Establishing a Habit of Learning

In 5 Steps

Establishing a Habit of Learning

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

to Empower Your Learners

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

Cristina Smith of Peoria, Arizona was the June 2015 winner of our Salesforce Build an App Scholarship. We asked Cristina a few questions to see what her goals are and get her advice for others-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.” –Deepak Chopra

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

In the next year, I’d like to get a summer job or internship having to do with art or design. I want to be a character designer, and I think having experience would help prepare me for a more permanent job after graduation.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

This scholarship is a big step in helping me pay for college for next semester, and helps me stay a little ahead of possible student debt after I graduate. The scholarship will be going towards my classes and supplies, all helping me toward my goal of becoming a character designer for animation or video games after graduation.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Perseverance, since this is my first time getting a scholarship outside of the one I’ve gotten from college after applying for three years since attending.

What would you love to become an expert in?

Creating stories and characters inclusive to minorities, to make media just a little more welcoming for everyone. I’d like to expand my design and creativity skills to do all this, and it’d be great to make possible fictional role models for all kids to look up to.

Congrats to Cristina on winning the scholarship. Chances are you could use some extra money to learn too! You can apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Brett Allison of DeLand, Florida was the August 2015 winner of our Salesforce Build an App Scholarship. We asked Brett a few questions to see what his goals are and get his advice for others-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Find your passion and pursue it with everything you’ve got.

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

I want to get married.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

This scholarship will help me tons in achieving my BS in Environmental Science and then going on to pursue a career in promoting and installing alternative energy in Central America and the United States.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Surfing.

What would you love to become an expert in?

Alternative Energy.

Congrats to Brett on winning the scholarship. Chances are you could use some extra money to learn too! You can apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Expert_640x400

“Choose to struggle with something – we live in a culture of the quick and easy and it has made us impatient and lazy.” – Jake Weidmann, One of only 12 Master Penmen in the world

Becoming an expert at anything takes just a tad more effort than typing those six letters into your Twitter profile—though a lot of people try to get away with it.

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Expertise is elusive. Too often people get stuck in the doldrums of partial expert somewhere between “holy crap this is too difficult” and “just one more episode…”. Becoming an expert at anything takes patience and focus, but those traits are continually thrown under the bus in search of instant gratification. There is a silver lining to the increasing acceptance of half-assed effort: there is plenty of room at the top for those who are willing to put in the work.

Experts in Practice

I live for the knowledge I can find between the covers of a book. I could go on for days about how books can pave your path to expertise, but I’ll save that for another time. A few years ago I cracked open my first Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers. In the book, Gladwell dives into all kinds of research and elaborates on a myriad of stories to show why some people become extraordinary. Arguably one of the most popular ideas from his book is the concept of how much time someone needs to spend devoted to their work to become an expert.

In 1973, Herbert A. Simon and William G. Chase analyzed the intensely strategic game of chess in a paper titled, Skill in Chess. The purpose of their research was to try and understand exactly what it took to become an expert (an actual level of expertise in the field of chess), a master and a grandmaster—grandmaster being the highest possible ranking.

What they found was actually pretty cool.

“There appears not to be on record any case (including Bobby Fischer) where a person has reached grandmaster level with less than about a decade’s intense preoccupation with the game. We would estimate, very roughly, that a master has spent perhaps 10,000 to 50,000 hours staring at chess positions.”

These findings led to the creation of an entire field of study within psychology. One of the spin-off studies came from psychologist John Hayes. He found that in a study of 76 classical composers, 73 of them didn’t write their greatest work until they had been composing for at least ten years.

Gladwell drew from both of these studies and brought to light some other examples that fit in with this 10,000 hour rule (estimating 1,000 hours a year.) For example, if you didn’t grow up under a rock, you’ve probably heard of The Beatles. Though they established themselves as one of the greatest rock bands of all time, they were a pretty subpar band when they started. What eventually set them apart from other bands was a gig they landed as a house band in a strip club. Not exactly what you would imagine as the most ideal environment for becoming great. In just over a year and a half during their residency, they played together 270 nights. In 1964 when The Beatles really started to gain some traction with their music, they had performed live roughly 1200 times. Just try to fathom that number for a second. Most bands never perform 1200 times in a lifetime. By the time they put out their best work, they had easily surpassed their 10,000 hours. 

