Sometimes taking more courses, reading more blog posts, listening to more podcasts, or reading more books is the fastest way to slow down progress towards your goals. Becoming an information hoarder does not make you any better a given skill – whether you’re an entrepreneur or employee.
We call this “Just in Case Learning.” It’s the kind of learning that happens when we think, “Well, I might be able to use this someday.” And so we set out to fill our brains with new information, thinking this equals productivity.
But in fact, we know that the most effective learning strategies come from theory + application + having a learning community. I call this “Just in Time Learning.” Or, in other words, learning what you need to know when you need to know it.
The best time to learn is when you have a clear goal that you don’t have the knowledge or skills to reach on your own. Let’s say you want to learn to fly fish, but you have no idea where to start.. Great, now is the perfect time to learn that skill: you need the theory and you have a project to apply your learning to. If you want your learning to be even more effective, you can do it amongst a community like Trout Unlimited. Or, if you were starting a business, you could use something like Fizzle
Just in case learning is driven by the fear of missing out. Just in time learning is what you do when you want to make real progress – whether that’s in learning to fly fish, building a business, or becoming a better cook.
What if you committed yourself to learning what you need, when you need it?