Learning new skills can be challenging, especially when a full-time job takes up most of your day. However, with the right approach and mindset, acquiring new skills while working full-time is possible.
Whether you’re looking to enhance your job performance, switch careers, or satisfy your curiosity, there are many ways to learn new skills without sacrificing your work-life balance.
This blog post will explore ten practical ways to learn new skills while working full-time. By implementing these strategies, you can take control of your personal and professional growth and become a more well-rounded and fulfilled individual.
1. Enroll in Online Programs
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2020 about 29% of Oklahoma undergraduates were solely enrolled in online programs at postsecondary educational institutions. Moreover, roughly 33% of college students in the state were enrolled in online programs.
Online programs offer the flexibility to study at your own pace and schedule. It means you can learn new skills during your free time, such as after work or on weekends. Additionally, online programs are often more affordable than conventional classroom-based courses, making them an excellent option for those on a tight budget. You can check out universities’ websites in your city or state to see if they offer online courses.
One example of a reputable institution that offers online programs is Southeastern Oklahoma State University online which has a robust online learning platform that allows students to access a wide range of courses from anywhere in the world. The programs are taught by experienced instructors and cover a variety of subjects, including business, education, and nursing.
When looking for online programs, choose the ones that align with your interests and career goals. You should also consider the reputation of the institution offering the course.
2. Prioritize and Plan
Prioritizing and planning are essential skills that can help you to learn new skills while managing your work commitments.
Here are some tips on how to prioritize and plan effectively to learn new skills with a full-time job:
- Identify your goals: Start by identifying your goals and what you want to achieve by learning new skills. It will help you to focus your efforts on the skills that are most relevant to your career or personal growth.
- Make a plan: Once you have identified your goals, plan for achieving them. Break down the skills you want to learn into smaller, manageable tasks, and allocate time for each task in your schedule. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to learning new skills daily or weekly.
- Set priorities: Prioritize the skills essential to your career or personal growth. It will help you focus your efforts on the skills that will most impact your goals.
- Schedule learning time: Set aside specific times for learning new skills. It could be a few hours each week or a few minutes each day. Make sure you stick to your schedule and use the time to focus on your learning goals.
3. Utilize Your Commute Time
With a full-time job, finding time for personal development can be challenging, but by utilizing your commute time, you can make the most of this otherwise wasted time. For instance, you can listen to podcasts or audiobooks related to your industry or interests, listen to online lectures, read books or even practice a new language using language learning apps. These activities can help you stay engaged, learn something new, and improve your skills while making the most of your daily commute.
4. Join a Community
Connecting with like-minded individuals who share similar interests, hobbies, or professional goals allows you to access valuable resources, mentorship opportunities, and hands-on experiences that can help you develop new skills and advance your career. For instance, if you’re interested in coding, consider joining a local coding group, attending coding bootcamps or hackathons, or participating in online forums and communities dedicated to coding. These communities can provide access to expert advice, peer support, and networking opportunities that can help you enhance your skills and provide you with best practices in your field.
5. Attend Conferences Or Workshops
Workshops and conferences provide opportunities to network with professionals in the industry, gain exposure to new trends and technologies, and participate in interactive learning sessions. For example, a marketing professional could attend a digital marketing conference to learn about the latest social media strategies, attend workshops on content creation or SEO, and network with experts in the field. By attending these events, professionals can stay up-to-date on industry changes and gain valuable skills to enhance their career growth.
6. Use Your Weekends Or Lunch Break Effectively
By dedicating time outside work hours to learning, you can progress toward your goals without sacrificing your current job responsibilities. For example, if you want to learn a new language, you can use your lunch break to practice with language learning apps or podcasts and dedicate some of your weekend time to attending language classes or conversing with native speakers.
7. Find a Mentor
A mentor can provide insights, support and guidance that can help you grow personally and professionally. For example, if you are interested in learning coding skills, finding a mentor with experience in the field can give you a leg up in your learning process. You can meet with your mentor regularly, discuss your progress, ask questions, and receive feedback on your work. You can receive customized guidance that fits your learning style, goals, and needs with a mentor.
Learning new skills while working full-time can seem daunting, but it is achievable with the right approach. It is essential to prioritize, plan, set achievable goals, and use all available resources, including online courses, workshops, and mentorship. Time management is key, and utilizing commute time, lunch breaks, and weekends can be a great way to fit in some extra learning. By staying motivated, dedicated, and persistent, anyone can learn new skills while balancing a full-time job. The process may be challenging, but personal and professional growth rewards are well worth the effort.