Learning.  It’s one of those things that we know is good for us, but we can never seem to do it.  It’s good for the job that we’re currently in and it’s helpful in building your skill set, which could lead to career advancement.  And yet we can’t seem to find the time.

In a lot of ways it’s like exercise for me.  I know I should do it, but I put it off.  I keep putting it off until eventually its 9pm and who wants to exercise at 9pm?  But when I do make the time, when I push myself to go at lunch, no matter how much I don’t want to, I feel so much better afterwards.  By doing it, I’m setting myself up for challenges I may face today, tomorrow, or further down the road.

So where do you start?  With exercise I find it helps to have a bit of a program, that way I can plan out what I’m going to do before I do it.  It helps optimize the time I spend, making me more productive.  If I could be so bold, I’d like to suggest a program with 3 pretty straightforward steps that you or your teams could use.

1)      Read: There are a collection of Free Microsoft ebooks that we’ve consolidated into one blog post.  Review the list and pick a couple (or more) to download and read.

2)      Train: Visit Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) and take the free online training.  If the courses are there, you may want to pick the same technology or product you just read the ebook about.

3)      Get Hands On: We’ve taken the most popular labs from our IT Camps and reworked them so that we could post them as Step-By-Step content on our blog so anyone can access them.  Here’s a list of what we have so far:

Just like exercise, it won’t all happen overnight, but the more you’re able to set some time aside and invest in yourself and your team, the better prepared you’ll all be to tackle any big challenges that you’ll face in the future.

Any other ideas on training that you could add to the program I’ve suggested above?  Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

Chris