402: Habits for Creators: How to Prioritize Continual Learning

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A birds-eye photograph of a laptop and open books with the title of Bjork Ostrom's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast, 'Prioritize Continual Learning.'

This episode is sponsored by Clariti.

Welcome to episode 402 of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast! This week on the podcast, we have the second episode in our series on habits for creators, which is all about the habit of continual learning.

Last week on the podcast, Bjork kicked off the Habit Series about the importance of conducting a monthly review. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

How to Prioritize Continual Learning

Do you currently set aside time in your schedule for continual learning? Or do you feel like you’re just too busy to make time for it?

Either way, we hope that today’s episode will help you to rethink continual learning, and give you inspiration for incorporating it into your life as an entrepreneur.

Bjork chats about the importance of continual learning as a business owner, time blocks, and habit pairing — you won’t want to miss this episode!

A photograph of a woman working on a laptop at a desk with a quote from Bjork Ostrom's episode of The Food Blogger Pro Podcast: "As you think about the information that you're bringing into your world, how much of it is quick knowledge, and how much of it is snow knowledge."

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The difference between quick knowledge and slow knowledge, and why you need a balance of both.
  • How to use time blocks to implement the habit of continual learning.
  • How to incorporate continual learning into your life on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
  • Why using time blocks can lead to better building blocks for your business.
  • How to pair the habit of continual learning with the habit of a monthly review.


About This Week’s Sponsor

We’re excited to announce that this week’s episode is sponsored by our sister site, Clariti!

With Clariti, you can easily organize your blog content for maximum growth. Create campaigns to add alt text to your posts, fix broken images, remove any broken links, and more, all within the Clariti app.

Sign up for Clariti today to receive:

  • Access to their limited-time $45 Forever pricing
  • 50% off your first month
  • Optimization ideas for your site content
  • An invitation to join their exclusive Slack community
  • And more!

You can learn more and sign up here.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for interviews, be sure to email them to [email protected].

Transcript (click to expand):

Alexa Peduzzi: This episode is sponsored by Clariti, that’s clariti.com. When you’ve been blogging for a while, chances are that you’ve published a lot of content. Maybe you have a hundred posts or 500 posts, maybe it’s a thousand or even more. But I want you to ask yourself if each of those posts are bringing you the most traffic that they possibly can. Well, with Clariti, you can see that information about each and every post, which is automatically synced from WordPress and from Google, so that you can make well-educated decisions about updating and optimizing that old content. Not only that, you could also use the information to fuel the creation of new content because you’ll be able to see which types of posts are performing best for you. Clariti allows you to filter your content based on optimization needs as well. So things like missing alt texts, broken links, lack of internal links, and more so that you can know which posts may need some updates.

Get access to keyword ranking, click-through rate and impression data for all of your posts today with Clariti. Listeners to the Food Blogger Pro podcast, get 50% off their first month of Clariti after signing up for the waitlist. So to sign up, simply go to Clariti. That’s clariti.com/food. Thanks again to Clariti for sponsoring this episode.

Bjork Ostrom: Hey, there. It’s Bjork. You’re listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Usually on this podcast we do interviews. We have conversations with experts, people who have a deep industry knowledge, people who have been building a business for a long period of time, but for this short series, short in that it’s only going to be a handful of episodes, also short in that the episodes aren’t going to be as long, we’re doing something a little bit different, which is we’re talking about a theme, the theme of habits and the habits that you can get into as a business owner, as a creator, they’re going to serve you over time. It ties into this concept that we talk a lot about, which is getting a tiny bit better every day forever, and we kind of think of that as 1% infinity. So what does it look like to get a tiny bit better today? But to think about doing that every single day.

And this, today’s episode really directly ties into that because it’s all about continual learning. So in the last episode, we talked about this idea of building in rhythms around reviewing and understanding kind of the day-to-day of your business and what that looks like on not only on a day-to-day level, but also macro level to step back and to review things, to actually look at the lay of the land as things are going, and to get an idea of how your business looks from a financial picture, but also within the metrics within your business. So you’re not always on the ground in the dirt doing the work, but that you occasionally step back and review things and building.

A habit around doing that. Today we’re going to be talking about the habit of continual learning and how that can serve you well. And I know for the work that we’ve done over the past 12 years, it’s been extremely critical for us to do continual learning. And the great thing about this is, I know that you are somebody who’s doing that because you’re listening to this podcast. So we know that you already value learning, and I wanted to talk about a few different ideas or concepts that might help expand the way that you think about learning and think about other ways to kind of slot that in.