The Language of Expertise

Gladwell also talks about experts in computer programming, one of those being Bill Joy. If you don’t know, Joy’s contributions to the world of computers is right up there with Bill Gates. In the 70’s, Joy wrote vi, one of the first screen-based text editors, which is astonishingly still used today. His company, Sun Microsystems, also wrote the programming language, Java. I don’t know much about computers, but I know enough to know that that’s pretty remarkable.

But reading through Joy’s story, one particular instance really caught my interest. When Joy was taking his oral exams for his PhD, he confounded his examiners with an elaborate algorithm that he just made up on the spot. How could he have done that? Complex algorithms shouldn’t just appear out of thin air.

In the Skill in Chess paper, Simon and Chase found that proficiency in Chess is strangely similar to proficiency in language.

As the two began to try and understand the possibilities of moves in a single game, they came to the conclusion that a master knows roughly 50,000 different patterns. From that number, they drew another fascinating conclusion: the time a master needs to spend perfecting his or her chess game is comparable to the time a highly literate person (someone knowing 50,000+ words) must spend reading.

For the most elite chess players, the moves of the game become like words and sentences of an entirely new language. Eventually a player can become so expert at the game that they begin to recognize a good strategic move in mere seconds.

When someone asks you a question in a conversation, you can quickly pull words and phrases together to form a sentence without even really thinking about the complex process of identifying words, processing their meaning, coming up with a response, and then voicing that response.

You have spent thousands of hours storing thousands of combinations and rules in your brain to be used for communication. Eventually, you reached a level where those processes run automatically. When Bill Joy was presented with a question in a language he knew as second nature, his years of practice and study took over and he came up with an algorithm that, as one of the examiners stated, was like “Jesus confounding his elders.” 

The Problem with “Magic Numbers”

Since so many things seem to match up with this 10,000 hour rule, it’s easy for people to shoot for that number like it’s a magic number for obtaining expertise. As with every one-size-fits-all theory, the 10,000 hour rule has been the subject of some intense criticism.

Though Gladwell didn’t actually come up with the idea, he took it and popularized it. If you search Ask Jeeves (or whatever search engine you prefer) for “Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule,” you’ll find pages of articles refuting the idea.

And you know what? A lot of the differing opinions are right. However, most of them appear relevant on the outside but are actually comparing apples to oranges. And Gladwell has made many of his own counter arguments to that point.

Gladwell clarifies in a New Yorker article that not anyone can practice anything for 10,000 hours and become a world-class expert. There has to be some level of innate talent present. For example, Gladwell refers to a South African researcher who tested over ten thousand boys and never saw a slow boy became fast. 
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“Achievement is talent plus preparation.” – Gladwell

If you don’t have it, you don’t have it. But on the flip side, Gladwell acknowledges the story of a high jumper, Donald Thomas, who became world class after only a few months. So there are definitely instances where the 10,000 hour rule doesn’t apply.

To further that point, David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene, found that some sports like skeleton, darts or wrestling don’t follow the 10,000 hour rule. The argument in these cases is that these activities are simple (compared to chess or computer programming) and don’t require the same depth of complex knowledge to perfect.

“Cognitively complex activities take many years to master because they require that a very long list of situations and possibilities and scenarios be experienced and processed.” – Gladwell

Your Mom Was Wrong

So what’s the take away from all this? Contrary to what your mom tells you, you probably can’t be an expert at anything you want—even if you give it your all. At the very least, you need to have some level of innate talent in the skill you wish to master.

But what this does mean is that you can be an expert at something! (That is, if you’re willing to put in a ridiculous amount of work) No one is talentless. You may just have to work harder at finding what you are talented at, but I promise it’s in there. Don’t give up no matter how many times you find yourself thinking, “Holy crap this is too difficult!”- push through the challenge.

Struggle for something worthwhile. Become an expert. Change the world.

 

 

We say that innovation is a lot like learning – it works best when you do a little bit every day. Xerox Services University (XSU) is innovating and rethinking learning in two important ways. First, by reworking learning to more closely link development to career growth. And second, by investing to build a culture of continuous, everyday learning. Both initiatives are possible because XSU is embracing the new learning ecosystem.
In this presentation, from the Human Capital Institute’s 2015 Learning and Leadership Development Conference, XSU’s VP of Learning Strategy and Delivery, Kerry Hearns-Smith, joins Degreed’s Todd Tauber to show you how she and her team are making L&D more efficient, more engaging and more empowering for Xerox Services’ employees.

Student-Loans-Is-It-Worth-It

Here’s a statement I can nearly guarantee you’ve seen again and again: Americans have a lot of student loans. Here are the facts:

Tuition has been rising at nearly 3x the rate of inflation in recent years, and the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has grown to over $1.2 trillion.

