Want to know a secret? Working smarter is less about amassing comprehensive knowledge and more about picking up little tips along the way. You don’t need a degree in organizational psychology to upskill your practices; you just need to be intentional about the content you consume.
As someone whose greatest joy was nerding out in a graduate seminar debating theories, I’ve found that professional development outside of academia looks a little different. Instead of deep diving into complex texts or exploring theoretical frameworks, my routine professional development today feels a lot lighter and more practical.
I love learning new things but, as a busy creator on a small team, I have to find sources that fit into a fast-paced environment and have a short gap between knowledge and practice. Structuring learning opportunities into my daily routine allows me to regularly improve my work, consistently offer more value to my clients, and have conversations that resonate when networking.
Since I love a good think tank - let me share some of my favourite ways to integrate gleaning knowledge into my daily work life!
Podcasts - press pause on the true-crime for a few minutes!
Imagine a world where you replace the thrill of an unsolved mystery with that of a more efficient workflow process. Ok, I may not have you convinced, but I promise if you find the right podcast you will be swayed! Whether you commute or work from home, there are plenty of opportunities to play a podcast in the background of your day.
Pop on a podcast when you are doing something with a low mental load so you can listen in with one ear - and hit that replay button real quick if you missed something interesting. Find a go-to podcast that gives you valuable knowledge from a host you find engaging. I love Adam Grant’s “Work Life” because: he’s not afraid to challenge his guests (disrupt and evolve, Botree style), he’s an expert in his field of improving organizations (our passion), he provides concrete examples that give me ideas I can quickly apply (our style), and he quotes people a lot (Botree is all about cross-pollination of ideas).
Instagram - not just for memes.
If you are privy to the discourse on social media wellbeing, you’ve heard about curating your content. Well, you shouldn’t just be intentional about unfollowing toxic accounts and seeking diversity in your content creators, you should be selective about integrating accounts that help you grow!
Follow businesses you admire for inspiration, coaches who post business tips, experts who share new statistics, competitors to stay informed, and creatives who experiment with new marketing techniques you could incorporate. Let’s face it, you’re going to scroll during work hours so at least make the content applicable! I like @sandboxcentre and @gchbec to keep my pulse on the business community, programs and events (also, why not give us a follow too? @botreeinc).
Email Marketing - don’t just trash those spam emails; shocking, I know.
Bear with me for a second, this one will be hard to swallow. Try actually opting in to some of those email marketing options when you sign up for new product subscriptions.
I am not talking about the ads for sales that somehow happen monthly at your favourite clothing store, but rather for new business-related products or technology subscriptions you’ve purchased. Email marketing campaigns are often chock full of product releases, important updates, and, best of all, FREE IDEAS!! You can find interesting ways to leverage the products, support for maximizing efficiency, tips for ease of use, and how-to articles.
Our team often excitedly circulates forwarded marketing emails because they included long-awaited cross-platform integrations or a clear how-to video giving us the shortcuts we needed to truncate our workflow process. We have added new services, updated our offers, and gained new clients based on insights we have pulled and integrated from email marketing. Golden spam!
I would be remiss not to mention that Botree happens to produce a particularly useful quarterly Growth Guide - but don’t take my word for it, sign up here to judge for yourself!
There you have it, professional development hacks that take way less time (and less money) than going back to school for your MBA.
*Reading this article is not meant to replace a Masters of Business Administration nor will you receive a certificate of completion for making it to the end.