Give yourself time to learn a new tool

Today I want to follow on from yesterdays post about making things happen by sharing a tip about how you can learn new skills and new systems in the workplace.

Often, when faced with something new, you need to give yourself the time to make sense of it. There will be times when you’re presented with a new tool or system to use. And you won’t get it right away. If you’re not using a GTD system, or not across all the things you need to be, chances are a new system introduced will increase your anxiety and stress because you don’t understand it. And, importantly, you don’t see how you can make the time to understand it.

Even if the system would provide you a logical benefit, your current state of mind prevents you from seeing that because you’re it’s completely consumed processing all the things you need it to remember. This makes me sad for my fellow knowledge worker.

So if you’re in that position at the moment and there’s a new system being presented for your use do me a favor. Book yourself some time in your calendar, take yourself off to a small room where you won’t get distracted by Business As Usual, and give yourself the time you need to make sense of it. If you still don’t get it or like it – fair enough. But without it, you might not know what you’re missing.

5 thoughts on “Give yourself time to learn a new tool

  1. Trick is to decide what to learn in a window and sample space that keeps changing. Perhaps the best thing to learn is how to cope with change itself (and pick meta-tools that lend themselves to eternally shifting sands)… otherwise it’s just a case of…. ohhh, squirrel!!!!… where was I? Yes, novelty and distraction

    1. Great point, but I think testing something is actually a key part of not being distracted. Agreed, you certainly can’t be testing something every minute of every day, but if you do test it and don’t like it, the it’s something you can park and get back to BAU.
      To your point, it’s all about managing your attention and focus and testing things can reduce that burden, I find.

  2. Off to your room and don’t come back till you learn what it means to……
    A well worn saying with merit when taking yourself “to the room” for personal time ;). It’s easier to learn when we are comfortable emotionally and energized with potential. Both can quickly erode if we’re the kid not quite keeping up with the groupteamfriends. I see it regularly and I’ve been in that position plenty. It happens to everyone. That’s why I think we should learn on our terms. And this situation can only come from a little alone time free of comparison and peer pressure. Good post Steve.

    1. Totally agree. We can sometimes get caught up trying to keep pace with others, which can actually make us hate the idea of learning something. However, it can also draw you in and help you make sense of the tool where you otherwise may not have. 

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

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