When I first heard the phrase, “just in time learning”, from the podcast hosted by Sterling and Jay from Internet Business Mastery, I did not realize how important it is. After being overwhelmed again and again, delayed my plan for month after month, I had a better understanding and consider it as the no.1 priority on my effectiveness and efficiency improvement list.
So, what is just in time learning? First of all, let’s take a look at what “just in time” means in the business world. From the definition provided by Wikipedia,
“Just in time (JIT) is a production strategy that strives to improve a business return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs. “
As the biggest IT Company in the world, Apple only carries enough inventories for five days, so this model Apple is using called just in time inventory – if no new products are produced, everything in an Apple store will be sold out in 5 days. Now it’s not hard to understand what is just in time learning. It basically means not to learn new knowledge unless the knowledge is going to be applied right away.
Change of mindset
If you are old enough, you probably remember how quickly the world is changing since Internet was first introduced. Talking about information technology, 20 years ago, we often tried to access different sources of information, but always found us in a situation that we did not know enough to complete certain task – lack of information. Today, we are receiving too much information from the Internet every day. Even staying up days and nights without any sleep, we can still barely finish reading all the contents from any single popular news website. Since we are living in such a fast changing world, we have to be ready to accept the changes by shifting our mindset. Do not just read whatever we found from the Internet, we need to be more selective and filter information before absorbing them.
The process of picking up right information is so called information diet. It’s very easy to understand when comparing to our eating habit. If we eat too much food without enough exercise, we will gain unexpected weight; if we absorb too much information without applying it, we will keep ourselves busy all the time, but never really be benefited – the word we usually use to describe the situation is overwhelming. Therefore to keep us healthy, we stick to food with low fat, and to keep us information diet, we choose to listen to information only when we need to use it.
Pick the right information
What is right information? Apparently there is no single perfect answer to all of us because each of us is different from the other and the information we need is not the same either. There is a simple example, my parents build up their savings through hard work after many years, now they care the most is how to manage their wealth – to invest their money to generate enough income to live on, but for myself, as a young parent who has only been working for 6 years, my main focus is to look for options to earn more income to build up a strong foundation financially.
How to pick the right information from different sources? It starts with a few questions. Why do we need to learn? What do we use the information for? What happened with or without the information? Before we even start putting in our efforts on learning, we need to sit down and spend some time to think about our purpose. Once it’s clear, we need to come out with a plan on where to find the information and how the learning process is going to be and what the most effective way is to apply the information we have just absorbed.
Applying while learning it
There is so much great information out there, but we need a lot of efforts on self-controlling when searching for information to learn in order to stay away from being overwhelmed. I am a kind of person who loves to learn. Especially when new technologies are developed so fast, keep learning for the whole life is very necessary for anybody who decides not to live under a rock, however I often found myself very much overwhelmed when absorbing too much information at the same time. Here is my very own story: I am currently working on my new blog, so I am eager to learn how to get more audience to listen to my voice; therefore I am doing all my best to learn how to drive traffic to my blog. In 2 weeks, I found 5 great websites teaching traffic building techniques and some of them even teach how to make money on a blog – exciting stuffs! I tried to follow all of them every day because I certainly do not want to miss any great information, however after a few weeks, I realized the problem. I kept putting hours after hours on reading the great contents, but never got time to work on my own blog. No matter how great the traffic driving strategy I learn, if I do not provide great content to my blog, readers will not come to my blog or stay at my blog for long – I lost the meaning of learning all this knowledge.
To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning, I look deeper into just in time learning and apply what I have learned to what I am doing. I only pick the information I need right away, otherwise I write them down – this way I will still not miss anything – and I keep them in the order. As I am learning along, I will keep applying the knowledge, so the learning is always just in time. In addition, I make my daily schedule with a good mix of learning and working (applying what I have learned). After doing that for a few weeks, I see my knowledge is still improving and at the same time I got more work done with high motivation.
Listen to you voice
Now it’s your term to share some of your experience and your stories are very welcome – speak loudly!