Learning new things can be daunting. But new skills are essential to our working life. Whether you’re looking to get that promotion or switch job roles, there’s no better way to make yourself more marketable than by picking up new skills and adding them to your resume. Your expertise in certain skills can also help you convert from a temp job to a full-time position in Malaysia.
Are you ready to pick up a new skill? Here are 5 things you can do to pick up new skills at work:
1. Learn by Doing
Also known as kinesthetic learning, hands-on learning have been dubbed as one of the best ways to pick up a new skill. There’s just something about hands-on work that allows you to learn better as compared to just reading about it. Studies also show that students who choose to learn by “doing” allows them to gain a better understanding of the material.
If you’re looking for one way to master or learn a new skill, just dive in. The more you’re used to doing things, the more you will learn. One good way to learn kinesthetically is through training programs. Many organizations encourage both its old and new employees through training seminars. These can be offered either in-house or in organizations affiliated with the company.
Depending on your position, you might be able to negotiate the tuition costs with your company.
Those who can teach. One way to learn (or relearn) new things is to do things with the intention of teaching it. When we learn with the intention to teach, we break the material down into simple chunks of information for ourselves. This is known as the protégé effect.
Other benefits to teaching what you learn include:
Being more aware of your personal learning process.
Increased motivation to learn other new things.
Leads to the increased use of effective learning strategies. When we are expected to teach, we’ll be more invested in researching new methods, information, and ways of organizing study material.
Improved skills such as communication and leadership ability.
However, be aware that this method of learning is not exclusive to academic settings. Positions such as barista (coffee making and art) or jobs that exert a large number of physical activities can benefit from the protégé effect. Remember, you’ll never stop learning!
Here are 3 ways you can utilize the protégé effect:
Learn the material with the intention of teaching your peers.
Pretend that you’re teaching the material to someone.
Teach the material to other people.
Click here to read more about the protégé effect.
3. Practice Doing Difficult Things
Nothing good is ever easy to learn. Getting out of our comfort zone and practicing doing the things we’re not good at is one proven method to learning. However, repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again is not beneficial.
The method in question here is known as deliberate practice. Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. It is different from mindless repetition.
What separates deliberate practice from mindless repetition is simple: feedback and coaching.
Here is the formula to take advantage of deliberate practice:
Identify the expert performers in the field/industry you want to get good at.
Figure out what makes them good at their job.
Design practice formulas crafted around learning so that you can learn it yourself.
Taking risks is where the brain gets to be really challenged. However, this requires a commitment and to learn something new completely outside.
3. Take Frequent Breaks
Do you notice your level of concentration dropping throughout the day? This could be due to the lack of breaks you’re allowing your brain to have. There are two effective modes in order to get the human brain to learn effectively: focused and diffused mode. Someone in focused mode will be able to learn both the essence and the minute details of the problem. Whilst diffused mode allows the brain to see and examine the bigger picture.
Throughout the day, your brain will be working either in focused or diffused mode. However, it’s also very important to let your brain relax after an intense work, study, or even practice session. Good breaks help reduce mental fatigue and boost brain function. Plus, there are countless horrifying side effects that come with not taking a break. They include:
Lack of focus
Weary and damaged eyes
But taking too many breaks throughout your workday can also be bad for you. There are two elements to making the most out of your energy restoring break. They are:
The length and frequency of your breaks.
What you do during your breaks.
Essentially, once you’ve hit your mid-afternoon slump, you’ll want to take a short 5-minute break for every working hour. Additionally, you should also take note of how you should choose to spend your break time. Productive ways to take a short break include:
Reading relevant articles (psst...check out our articles on BGC blog!).
Go for a walk.
Load up on healthy snacks! Don’t forget to chow down on them too.
4. Find a Capable Mentor
Sometimes, all you need in order to learn something new is a damn good mentor. Mentoring helps employees (old and new) reach their full potential. A good teacher (or mentor) will be able to offer you invaluable knowledge and perspective to help you. Other benefits include:
Mentored employees are more productive in the workplace
Employees with mentors report having greater job satisfaction, due to higher levels of engagement.
A mentorship program helps create a more positive work environment.
Don’t shy away from asking someone to help mentor you. Regardless of your age, tenure, or experience level, there are always things that will be new and unknown to you. If asking someone to “show you the ropes” sound daunting, look out to friends, family, and close coworkers for someone with the skills you want to learn. Alternatively, you can reach out to either your supervisor or manager to mentor you!
What are some of the new skills that you’re looking to pick up at work? Let us know in the comments section below!