29 March 2011

It's not a meme, but...

What are your professional learning habits?

Jeffrey Cufaude poses this question and answers it well.

He also asked other people to weigh in, so...

Mine?

Read voraciously

And not just business books which, for the most part, at least in my experience, are just going to make you dumber. Don't just read "fast food" fiction either (and if you've been checking my "What I'm Reading" posts, you know I've been guilty of this of late). Read non-fiction. Read literary fiction. Read great magazines like MIT's Technology Review, the New Yorker, and GQ (where the feature writing is OUTSTANDING). Read classics. Read stuff that's been translated from some other language. Read the paper. Read smart bloggers, and not just those who blog about association management. Re-read the books that changed your life in college or grad school. Read.

TED Talks

I definitely second Jeffrey's TED Talks recommendation. Smart people talking about interesting stuff in 20 minutes or less. Again, don't just view what you know - seek out stuff that's completely unfamiliar.

Participate

When you get invited to speak, attend the full conference if at all possible, even if it's not specifically in your field. There are limits to this. I had the opportunity to attend the AAP conference when I first started at NACHRI, and I attended the general sessions, but the breakouts were way the hell over my head. But I went to the general sessions, and heard some great talks. And when you're there, use the opportunity to talk to people (aka "the other attendees") you otherwise wouldn't have the chance to meet, particularly if they
seem different from you in some major way (age, gender, where they live, race/ethnicity, profession, seniority, etc.). Actually, that's good advice for life in general.

Unplug 

This is a topic I revisit here at T4P periodically, but I cannot overstress the importance of occasionally going off the grid for awhile. Our brains, our psyches, and our hearts need time away from the electronic hamster wheel. Different people need different amounts of time away and at different intervals of frequency, but we all need some time out to process, think, recharge, and refresh. (And yes, I think Seth Godin's "if you really loved what you were doing, you'd never need time off" position is complete and utter bullshit.)

What are your professional learning habits?



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