So the first thing that I wanted to talk about are two different categories of learning, and I consider it quick knowledge and slow knowledge. And in our world as people who are building things online, a lot of what we focus on is quick knowledge. And I consider this to be social media algorithms or search engine algorithms or best practices around, or not best practices, but a new software tool that comes out that you can use that’s really exciting and trendy and might help you in some way.

And I think all of those things are really good things, but I think it needs to be balanced with slow knowledge. And I can consider slow knowledge to be things like business best practices, writing, the skill of writing, photography, storytelling, like understanding, not on the ground specific detail level, but at a high level, understanding accounting or taxes, management or project management. So these are all of the core foundations that I would say are going to be generally the same in 10 years as they are right now. And so while it’s not as fun and while it’s not potentially is immediately impactful, it is going to serve you better as a business owner, if that’s how you view yourself, over a long period of time, versus some of that quick knowledge, which is also really important.

It’s important to understand the Instagram algorithm and what’s working well there. It’s important to understand the Google algorithm and what’s working well there, but if you only focus on that, you can lose sight of the things that are going to serve you all over a long period of time. For instance, if you start to understand how to be a really good storyteller and you get really good at capturing video, you’re going to be able to use that well on Instagram, but you’re also going to be able to use that in 10 years when nobody cares about reels and nobody’s thinking about reels or nobody’s talking about the Instagram algorithm because there’s something else. But the understanding and the skills that comes with storytelling or that comes with capturing video, those are going to serve you well. And so as you think about continual learning, one of the things that I would encourage you to do is to think about balancing your quick knowledge that’s immediately applicable but also will kind of die off in terms of the value in a relatively short amount of time.

It’s kind of like Juicy Fruit gum. Do you remember the gum? Or zebra stripes gum? Not Juicy Fruit, but Juicy Fruit too maybe. I always think of zebra stripes, which is, I don’t know if they still make that anymore, but I remember as a kid getting zebra stripe gum and it was so good for like 15 seconds and then it got really hard and tasteless. And that to me is quick knowledge. It’s good, it’s still important, but it’s not going to serve you well over a really long period of time. So as you think about your knowledge acquisition, think about how to balance those two things, quick knowledge and slow knowledge. And on the podcast we try and do that. We try and talk about some of the quick knowledge things, what’s happening on Pinterest right now? What are best practices for Google? What are some ways that you can use this new platform that helps you publish media in a certain way that’s working well on different social platforms.

But we also try and have conversations around things like understanding business best practices or understanding how accounting works for your business and balancing those two things because you need both of those in this industry. So that’s just kind of a high level observation as you think about the information that you are bringing into your world, how much of it is quick knowledge and how much of it is it slow knowledge? And sometimes the slow knowledge isn’t as fun, it’s not as sexy to pursue it, but it’s going to have an impact over a long period of time if you continue to be somebody who wants to pursue a business or pursue being an entrepreneur or even working in a certain job that has some of the needs for those skills, which most of the jobs that people work do have some of these slow knowledge skills, writing as an example, is going to serve you well no matter where you go.

Understanding the Google algorithm is going to serve you well if you are trying to optimize for search. But let’s say things evolve, you have a different job, your entrepreneurial pursuits take you in a different direction, that quick knowledge that you have around search optimization might not be helpful, but writing is going to continue to serve you well. It’s one of the common things that people hear from Warren Buffett when they ask, what’s your best advice? He often says two different things. One is, the best investment to make is an investment in yourself. So this idea of continual learning. And the second thing he often talks about for himself was one of the best investments in himself that he made was attending classes and courses on speaking in public. And he talked about how he was shy and really nervous about speaking in public and how in taking those classes and courses, he was able to get more confident in public speaking and how that has served him really well.

And you can imagine it doesn’t matter what business it is, the ability to speak well publicly is a great skill to have. And in the case of somebody like Warren Buffett, it was something that he developed. He didn’t have that skill naturally, he developed that intentionally because he knew he wanted to speak in public and to not be nervous every time that he did it. So that’s the first thing that I wanted to touch on. As you think about knowledge acquisition, think about quick knowledge and slow knowledge and doing your best to balance between those two things and not get too anchored in either one because they’re both really important.

The second thing that I wanted to talk about as it relates to continual learning and building a habit around that is to think of time blocks and building blocks. And what I mean by that is, first think of time blocks and time blocks are the parts in your day, your week, your month or year where you were able to block out a certain amount of time to acquire this knowledge, this quick knowledge and this slow knowledge.

