I want to be clear that this blog is not an advertisement for Lynda.com. But I cannot deny how useful this website is. Darn it.
For those of you who might only depend of FoxNews for information, allow me to explain what Lynda.com is. Lynda.com is a resource for video-based, online learning, including in-depth software training, first looks at up-and-coming technology trends, courses to help you develop critical business skills, techniques for creative pros, and inspirational documentaries.
When I first starting using Lynda.com, I felt compelled to watch one hour learning sessions. That can only go so far. I’m too busy for that. After a while, I learned how to truly unlock the potential of Lynda.com. By typing in the proper search query, I could be taken to bite-sized learning chunks (under 15 minutes) that I need to make it through my work day.
Just this past week, I came across two obstacles. Both had to do with Microsoft Excel, a program I love to hate and hate to need.
I know Excel is powerful. However, I always felt I had more chance of figuring out the American Electoral College system than unlocking the full might of this spreadsheet program. I would watch in awe as the gods of geekdom—accountants—created formulas from pixie dust and dragon scales. I would blink in dumbfounded confusion as if trying to unlock the secrets of giant squid mating rituals when some of my office mates would transform gigabytes of data into understandable colored charts.
Then came Lynda.com. Let me give you two examples:
First, I was trying to make a pretty chart so that people like me (who understand colored pictures more than numbers and words) could understand a company culture project I am working on. I couldn’t figure out how to take the information that I had typed into the spreadsheet and make it intelligible to the numeropalabras-challenged. I went to Lynda.com, typed “Excel tips making charts” into the search function, and within a few minutes found an 8 minute instructional on how to do what I wanted to do. All under 15 minutes! (Of course, I spent an additional 15 minutes bragging to my coworker about my find.)
High on these newly-found Excel endorphins, a second challenge presented itself to me. I was creating a SMART goal list for use with my team. I couldn’t figure out how to create a drop down list in the program. Once again, I typed in a search: “Excel drop down list.” YAY! I found a 5 minute and 9 second video to help me. (And, once again, spent another 15 minutes with my hands folded behind my head reveling in my sheer genius.)
You may be saying to yourself, “This is SO an ad for Lynda.com.” I promise. It is not.
“The expert is only an expert because they are resourceful.”
My point is this: If you really want to get a lot done, it is important to have quick go-to resources for when workday challenges pop up. Our normal tendency may be to go ask an expert. But they might not always be available. And I will guarantee you this. The expert is only an expert because they are resourceful; they have a bunch of bookmarked (hard or soft copy) places from which to grab information as they need it. Just on time learning.
Most experts on the job do not memorize endless bits of information. Instead, they are a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular area; and that area is oftentimes knowing where to go to get the answers they need. Hence, they flow seamlessly through their workday. These people rise in power and influence in a company as people depend on them. Some people sit on their resources like a troll guards its gold.
Start building your bite-sized learning resources. Create a special folder of shortcuts and bookmarks.
See. Told you this wasn’t an ad for Lynda.com.