Making time, building knowledge and connecting with the analytics community
At the end of the year, I am reminded of the value of time. Finishing up year-end projects in the hustle and bustle of the season leaves me with time in short supply, but—worse still—my lack of time sometimes extends into the new year.
When I have projects to finish, insights to uncover and a host of other responsibilities to discharge, I sometimes struggle to find the time to focus on important activities that may not be urgent. For example, although expanding my knowledge base is an integral part of my work, moments when I can focus on learning can be elusive. How, then, can I continue my education during a never-ending time crunch?
In my quest for the time I need to continue the education I value, I’ve found a few ways to think about my learning and the time I spend on it that have helped me take charge of my education. They may sound simple, but join me, and we’ll explore them in detail.
Take charge of your learning
To make education a way of life, rethink your learning process. For example, if you find yourself constantly deferring your learning time, then try committing to specific times and places for learning. Consider registering for a learning event, allowing you to schedule your learning time on your calendar, visible to both you and others. When you’re obliged to show up on time and on site, you won’t be able to put off your learning time as you sometimes have.
Consider also whether you are making full use of the time you do set aside for learning. Do you spend your entire energy on theory, or do you also practice what you learn? Choose immersive learning experiences that ask you to apply what you learn while getting involved with others in your community. Better still, take advantages of learning opportunities that ask you to exercise your abilities by accomplishing work you already need to do. By doing so, you can get the benefits of learning while still discharging your job responsibilities—effective time management at its best.
Take, for example, the Datapalooza knowledge-building event. As highlighted in InformationWeek, the first Datapalooza brought data scientists together for three days to not only learn among their peers but also put that knowledge to use. Accordingly, attendees built data products while receiving an education in doing so—and the 2015 event was so well received that similar events are now being planned internationally for 2016.
Of course, no matter how hard you try, you still might be hard pressed to find time for education. If so, then step back for a look at where your time goes. Do you lose time to inefficiency? Or perhaps you spend valuable time trying to tie together disjointed data and analytics activities. If so, then consider using a well integrated analytics platform.
Indeed, doing without a cohesive platform could lead to many different inefficiencies. For example, using a wide range of disparate solutions can complicate integration, wasting time that could have been put toward knowledge building. Or suppose that important analytics capabilities are missing entirely—as, for instance, governance capabilities can sometimes be overlooked despite their importance to analytics. Even use of a single word to mean multiple things can cause delays while those who use the data parse meaning in each context.
Start finding the time for learning by assessing the solutions and platforms available to help you take charge of your learning—not only this year but also in years to come. You might even kick off the year with a bang by signing up for a comprehensive learning event.
Don’t miss the chance to learn more about how a full-fledged analytics platform can help you further your education.