And some examples in my life, pre-kids, one of the most consistent time blocks for me was reading in the morning. I would get up and part of my process for starting my morning routine, make coffee, get breakfast ready, and I would sit down and read anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to start my day. Now, that’s very different that we have kids, and my morning is much more chaotic and directed towards our kids and getting them up and ready, and that’s wonderful, but very different from what it was for me five years ago. So I’ve had to shift where that new time block is. Previously, the time block was in the morning in the way that I was consuming content was by reading books.

Now that daily time block for me has shifted to the evening and it’s no longer reading, but it’s listening to podcasts. And I do that while I’m doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. So that’s our family routine. We’ll do dinner, we’ll play with our girls, and then Lindsay takes the girls up. Usually this is how it works. Lindsay will take the girls up, start to get them ready for bed, and my job is kitchen cleaning. It’s dishes. It’s kind of resetting everything for the next day. And when I’m doing that, I think of that as a time block to slot in quick knowledge and slow knowledge acquisition. Now for some of you, you might look at that and say, that sounds terrible. I don’t want to listen to a podcast around industry best practices or accounting or whatever it might be at night. That’s really when I want to listen to a fun podcast and kind of unwind or whatever it might be.

The point is not around, this is when you should do the thing, it’s more around think strategically around what the time block is for you that you can slot in on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a commute and you’re in the car and in the morning, and that really works out well. Maybe it’s at the gym. My guess is that you already have a version of this because you’re listening to this podcast. And so this is, maybe I’m preaching to the choir I think in some ways, and my other assumption with this is you are probably doing this in some type of time block behavior. Maybe some of you just kind of randomly stumbled upon this and you’re watching it, but for a lot of you, it’s probably being slotted in here in your day because of a routine that you have when you take the dog for a walk, when you go to the gym, whatever it might be.

So think strategically, what are those time blocks that you have in your day? But also then think about that weekly, monthly, and annually. So are there times on a weekly basis where every week, once a week you step back for two hours and you use that to acquire knowledge in a different way? Maybe you’re taking a course and you go through that course and you spend two hours just watching that. Maybe you’re a member of Food Blogger Pro and you consume some of the content there. Or you say, hey, once a week I’m going to take two hours and look through the forum, whatever it might be. Think about weekly basis, what does that look like and how things might be a little bit different. It’s a different type of knowledge acquisition, you’re doing it in a different way.

And monthly, this almost ties into some of the things we talked about last week when we talked about reviewing financials on a monthly basis, reviewing metrics on a monthly basis. I think within that, you can also make note of the things that you might not understand or the questions that you have. And a way that I kind of pair continual learning with time blocking is one of the things that I have. So I use a tool called Notion. It’s essentially just like a note app. At its most basic form, it’s a way to record information and store information, and it’s extremely powerful in what it can do. But essentially, personally, I use it as a 201 version of the Notes app on my phone or on my computer, just a little bit more of a permanent place to store information.

And an example of how I use time blocking and continual learning along with the annual or the monthly review of finances is when I’m looking through the finances for the businesses or just trying to do a deep dive on understanding the business on a monthly basis, if I ever run into something that I have a question about that I don’t understand, within Notion, I have a note, I think that’s what they’re called, maybe not, but I have an area where I’m recording all the questions that I have.

And then on a monthly basis, I have a meeting with our CPAs. And for you, it might be quarterly or it could be twice a year or even once a year, whatever it is for you. But I have a little note and I keep the questions that I have. So it’s like, “Hey, I ran into this. I don’t really know what this is. I have a question about it.” And so I’ll drop that question in. And then I have this monthly meeting where I’ll bring those questions up and if I think of it, I’ll send them over ahead of time so they have some time to think about it.

But it pairs this monthly financial review with this continual learning because whenever I bump into a question, what I want to do is understand it. And the way that I do that is by putting it down as a question and then going to the people that are in my life that can answer that question. And for you, it could be maybe just shooting an email off, whatever it is. So that’s the process that I use on a monthly basis.

And then yearly, I really think about that as workshops, retreats, conferences. And one of the through lines that I’ve seen in a lot of the interviews that we’ve done on the Food Blogger Pro podcast is those are really pivotal for people, conferences specifically, but also retreats or workshops, those can be really pivotal moments for people because they force you to step away and to look at things differently and to be fully present to learning in a way that’s really hard to do in the micro, in the daily grind of things to really immerse yourself in learning.

