The benefits of lifelong learning are plentiful, but learning often gets pushed aside during our busiest seasons of life. When we're struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance, the thought of adding something else can feel overwhelming. For some of us, it might even feel indulgent to pursue a personal interest. Mary and I added a new business to our already-full lives as working moms, and it was just what we needed to shift our focus to what matters most. We've also realized how much our kids are paying attention when we set and achieve our own goals. So as the school year kicks off, let's make sure our kids aren't the only ones learning something new.
Here are our top 10 ways to keep learning, no matter how busy you are.
1. Listen to podcasts. Below are some of our favorites, but there are millions to choose from, no matter what you're interested in. Use this search engine that's designed to help you find the best podcasts.
Going Scared with Jessica Honegger: I found this podcast when my word of the year was brave. The founder of Noonday Collection, Jessica interviews people from all walks of life who know what it means to be courageous.
2. Join or start a book club. Some of my favorite books would never have found their way into my hands if not for a book club. Plus, it's a great excuse for an evening out once a month with friends, something else we've realized is pretty important.
3. Join an online book club. If you don't have any interesting local book club prospects, more and more are popping up online. Check out the Facebook or Instagram accounts of some favorite authors or bloggers and see if they're offering a book club.
4. Volunteer. We just wrote about 71 ways to volunteer with your family. Take those ideas a step further and really learn about who you're serving and why it helps make a difference.
5. Take an online or digital course. If you want to experience some personal growth, an online course might be a great option because it allows you to work at your own pace but also has some accountability because you're not alone. Even better, take a course with a friend! Mary and I have developed a course to help busy moms reset and take control so they can build lives they love. (We'll open it up to readers on our email list first! Sign up here so you don't miss it!)
6. Listen to audiobooks. As our kids get older, we spend more and more time in the car, so let's find a way to make those drives worthwhile. You can download audiobooks from your local library or sign up for an Audible membership.
7. Travel. The next time you plan a day trip or a longer vacation, spend time learning about the place you're visiting beyond where to stay and where to eat. Be adventurous and try activities that you're not able to do near your home. When we visited Guatemala this summer, we hiked a volcano and roasted marshmallows over the lava. I learned a lot about the vegetation and history of the volcano from our guide--something that never would have happened without that hike.
8. Monitor your kids' technology. Seriously. You'd learn more than you ever wanted to know if you try to keep up with new apps and trends. Our go-to website for tech information is Cool Mom Tech.
9. Find a new hobby. Spend time on Pinterest and learn how to bring new life to old furniture or start an indoor herb garden. Here's our Top 10 things you've never searched on Pinterest (but should).
10. Follow a blog. We'd love it to be our blog, but even if it's not, signing up for a blogger's email list will ensure that you don't miss anything they write. If it inspires or encourages or challenges you, make it a regular part of your week. Here's a link to follow our blog if you're interested!