How about a plan for your knowledge?

The third plan that I have found essential is for my mental and cognitive development. Yes, I mean a plan to expand my brainpower or at least my knowledge base. It has been said that the only real job security we have is between our ears. In this day of rapid obsolescence, the knowledge that one has becomes outdated very quickly. We need to think of learning as a lifelong endeavor and not just as a series of degrees or diplomas. To do that, each of us needs some type of learning or self-development plan. This is too important to trust to employers or others with the hope that they will provide us training and education. We need develop our own lifelong training program. This plan will be different for each of us. It will depend on your knowledge, skills and abilities and your personal interests and goals.

I try to develop a plan each year to insure that I am keeping up with technology and the key insights in my chosen career field. I am now able to use the Internet to help me do this. The use of RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication) and other automatic downloads helps me to keep abreast of what is happening in the workplace. I also try to subscribe to current magazines that will help me to keep abreast. If you cannot afford new magazines and books, you can make a weekly trip to the library and simply scan the newest magazines for insights. Belonging to professional associations can be somewhat expensive but may be well worthwhile if you can use the time effectively for growth and development. Professional associations give you the opportunity to meet and network with leaders and experts in your field. These contacts can be invaluable. Finally, do you look for opportunities to attend workshops and conferences that will give you new learning and insights? There are many free podcasts, webinars, videoconferences, teleconferences, papers and articles on the web that are wonderful resources and they do not cost a cent.

If you do not have a plan or as you start to develop your plan, here are some key questions to think about:

• How will you ensure that you remain knowledgeable and informed?
• What could you do now to be better informed about your world and what’s
happening in it?
• Can you read a book, take a class or attend a lecture each month?
• Are you taking advantage of the free opportunities for education and
training on the Internet?

Make a schedule of activities that will keep your mind healthy and flexible and see if you can stick to it for the next year.

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