And if you haven’t ever done that, go to a conference, go to a workshop, go to a retreat with other creators, I would say see if you can make this year, be the year that that happens and see what that’s like. And my guess is that it will be a beneficial thing for you, and it’s a great way to time block a significant amount of time, but it’s maybe only once a year or twice a year to learn and to grow. And I would say I do one to two conferences a year. Previously when we had less commitments, it was more, and that’s for me, kind of scaled back over time. But it’s still a really important thing in how I view continual learning and acquisition of knowledge, which as we’ve talked about is so important. So that’s time blocking. It’s blocking the time off.

And what I think of happening in those time blocks is acquiring building blocks. And if you think of what you’re doing as building a house or a castle or a bridge, you’re building something, let’s call it a house, and the house is your business. In those time blocks, what you’re doing is you’re acquiring building blocks. And those building blocks are going to be a key part of building whatever it is that you’re building, that house, that business. And the house has an analogy for the business. But what you’re doing is you’re really seeking out those building blocks that become the foundation for your business or your nonprofit or your creative pursuits. And without that, without the acquisition of the knowledge that you need to build on, you’re not going to have as strong of a foundation. It’s going to be a little bit more flimsy, and it takes time.

So this isn’t the kind of thing where you’re putting up some tar paper house in three days. You’re acquiring brick by brick, little by little. And over time, what will happen is you can imagine if you are laying 1, 2, 3 bricks a day, suddenly by the end of the year you might have a thousand bricks on your house. And then in 10 years you have this really incredible, beautiful thing that you’ve built. But it takes time and it’s brick by brick. And the way that you get those bricks is, in my mind, through the acquisition of knowledge and the implementation of that knowledge in doing the work that it actually takes to build a thing. So time blocks help to get you building blocks, which build the foundation for your business. And within that, keep in mind that it takes time, 1% infinity, right? So it’s a little bit every day. It’s a few of those blocks. You’re building those over time, over long period of time. And you can do that on a daily basis, a weekly basis. You can do it monthly, and you can do it yearly.

And as you’re doing it, think about that quick knowledge, the things that are going to be immediately applicable, but maybe not as helpful five, 10 years from now. And the slow knowledge, the things that maybe aren’t as exciting or aren’t as applicable in the immediate future. But what they are going to do is allow you to have that foundational knowledge and those foundational skills that are transferable in a lot of ways across industries and will serve you well over a long period of time.

So the habit of continual learning is a really important one. You can start to see how when you pair these habits, we talked about last month, this habit of a monthly review, making sure that you understand your business, the finances, the metrics, taking time to step back to look at those, to analyze those, to question those, to see the opportunities or maybe some of the weaknesses within those, that’s a really important thing. Continual learning, the process of knowledge acquisition and applying that knowledge in a way that helps you build these blocks that you need for your business and for kind of the foundational things that you need to build on a day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year to year basis. All of these things, as you fold in these habits, they become these incremental compounding effects on what you’re able to build. And you won’t feel it on a daily basis. You won’t feel it on a weekly basis, but over a long period of time, you’ll start to feel the impact of that as you continue to pursue these habits.

So my hope for these episodes is that it introduces a new idea or a new concept, or maybe a way just to slightly tweak what it is that you’re doing to help serve you better so you can serve the people that you work with and the audience that you serve even better. So thanks for listening. Thanks for tuning in. It’s a great joy to be able to do this podcast, and we appreciate each and every one of you, and we’ll be back here next week. Until then, make it a great day. Thanks.

Alexa Peduzzi: Hey, there. Alexa here. We hope you enjoyed this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast. Thanks for tuning in this week. I wanted to let you know that we actually recently launched something called the Member Directory. So all Food Blogger Pro members have access to it, and they can access it by going to foodbloggerpro.com/directory. And it’s there that you can see and connect with all of your fellow Food Blogger Pro members and industry experts, and those of us on the Food Blogger Pro team. So you’ll see different things like social links and blog links and bios and just ways to connect. And it’s just such a fun place to go if you’re looking to kind of build your own community on a social media platform or just be able to connect with other people and see what they’re up to on their blogs.

So again, that URL is foodbloggerpro.com/directory. And if you are a Food Blogger Pro member and you’re interested in filling out your profile, you can do that over in the edit profile area of your membership. And then once you fill out that information and you’re kind of exploring the member directory, you can filter by cuisines. So if you’re blogging about vegan recipes and you want to connect with other vegan bloggers, it’s very easy to do that on the directory. It’s very fun, very cool, and just a really awesome place to connect with one another. So if you’re a, be sure to check that out at foodbloggerpro.com/directory. And if you’re not a member, all good. If you’re interested in joining, you can learn more at foodbloggerpro.com/membership. But otherwise, we’ll see you here on the podcast next time, next Tuesday. And until then, make it a great week.

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