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I really love mindless work because it allows me to learn while being productive. It also frees me up to pursue rabbit trails of self-education, for I’m still getting my to-do list accomplished.

It always bothered me that there were so many things I wanted to learn, and yet by the time I got all my ‘mindless work’ done, it was too late and I was too tired to pursue them. Those dishes don’t care if my mind is improved or not: all they know is, they’re dirty and they want to be washed.

If you want to educate yourself, use every spare second for learning. 

I’ve listened to lectures off and on for years; it wasn’t anything new to me. I’ve been on kicks where I’ll listen to five hours of lectures in a day. But that’s not normal; on the average day, I hardly listened to one.

I don’t remember what changed, or even when it changed. But I have started becoming more and more intentional about learning, about redeeming the time, about using every spare second to do something productive. I don’t always succeed– I find myself staring at my Facebook feed more often than I care to admit. But I’m learning. I’m learning that life is short and that all these things I want to know and do in my life won’t happen without my working intentionally towards them.

Here’s some of the ways that I’m mixing hand work with learning:

  • Listening to online radio shows while tidying my room and making my bed in the morning
  • Watching videos while I’m ironing
  • Listening to podcasts when I’m editing photos
  • Reading a few pages while my computer is processing something/while I’m waiting for a page to load/when I restart my computer
  • Working on my handiwork (knitting, sewing, etc) while riding in the car/sitting and socializing with people
  • Turning on educational material while I’m organizing or cleaning
  • Learning hymns or memorizing Scripture while I wash dishes
  • Reading online articles when I’m chatting with friends (instead of browsing the internet between sending and receiving a message)

I am learning how to learn. It’s a process, and I’m just beginning it. But today I listened to the podcast “How To Become A Learning Machine“, and I’ve got some new inspiration as well as a more focused strategy for redeeming the moments and educating myself. I’ve been kind of jumping all over the place, researching everything from culinary arts to camera aperture to hemming jeans to interior design…. and it’s not effective. Sean’s tip that things must be studied in seasons, and that you should focus on one subject at a time, was helpful. I’ll be looking at my ‘currently learning’ list and prioritizing it to decide what I’m going to focus in on first.

So. Are you going to start educating yourself?

 

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