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Take time to make time

Time and time again we hear that the number one factor working against people taking advantage of learning opportunities is time. But, how much of a factor really is time? Don't we control how we spend our own time? Don't we all spend time each day on things that don't return enough value for the time we spend? I know I do.

When asked in today's Technlogy Conference Town Hall Meeting how many people had been to any form of technology training in the last year, a startling percentage of the room indicated that time had prevented them from taking advantage of any technology learning opportunity.

I'd argue that time isn't the real reason that we don't participate. Instead, I believe we don't say no to the things we know have little value or have difficulty distinguishing things that will have true value.



There's a very common mentality that the only things worth your time are the things that are immediate and urgent, and will see immediate results. Anything beyond that, and we'll "get around to it eventually," meaning never.

I think this is not only true in technology training but in any kind of training - it's Covey's 'Sharpening the Saw' habit through and through. If your perception is that you don't have enough time, it's because you are not considering the fact that a small amount of time spent on training (technology based or otherwise) will often exponentially reduce the time you spend on your day to day tasks.

Unfortunately, when we are trapped in the short-sighted world of urgent and immediate tasks, it's difficult to see this perspective. In my opinion, it's not so much that time is not the real reason for participating in such training, but rather that many people will not recognize the fact that time well invested is in fact time saved.

The trick part of that question to me is "any form of" technology training. My guess is that most in the audience were thinking that meant going to a class, or a conference, or maybe a webinar, something along those lines that would require taking a half-day or more out of the work week.

With social media, anyway, I've found it's all pretty much self-taught, and if you get stuck, you just Google or Technorati until you find a blog or listserv or Web site that can unstick you.

I'd probably answer the question the same way the audience did if I didn't stop to think about it for a minute, even though I probably spend at least dozens of hours learning new technology on my own. And most if not all of it was on my own time, because I don't have time to do it at work either.

The Web may be changing training in ways we're not quite grasping yet. Or I could just be an outlier data point on the great graph of life.

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