What’s your weakness when it comes to spending money?

You know, that thing that despite creating a budget, paying yourself first, and knowing what your priorities are, you always seem to buy no matter how much you know you shouldn’t.

If you’re anything like me (a type-A lover of learning, always wanting to improve yourself), that thing is knowledge. I’m talking about books, online courses, seminars, products, and other little hacks to get just a little bit better.

In fact, right now I have literally hundreds of books and a couple dozen online courses that I’ve purchased but not yet consumed. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the free content: podcasts, ebook downloads, YouTube videos, and blog posts… 

If we’re not careful, this can become stressful, and a little overwhelming, to the point where we stop learning any of it because we feel so bogged down.

But there’s a little distinction I learned about late in 2017 that totally shifted the way I looked at learning.

It’s called Just in Time learning, rather than Just in Case.

Most of us adopt the latter approach: Just in Case. This is when we see a book, podcast, video or another piece of content and decide to download or buy it because it looks kinda interesting.

But here’s the problem with that. Sure, it may look valuable on the surface, but unless it’s intentionally chosen as something will help you reach your current 90-day goals, it’s really just adding another distraction to the mix.

It would be like needing a hammer to knock in some nails, then going to the hardware store and returning with a screwdriver, paint brushes, ladder, and some spare light bulbs. Sure, those are handy tools, but you didn’t need them for the job. Plus, if you even remembered the hammer, you’ve just wasted valuable time and money you could have been putting towards the hammer and nails project.

Instead, we should be aiming for Just in Time learning. Here’s how it works.

Say you want to launch a YouTube channel. Great! Now’s the time to find the 1-3 top sources on the subject and study just enough to take your next step. If you’ve never shot a video, you don’t need to learn how to monetize, how to edit, or how to grow your channel. Simply focus on only that which you need to learn to take your next tiny action: How to shoot a good video. Then, take action!

Now is also not the time to learn a little trick on Facebook, how to get more Instagram followers or why nobody is following you on Twitter.

With this in mind, I’m learning to let go of needing to consume all the content that’s out there (and on my laptop) and focusing only on that which will move me forward towards my goals for the next 90 days.

How about you? Where have you been aimlessly consuming content “just in case” you might need it or it might be valuable, rather than learning the 80/20 of what’s out there “just in time” to take the next tiny action towards your big goals?

Be okay with not needing to learn everything right now, knowing that you can always come back to it. Become a specialist rather than a generalist. Be ruthless with sticking to your goals. Unsubscribe from some sources if you need to. But do whatever it takes to focus your attention and intention on what’s most important right now.


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