About 40 million americans are carrying some student loans, and almost 70% of the class of 2015 graduates with a bachelor’s degree have student loan debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Market Watch reports the current student debt amount is rising at a rate of $3055.19 per second.

You can often find personal blogs from people like James Altucher and Mark Cuban penning their thoughts on the costs of college and the problem of student loan debt. If you Google “is college worth it?” you’ll find articles from every major news site you can think of filling the first 3 pages of search results.

That leads us to ask the golden question that the people behind these statistics, the Americans who carry student loan debt, have been asking themselves for years: Was it worth it?

The new 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index study on Education aimed to answer just that. The results are in.

Survey Says

Here’s what Gallup found

“Recent graduates who received their degrees between 2006 and 2015 are significantly less likely than all graduates overall to think their education was worth the cost.”

Let’s break that down with the numbers. For recent grads (those who have graduated from 2006-2015) merely 38% strongly agree their education was worth the cost, and among those who had student loans (of any amount) only 33% strongly agree it was worth it.

The Effects

And it’s not just our bank accounts that are affected as a result of student loan debt. Our life choices and the economy take a hit too. As grads adjust to life after school, and (hopefully) dive into the workforce, those payment deadlines creep closer until monthly minimums become due. As for the effects of student loans on those individuals life decisions? Gallup examined that too.

48% of recent grads have delayed post grad education because of student loans. 36% delay buying homes, 33% postponed buying a car, and 19% delayed starting businesses.

It seems that we should just create a new life stage category that states: “currently delaying life goals and purchases until I pay off my student loan debt”.

I’m still wondering, what will the cost of college look like in 10, 20, 50 years?

We want to know: What do you think? Was your education worth the cost? Tweet us at @degreed to tell us, and check out the full Gallup-Purdue Index Report here.

You just learned about student debt and higher education. Get credit for this article on Degreed.

 

There is something different about Djokovic. This was the main thought running through my mind after my first night of attending the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Many of the top players looked and played like the freakish athletes I expected to see, but not Djokovic. For all intents and purposes, Novak Djokovic looks like a normal guy. His tennis game is deceptively normal looking, too. This isn’t someone who charges his opponents and overwhelms them like Roger Federer or grits and grinds them into dust like Rafael Nadal. In fact, there is only one thing that really separates Djokovic from everyone else: The simplicity of his game.

Image: NewsYac

Image: NewsYac

There are no frills to Djokovic’s game. No flourishes or waste. Just stroke after stroke of carefully measured footwork and surgically straight cuts at the ball. At first I thought the simplicity of his game was incidental to the fact that he was the best tennis player in the world. But over the course of two weeks it became apparent that this simplicity helps him in important ways: He doesn’t tire, he’s unbelievably consistent, and he can channel a higher portion of his energy into his shots. As I watched this player who is not the fastest, tallest, or strongest dismantle everyone in his path on his way to the title, something became apparent: I was witnessing the superiority of simplicity.

 

Simplicity in Business

There are obvious business parallels to be drawn from Djokovic, and the most obvious is probably sitting in your pocket: The iPhone. One of the iPhone’s Android competitors, the Galaxy S6, has a larger and higher resolution screen, faster processer, better camera, thinner build, and lower price point. And yet I didn’t see a massive line of rabid fanboys lining up for the launch of the Galaxy S6. The smaller, less powerful iPhone has one thing that counteracts all of these disadvantages: Its user interface is simpler and easier to use. The iPhone’s advantage boils down to simplicity.

If you look at the major business successes of the last twenty years, almost all of them can attribute their success to simplicity. Walmart took every purchase you make on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis and put it all under one roof. Amazon took all of your online shopping and centralized it in one easy-to-use location. Uber took all the complexity and uncertainty out of getting a cab. The list goes on and on.

One recent startup called Casper brings simplicity to a notoriously complicated industry: mattresses. They sell just one type of mattress, its only modification being the size you buy it in. The mattress can be folded up and shipped so it comes directly to your door. That’s it. No more wandering through endless rows of mattresses on a showroom floor. No more picking your sleep number. No more tying a mattress to the roof of your car. With this simple business model, Casper did more than $20 million in sales in their first 12 months and have raised more than $55 million.

 

Simplicity and Your Professional Success

So the question: How do you use simplicity to your own advantage? There are some obvious lessons for the more entrepreneurial minded but it can be advantageous in other settings as well. The uses for simplicity fall into two areas: Removing decisions for others, and removing decisions for yourself.

