Learning is the New Productivity

Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. – William Pollard

When we think of productivity, we think of working harder, working smarter, multitasking, and ultimately, getting more done in less time. Being efficient with our time is an essential, foundational skill. Consistently looking for ways to streamline processes keeps us focused and productive. Discovering new ways to apply what we already know leads to more creativity and innovation. Execution is one of the currencies of a competitive marketplace. And yet, working only with what we know right now means something important is missing in our day.

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has stated, “The 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of learning.” In other words, we have to deliberately and consistently spend time every day learning or else we will be working on yesterday’s information.

We will be behind.

Knowledge experts agree that today, learning is the new productivity.

I make it a habit to carve time out of just about every day to study, to learn, and to reflect. While sometimes this means I have to get up before the sun has risen, I find that this habit fuels me, inspires me, keeps me curious, and keeps me open to new ways of thinking and doing. I don’t just read, though I do that a lot. I listen to podcasts, I talk to people, I ask questions. I spend time just thinking and synthesizing and I take notes—lots of them. I consider my learning time to be some of my most productive time, and I am energized by it.

What else can I learn? What is happening in the technological world that will inform our solutions? How are the best companies recruiting and leveraging talent? These are the types of questions I ask myself every day, and these are the types of questions I encourage my staff to ask.

Is learning on your to-do list? If so, what does it look like? As always, I welcome your thoughts.