What’s Your Learning Plan?

Posted by on Dec 30 2016

People always focus on New Year’s resolutions at the end of December, but I have a better way of ringing in the new year.

I love to learn fresh ideas and new skills. The phrase Lifelong Learning truly defines the way I live my life.

So this week, I wrote my “learning plan” for the next 12 months, in terms of business and marketing topics I want to study … I also plan to learn how to cook vegetarian meals!

By asking a series of questions, I came up with a list of what I want to study next year. This helps me to keep focused on specific topics and not run around trying to learn everything at the same time. (I can see you nodding in agreement. We must avoid Shiny Object Syndrome at all costs!)

Here’s how to create a focus for your learning plan:

  1. What are my big goals for the next 12 months for my business?
  2. What topics do I need to study to attain those goals?
  3. Of all the thing I can study, which ONE THING is the most important to start with?
  4. How long do I want to devote to studying that topic?
  5. What resources do I currently have available to study this topic?  (What do you have in your bookshelf or on your own hard drive right now?)
  6. Where can I get further resources for studying this topic? What books are available? What classes can I take? Who do I know who is a whiz-bang at this topic, so I can pick their brains?

My personal learning planning came down to one focus topic for January/February: writing and editing. My goal for this year is to write at least two books (one is already finished). Here are the ways I’ll implement my learning plan:

  • Getting thoughts on paper isn’t the same thing as a well-crafted manuscript, so I hired a mentor to look over my work and show me how to take my writing to a new level.
  • I have some writing books on my shelf, like On Writing Well by William Zinsser and Writing Nonfiction by Dan Poynter.
  • My friend, Pamela Wilson, just published her first book, Master Content Marketing, and I can pick her brains about the writing/publishing journey she went through.
  • Even better, she chronicled her journey in a podcast series for Rainmaker FM/Copyblogger called Zero to Book, so I’ll load that onto my smartphone.

By asking the right question, assets will come to mind which have been neglected. Now I have quite a few assets to explore in January and February.

Then I repeated the process to pick a key topic for all the remaining months for next year. For instance:

  • in March I’ll be studying email marketing campaign funnel design
  • in April I’ll focus on the psychology of marketing and why people buy
  • in May I’ll look at website traffic conversion

Then I’ll collapse in a puddle of happiness, with a full brain and tons of ideas to implement in June through December! 🙂

(There’s no sense in learning a lot if you don’t plan time for implementation. Don’t crowd your calendar with monthly learning; give yourself some assimilation space.)

Special Tip: Having a hard time keeping track of all the notes you take on a certain learning topic? My favorite note-taking tool is Evernote (www.evernote.com), a great web-based, computer-based and mobile app tool to help with keeping notes, including a way to tag each note with keywords for easy look-up. Your notes sync across your devices — a wonderful way to take notes on the go then have them on your work computer when you get back to the office. Neato!

Take a moment right now: What topic do you want to learn more about next year?

Best of luck to you as you design your own Learning Plan for next year! It’s exciting!!


5 comments for now

5 Responses to “What’s Your Learning Plan?”

  1. Thanks Karyn for the guide question on preparing Learning Plan for 2017.

    Am reminded of the PhD learning plan we were required to prepare when I attended a university in Europe many years ago. Unlike in many traditional universities, PhD students in that university don’t have rigid curriculum to follow. Together with their advisers, they make their own learning plans.

    Anyway, my learning plan for the first half of 2017 is quite simple. I will focus on learning web copywriting and am so blessed to have the right mentor to guide me.


    30 Dec 2009 at 12:53 am

  2. Beth


    Someone else online had mentioned evernote.com and I went and signed up a few days ago. It sounded like something very valuable to help me organize better and save time. I am not a techie and don’t always “get” sites like that until I am shown. That was the case with this.

    You mentioned trying out 90 minute classes this year. This would be a great one for me. It could be included as part of a topic such as organizing, or a stand-alone class done as a webinar so we could actually see the screen and follow what you are doing. Then, if you recorded it, you could re-sell it as a home study module afterward.
    You could use keeping track of all your publicity and media-related things as an example.

    10 Jan 2010 at 3:48 pm

  3. Karyn Greenstreet


    Here’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich idea for you: why not combine your use of Evernote.com with offering 90 minute classes of your own? Pick a topic, write up notes in Evernote until you think you have enough material, then create the class around that material. Would that work?

    Hey, maybe my next online video will be about “How To Create 90-Minute Classes Using Evernote!” 🙂 Thanks for the idea!


    10 Jan 2010 at 7:52 pm

  4. Karyn
    Thanks for this great article. I admire how you can step back enough to turn a seemingly complected, overwhelming journey into a simple step-by-step process.
    I get so overwhelmed with both shiny objects and making things too complex. I’ve learned much by my association with you and your team.
    Thanks and Happy New Year!

    30 Dec 2016 at 12:35 pm

  5. Karyn Greenstreet

    You’re very welcome, Jack. Sounds like your Focus Word for 2017 should be “simplify.” 🙂

    30 Dec 2016 at 6:09 pm

Category: Business Strategy & Planning