1) Removing decisions for others

I saw an ad for a trash company the other day with the slogan “We’ll handle it from here.” I thought it was genius. When I put out my trash, I just want it gone. If I have to put out extra trash, I still just want it gone. If it’s a snowy day, I (yep, you guessed it) still just want it gone. I want everything taken care of properly and I don’t want to be involved in the process. Like it or not, most people feel about your job the way I feel about trash: They want you to take care of it properly and they don’t want to be involved.

I saw an example of the wrong way to do this at work when I needed a new laptop. I went to the IT staff and they asked me what kind of laptop I wanted. When I said I didn’t know they said to look it up, find something I like, and then come talk to them about it. It made me wonder why we pay them. IT staff are, by definition, technology experts and they should know what kind of laptop will best suit my needs better than I do.

The antidote to this is solutions first thinking. I’ve worked out an arrangement with my barber where I come in and he offers a solution first. It usually sounds something like “Hey Ben. So, I think it would look slick if we went with a four on the sides and took a half inch off the top, does that sound alright?” My haircuts are better and I am happier because the process is now simpler.

The reason my IT department doesn’t want to make life simple for me is it takes extra work. Steve Jobs, a master of creating simplicity, said “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Anyone who has tried writing knows this. You spend about as much time deleting as typing. Being simple, succinct, and to the point takes work. It’s why Mark Twain once said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” If you want to be successful, you have to take the time to remove decisions for others.

2) Remove decisions for yourself

In my closet at home, you will find the following things: Five dress shirts, five pairs of slacks, two suits, two sweaters, and two jackets. The rest of my piles and piles of clothes are sitting in boxes in a back room. I decided to remove the decision of what to wear from my daily routine. Doing this has made the start to my days significantly better. I haven’t suddenly become a billionaire or found the love of my life, but I am able to get out the door quicker and concentrate better at work for the first hour of my day.

Removing decisions from your life is hard because it means you won’t always make the very best decision. There could very well be a shirt in my storage that would look better, but I wouldn’t know because I refuse to reevaluate. Here’s the thing: I’m okay with that. Like the Galaxy S6’s slightly superior hardware, picking the very best shirt does not matter that much. Living simply allows me to focus on the things that do matter , like work and maintaining social ties.

If creating simplicity within your decision making sounds difficult or daunting, you can begin with a simple experiment: Next time you go to a restaurant, read the menu until you find the first thing you think you would enjoy. Then shut the menu. Don’t open it back up. You know what you’re going to order. Now you can focus on conversation with the other people at the table and being present in the moment. Congratulations, you have just simplified your life and allowed yourself to focus on the things that really matter. And I guarantee you, you’ll enjoy the food just as much as if you had spent fifteen minutes picking out the perfect dish.

By removing decisions for yourself and for others, by taking out the flourish and making things simple, you can add value where you are an expert. Like Djokovic on the tennis court, you can learn to devote exact, precise energy to the things that matter in your life.

Casey Neistat,

Hi. We heard you’ve got a google alert on your name- this is our tactic to get your attention.

We’re doing a web series episode titled ‘how to learn’ and want you to be our expert on how someone can learn by doing, experimenting, and paying attention.

No big production- our 3 person crew is in NYC on 10/20. Can we take you to lunch and ask you 5 questions?

Reply Y or N to caitlin@degreed.com

get-a-masters-degreeGraduate school was the g-word while I was getting my undergrad. I spent most of my undergraduate time fired up about how horrible I thought higher education has become. Once I did my time (I guess most people call it graduating), there was no way in hell I was ever going to go back. I was 100% certain. But then, slowly, the idea of going back lost its bitter taste. Maybe I just forgot what school was like. Maybe I was bored and needed something to push me to keep learning. Either way, I’m now just a semester and a half away from graduating with a master’s degree.

As I transitioned from my deep, overly dramatic hate for more school to actually pulling the trigger on a program, I learned a lot about the process and the pros and cons involved. And so I offer to you four things I think every post-grad should consider before going back to school to get a master’s degree.

1. How much time can I commit?

This is a crucial question because most likely you have a full-time job taking up your time. Whether that’s your case or not, there are all kinds of programs built to work around your work schedule. Some offer night classes, some offer weekend classes, and some offer the freedom of no class time at all. There really are a ton of options.

