What Did You Learn Today?

How to inject learning into your daily habits.

There is so much coming at us – the critical mixed in with the mundane. It can all become a blur of open loops. But luckily, habits provide a way of instilling order in the chaos.

I’ve probably implemented hundreds of daily habits over the years, but I’ve only kept a half dozen or so. Some are typical, like exercise, reading, prayer and the goals for the day, but recently I’ve created a new one that has been surprisingly helpful. In fact, it’s become the habit I look forward to the most every day.

We all need wins

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Habits provide a way of instilling order in the chaos.

My daily KEEP is like a journal, but it’s much more. It’s a win, and we all need wins. It’s a way of practicing what I consider to be the master skill: learning.

This is a way of putting a stake in the ground for that day by asking myself one simple question: What did I learn today?

Every day at 5 p.m., I get a reminder in Google KEEP with the question above. The answers vary and cover all aspects of life: relationships, mental, spiritual – you name it – but the key to the whole thing is consistency.

Just reflect for a moment on the day, and pick out a meaningful event or realization and briefly summarize it. Then include an example of how that insight emerged. This will help later when you look back at what you’ve learned.

Unexpected benefits

If you’re like me, you’re going to begin to look forward to this exercise and enjoy a number of unexpected benefits:

  • You’ll become more reflective about your day as you get into the habit of looking back on what’s happened and searching for the nuggets.
  • You’ll also begin to look for learning opportunities throughout the day. Your brain looks for the things you tell it to. Some days I actually post the day’s KEEP before 5 p.m.
  • You’ll learn more. This is a way of digging and uncovering the nuggets. Since taking up this habit, I’m often surprised at the insights that emerge when I take a moment to look closely at the events and experiences of the day.

That’s it! Simple and easy to implement. I’ll close with another question:

How many days are you willing to let go by without capturing a significant learning insight?

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Mark Modesti is in Customer Solutions Sales at UPS. He works with customers in the middle market to help accelerate their business results by leveraging the expertise and technology UPS has developed in business process analysis, supply chain and warehouse solutions.

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