4 Business Learning Hacks for the Time-Starved Promotional Professional

Reading time: 3 minutes

From the minute your alarm goes off in the morning and your feet hit the ground, you race from one raging deadline to the next: shuffling kids to school, business meetings, projects with screaming drop-dead dates; it’s brutal trying to steal a minute for yourself each day.

But as an entrepreneur growing a business, you need advice now more than ever, to help you avoid costly mistakes, to learn from the success of others, and to keep you encouraged throughout your journey!

The irony is, due to the demands of running a business, you have less time now than ever before but, what if you could read 28 new books, listen to over 200 podcast episodes, and watch 52 Ted Talks, within a year, all without it costing you any more time?

You can.

The education available today (at your fingertips!) is remarkable: there are more learning resources now than at any other time in the history of the world and, thanks to the convenience of technology, “lack of time” is no longer an excuse.

Here are four hacks that will help you weave a learning regimen into your busy routine without it taxing your schedule:

  1. Audiobooks: If you have a commute of only 15 minutes a day (in one direction), and, if you run errands throughout the week (who doesn’t?) you’ll likely spend somewhere around 178 hours in transportation throughout the year. The average audiobook is 11 hours long. That means, during your commute time, you can read a minimum of 16 books a year, while on-the-go. If you train your brain to start an audiobook each time you get into a cab (a subway, train, or plane), you’ll create a lifetime of learning without adding more time to your calendar. A subscription to Audible is well-worth the price and for a no-cost option, check out Librivox.
  2. Podcasts: We all sit at our desks too much, and studies have shown that the act of walking is crucial to the creative process. If you take a daily walk anywhere (to work, to lunch, to the gym), you have a fantastic opportunity to learn while getting your exercise. If you have no walking regimen in your daily schedule, purchase a shower radio and listen while you get ready for the day. Podcasts awaken the mind to new ideas, and they are topical, timely, and a refreshing way to learn (and ideal for the gym, too). Click here for a list of our favorite business podcasts. Also, don’t forget about skucast, our podcast dedicated to helping entrepreneurs in the promotional product’s industry, thrive.
  3. Videos (TED Talks, skucon sessions): Did you know that there are over 2,400 TED Talks? They are (each) around 18-minutes long. Schedule a weekly lunch-and-learn with a few colleagues. Even if it’s you and one friend, put it on the calendar and start a weekly viewing session. Doing so will get 52 astounding new ideas into your life without it costing you any more time. And TED has already curated their collection for you, a good place to start is their most viewed Ted Talks for business (we’ve saved you a few clicks and sorted it for you, here). We also highly recommend a few of the videos from skucon and Expo, notably Ted Church’s video on How to Differentiate by Design, and highlights from Mark Graham’s interview with Norm Hullinger of alphabroder, and don’t forget about PPAI’s Online Education portal where you can learn while you earn (credits toward PPAI Certification).
  4. Books: Book-length reading (whether it takes a digital form or a physical book) seems to be the most difficult discipline to fit into a daily routine, but there is one secret hack: a chapter over breakfast. An imperative discipline for a successful entrepreneur: you need to start your day slow. If your idea of waking up is to check email while in bed and then grab food in a drive-thru, you’re launching your day from a platform of panic. Instead, when you sit down for morning coffee, crack that book you’ve wanted to read. Another secret is accessibility: Keep a pile of books on the breakfast counter (or in your kitchen, or in your bag) so that you eliminate any excuse about “not having anything to read.” A chapter a day means you can read a new book every few months. If you’re not sure where to start, our friend Kirby Hasseman has published an excellent list of his favorite books.

Do you have a favorite podcast, business book, or video that you recommend? Are you currently reading or listening to something we should know about?  Share it with the community!

Check back with us next week as we’ll share how to cultivate creativity for yourself and how to foster creativity with your team, when you have no time.

Happy learning!


Speaking of saving time: Did you know that customers on commonsku say that the platform saves them 10 hours per week in productivity? Sign-up for your free trial, here.


Also published on Medium.