8 ways to keep learning



“You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be at what you do”
Rick Calvert, speaking on Beyond the To Do List podcast

This morning on my little post-school-drop-run (don’t worry, I am not superwoman, it doesn’t happy every day!) I listened to one of my favourite podcasts, Beyond the To Do List.  Rick Calvert, the founder of New Media Expo which I would totally be at dribbling all over the guests if the air fares weren’t so prohibitive, said the above quote, and it really resonated with me.

I love to learn, and personal development is something I strive to do constantly. Learning new things develops skills both personally and professionally – heck, I am originally a graphic designer, but here I am blogging professionally, writing for globally read sites, and coaching a group of lovely people too.

The world around us changes all the time. The landscape of business, the way we live and work, society, culture, they all change, so we have to learn, adapt, keep on trucking.

So, with that in mind I am intrigued to hear how you all keep learning, and what you do for self development. Here are 8 ways that I keep learning. Some are free, some costs, but all are brilliant and easy to fit in. Let me know what you think.


I bloody love podcasts. When I am pottering around the house, out for my walks/runs/breaks from work I am plugged in, listening and learning. My favourites are Smart Passive Income, Beyond the To Do List, Hospital Records (Ok, not productivity, but amazing new music), Social Media Marketing, Pursuing a Balanced Life, The Productive Life Show, Nerdist, and Tech Chicks.



I read non-stop, and make sure I balance actual paperback books sometimes with the iPad and blogs that I read. I have a reading list on Pinterest currently, if anyone would like to co-pin do shout.
I cruise through about 5 or 6 books a month, plus all my accumulated and aggregated reading streams of newswires and blogs that I file to Evernote. .When I used to have an actual commute in the actual real world the tube was ideal for this. Now I make time in my day to sit with a book, and I love it.




You Tube  and Vimeo are absolute goldmines of information, and are super easy to integrate into your day whilst having a bath, hanging out the washing, or pootling about in the kitchen. My go-to’s are Savvy Sexy Social, Marie Forleo TV, and Jo Barnes.



Investment in personal training is rarely a wasted one. I run my own programme, Access All Areas, and I am also a member of other online business mastermind groups to keep myself fresh, connected, inspired and mentored. A mentor also needs a mentor! Training groups are a great way to access live training and lots of information if a one to one session is cost prohibitive.


Webinars and hangouts

I tend to sign up for at least one webinar a month, to gain from new perspectives, and to get to grips with skills I am lacking. I love the ability to learn online, in my own home, especially as a self employed mum. I have been known to have hangouts on the iPad whilst cooking dinner, which can get a bit messy *wipes screen*.



Conferences and trade events are still one of the best ways to immerse yourself in an industry, learn new skills, network and get inspired. I don’t go to many at the moment (young children and finances don’t make it super easy), but I have several on my radar.


One to one coaching

Coaching is something I have invested in several times in my career, from life coaching to management coaching, business coaching and confidence coaching. I offer one to one coaching for businesses and bloggers wishing to expand their reach online, and I also get some great coaching myself in areas that I need help with (waves at Jo James from Amber Life). Nothing beats having dedicated time to talk through issues, then leaving a session feeling back on track.



This is something I have dipped into a few times along my career path, and it can work really well. If there is someone in your  industry or sector that you can buddy up with, exchange ideas, brainstorm with and feel supported, especially if you work alone. My lovely blogging buddy Bangs and I often check in with each other  in this way, and I have in the past set up monthly meetings with a mentor to go for a coffee and check in with each other. Have you tried this?

Online classes

Skillshare is an excellent resource for really affordable classes in a range of subjects, and once you get into the learning and sharing cycle, it is totally possible to get perpetually free learning (see my post on that here). There are so many amazing online classes out there now, so keep your peepers peeled, and check out what interests you. I teach my classes both in Skillshare and Mighty Bell, which are both excellent platforms.

I would love to hear how you keep on learning, and what you do to keep on trucking and developing.

Of course, it would be remiss of me to not remind you here that I have some new classes coming up in January and February; book those here, or get access to all my classes all year plus group coaching and more with my Access All Areas package.

Also, I have two free webinars coming up, The Smart Bloggers Guide to Smart Social Sharing, and the Freelance Mum Survival Guide to apps that keep you sane. Come and join  us!

jo gifford




Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
Work with me, Shop with me, and Chat with me!


  • http://magnoliaswest.com/morninggratitudes Sue Kearney (

    Such a great compilation. As I age, I find myself passionately learning, learning, learning. I’m convinced this adds to my health and longevity.

    Thanks so much for this!