However, keep in mind that even though schools will boast that you can get your degree in as little as 18 months or two years, that’s not always going to be the case. Since most graduate students are working full time and many are married and starting families, there are a thousand and one different things that could throw off your progress. For many grad students it’s just not feasible to take on a full credit load each semester. It’s not uncommon for some people to take an extra year or two to finish out because of personal or financial issues. Keep that in mind as you determine how much time you will realistically be able to devote to a program.

2. How will I pay for everything?

Undoubtedly, you can find the funding you need somehow. It may end up being through school loans, but depending on how quickly you want to graduate, you may be able to find scholarships or even a job that will reimburse some or all of your tuition. Tuition reimbursement is more common in larger companies, and it may be worth it to bite the bullet and work at a job you’re not all the way passionate about if it means graduating with less or no debt.

If you’re not lucky enough to fall under either of those circumstances, you may very well have to take out some loans. One thing to remember with loans is that once you graduate, you may not find your dream job right away. Your loans will start to come due and if you’re holding out for specific, higher-paying jobs, you may get into some trouble. Just because you’re qualified, doesn’t mean you will find the job you’ve been dreaming about right away. You might find that you have to stick it out at your current job or accept a job that isn’t your first choice. Otherwise you won’t be able to pay back your loans as they come due. That’s not always going to happen, but it is a possibility so it’s important to consider that going in.

And if you’re working full time to pay it off as you go, be prepared. I always had a job during my undergrad years, but that seems like a side salad compared to the steak dinner I have on my plate now. The demands are higher and the time commitment is more intense. But it is possible, so don’t let that discourage you if you really want to go for it.

 

3. Am I emotionally ready?

This is a big one you don’t often hear about, and one I didn’t fully understand until I was mustache deep into my program. I can tell you from personal experience that there will be a lot of days where you’ll wish you had never started. You will always have friends and family who seem to have an endless supply of time and resources to go out and have fun. You’ll feel pretty stupid when you have to turn down a road trip because a paper is due or spend time working on campus on a group project instead of at home with your family. Those missed opportunities will slowly eat away at you and can potentially diminish your motivation to finish.

Not to mention that since you’re in a higher level of coursework, your professors are going to demand more of you. Your work is going to be held to a higher standard than when you were an undergraduate, and you’ll have to deal with some harsh criticisms. You can’t let that get you down either. There is no progress without pain.

 

4. What are my motivations?

Why do you even want to go to graduate school? Maybe you’re just looking for higher-earning potential. You can definitely get that. However, there may be other options. Consider the cost and benefit of your degree vs. what you could learn on your own spending the same or less money on yourself instead of to a university. For example, there are certifications and specializations offered at tech schools and other specialized institutions that may be a better bet. As an example, in a WSJ article highlighting the pros of skipping an MBA, they mention a programming bootcamp that costs $12,000 with 88% of its graduates getting job offers starting at $79,000. So there are plenty of options.

Maybe you want to go to grad school because you’re afraid of actually getting out into the real world. Some people use school as a crutch because they think it’s easier to keep following the structure of a school program as opposed to forging their own path in the real world. Something to think about.

Or maybe you love education and want to continue on to get a PhD. If that’s the case, I applaud you. That’s some serious dedication.

These are just a few of the things I found to be helpful as I made my decision to continue my education. If you’re really thinking about going back to school, I highly suggest you do a little LinkedIn stalking for people who have graduated with the degrees you are considering. Reach out to them and get their perspective. They have no reason to sugar coat things and lie to you about their experiences. I found a couple graduates who really helped me weigh the specific pros and cons of the programs I was considering. After weighing all the pros and cons, those conversations eventually helped me solidify my decision. So far my experience has been exactly as they described it would be.

Best of luck to you in your journeys!

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My complicated relationship with the pre-dawn hours is one I know many of you have as well. Waking up before the sun is a ritual I have yet to master in my adult years. Why do I let my warm bed convince me to hit the snooze button more times than I’d like to admit? When I wake up early and give myself some buffer time for study and exercise before work, I always feel better throughout the day. I’m usually much more productive as well. So why do I ever let the sleep monster win? In my efforts to improve that aspect of my life, I happened upon the example of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson definitely left his mark on the American people. Not only was he the third president of the U.S. of A, he also wrote the Declaration of Independence and founded the University of Virginia. I could easily fill this entire post with his accomplishments, but instead I want to focus on a small aspect of his life that I believe dramatically affected his ability to get things done.“Whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.” -Thomas Jefferson

Rising with the Sun

Jefferson was no stranger to the battle of the sleep monster. For fifty years—yes you read that correctly—Jefferson never let the sun catch him in bed. As soon as it was light enough to read the clock in his room, Jefferson sent the sleep monster packing and began his morning rituals.

