Learning Smarter in 90 Days (or less)

When I outlined my goals at work for the last two quarters of 2016, the page was full of bullet points about email campaigns and SEO projects, landing page builds and SEM initiatives.

There were categories about learning best practices and guiding new strategies. My manager and I talked about including events and training to improve my skill set. The intention was strong to be forward-thinking and innovative.

What was missing was the tactical structure.

The Culture Constraints

My work style involves actively seeking learning opportunities. I give myself permission to delve into First Round Review before I clock out. I browse Product Hunt Live and jump into the AMAs around lunch. My evenings have workshops and networking events.

Increasingly, I found my notes slipping into Evernote and never emerging. I discussed them one-on-one with coworkers, but never with a large group. Slack isn’t party central at the office. The channel that usually received the most attention at my other jobs, #reading, is a desert.

Reading and sharing just isn’t baked into the culture, yet I wanted to make this content useful for more people than just myself.

If I intended to make this a priority, I needed to make a habit of it.

The 5% Allocation

Before I submitted my goals for final approval, I added a line:

Provide deck of best practices, new tools, and examples every 90 days based on relevant projects

This one deliverable means I can’t skirt the opportunity of communicating what I’ve learned.

Alfred Lua said it best in his recent reflection of his first year at Buffer:

Learning is largely self-driven and flexible.

You have to designate time to learn. This was my method of organizing time in my schedule to progress past my day-to-day responsibilities.

In line with Google’s 20% concept, I find it manageable to allocate just 5% of my time at work (a mere 2 hours/week) compiling my favorite reads.

This time usually occupies the last half hour of the day when I’m already wrapping up work, finalizing emails, and crossing off to-dos.

With the first 3 months of work complete, now I’m ready to share the best of the best in articles, blogs, events, and products.

Here’s 90^1 — the first edition of 90 days worth of learning.

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