip: It’s usually best to recap something you recently learned one or two days after first studying it rather than immediately because this signals to the brain that the information must be stored and retained.
Final thoughts on learning new skills
The fact of the matter is that the act of learning is a skill, and there are different strategies for learning. By continually challenging ourselves to learn something new, we improve our ability to learn in general, so that the next time we are presented with an unfamiliar project or practice, we can approach it with confidence and a back pocket full of tested learning strategies.
So, the next time we approach a project at work or encounter a roadblock in our lives or our work, we can draw from these new experiences, skills, and practices and approach the problem from a different angle—which might be the difference between the same old result and newfound success.
If there’s a skill you’ve always wanted to learn or an unexplored interest, then wait no longer!
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Samuel Kaye is a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips and writes about a variety of topics ranging from content marketing strategy to business development to help entrepreneurs and business owners grow their ventures.