I believe having a predetermined structure to his mornings really helped him wake up early. One of his odd early-morning rituals was to soak his feet in cold water. Whatever works I guess… In addition, no matter where he had spent the night, when he woke up he was diligent about recording the temperature and other weather related information. Weather was a passion of his, and Jefferson used the morning hours before the demands of the day took up all of his time to focus on it.

I found it interesting that Jefferson didn’t fill his morning with the labors of his professional life. He used that time to work on his own personal projects. Too often my day is filled up entirely by the demands of others—whether they be for work, school, friends, or family. By the end of the day, there is rarely any time left for myself, and even when there is, I’m too tired to do anything productive with it. I usually end up binging through Parks & Rec episodes and falling asleep on the couch.

And according to Jefferson, that isn’t a great way to end the day either. He also had a structured nightly ritual.

I never go to bed without an hour, or half hour’s previous reading of something moral, whereon to ruminate in the intervals of sleep.”

-Thomas Jefferson

Instead of going to sleep with the stresses of the day on his mind, he took time to center himself and prepare for the next morning.

Not respecting your own time is incredibly detrimental to personal progress. How will you ever learn and grow if you never give yourself the time of day? You owe it to yourself to take at least an hour of personal time every day.

 

We All Have 24 Hours

While researching the habits of various successful individuals, I realized that waking up early is common to many of them. One lesser-known example I found was a 19th-century novelist by the name of Frances Trollope. Trollope had a busy life. Her husband was sick and she had six children to care for. Low on funds to support her family, she began her writing career at the age of 53, proving you’re never too old to accomplish your dreams. Since her day was dominated by the demands of others, the only time she could find for herself was the morning. She woke up at 4am each morning to write.

Mason Currey, author of Daily Rituals professes a similar affinity for working on personal projects in the early morning. As he puts it, “I simply don’t have the mental or bodily energy to be as distraction-prone as I am later in the day.”

At the end of the day, I often wonder where the time has gone. If we all have 24 hours in a day, how do some people accomplish so much more than others? I think Thomas Jefferson had it figured it out. If waking up early had not given any advantage to a man who was so influential to the founding of the United States, he would have never have continued with it for 50 years.

In an effort to practice what I preach, I woke up at 5 am to write this post. And you know what? It felt great. I was able to spend time doing something I enjoy and I was able to focus much more easily. I also had a little extra time to stop off at the donut shop on my way to work. Normally I have to skip breakfast and stress about traffic because I wake up late and have to spend my first seconds of the day hurriedly deciding if I need a real shower or if a Dwyer Shower will suffice.

So I thank you, Mr. Jefferson… and I’m sure my coworkers thank you too.

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You can log in from work or from home. From any device. The first thing you’ll want to do is to select the topics you want to learn about. Then the system will start suggesting learning content tailored to your needs.

2. Check Out the Learning Feed.

learning feed small

The first thing you see when you login is your learning feed, suggestions based on your learning interests. You can customize the suggestions you receive by adding categories to your profile, enrolling in pathways, following others, and joining groups.

3. Want to learn more? Search the library.search-mar2017Simply use the search field at the top of every page. Select “External Resources” to see the world of resources from across the web. Degreed has cataloged over 250,000 online learning courses and 3 million informal learning activities from more than 1300 sources.

4. Mark an item complete.Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.56.13 PMGet credit for the learning you do by marking an item complete once you’ve finished it.

5. Share great stuff.Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.56.28 PMFind something great and want to share? It’s easy to recommend content to others on your team or across your company. Simply click the recommend icon, search for the people or groups with whom you want to share, add a comment and send.

6. Get credit for everything you learn. Use the browser extensions to build your profile.

The easiest way to track all your learning is to use the Degreed Button, which allows you to get credit for your learning from anywhere — at the click of a button, without even visiting the Degreed site. To add either the Degreed Button to your browser, select “Profile,” “Settings,” then the “Degreed Button.”

Degreed Button

7. Leverage the mobile app. 

Degreed is mobile enabled for any device. You can also download the mobile app. When you read an article or listen to a podcast from your phone, select to “share” the item with Degreed then you can mark the item complete, save it for later, or recommend it to others.mobile experience8. Update your email settings. 

To get emails for Today’s Learning, recommendations, followers, and more make sure you update your email settings in Degreed. Select “Profile,” “Settings,” then the “Email.”

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