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  • Tamar Balkin

What Have You Learnt And How Has It Helped You At Work This Week?

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

Please tell me in one sentence "What have you learnt and how has it helped you at work this week?"

Thanks to the generosity of the Franklin Women COVID Carer’s Support Scholarship I currently have the pleasure of coaching some remarkable female scientists. These humble women spend their days immersed in learning and researching topics that will change our lives. They couldn’t encompass in a full page, let alone a sentence what they have learnt and how has it helped them at work this week.  I realise that the majority of readers are not necessarily learning as many new things  in a week as these women in STEM. However, I challenge you  all to pause and think about when you last delved into the latest research pertaining to your profession, technical specialty or leadership. (Sorry reading this blog does not count.)  Whilst most professions have an ongoing professional development requirement. In my opinion, these mandatory requirements are probably insufficient to quest your thirst for knowledge, and to really extend yourself professionally. So what are the benefits of continued specialist learning?

  • Stay up-to-date with technical advances in your specialisation;

  • Extend your knowledge into other relevant  disciplines; 

  • Improve existing skills and develop new ones;

  • Practically apply new skills and knowledge;

  • Consolidate new knowledge with past experience.

  • New neural pathways in the brain are established

  • Stimulates creativity and innovation

  • Improves  psychological wellbeing

  • Increases in  income

  • Decrease in financial stress.

  • Live longer

  • Higher health literacy, which is linked  to increased healthy behaviour

  • Widens your network

  • Generally good insurance against unemployment, even in difficult economic times.

How do we stay motivated to keep learning in the long term?

  • Set a personally meaningful learning goal. Your goal should have an impact on yourself and the potential to have some effect on or connection to the world beyond the self.

  • Be future orientated: Make long term learning plan and consider the long term future benefits.

  • Tell someone your goal before you start.This will double your chances of sustained action

  • Schedule it in the diary Make a regular time in the week or day to learn

  • Establish external  accountability: learn with a partner, or for the benefit of a project, or email me.

These are the podcasts I currently subscribe to:

  • Eat sleep work repeat

  • HBR IdeaCast

  • How I Built This with Guy Raz

  • My pocket psych

  • Work and Life with Stew Friedman.

  • SIOP (Society for Industrial and Organsational Psychology) conversation series

This weeks song is the antithesis of all that I have written above, yet is has a fun tune and serves as a reminder of what not to do. 

We don't need no education We don't need no thought control”

Another Brick in The Wall Part 2 Pink Floyd The song is on my blog playlist


Halamish, V., Nussinson, R. and Ben-Ari, L. (2013). In a year, memory will benefit from learning, tomorrow it won’t: Distance and construal level effects on the basis of metamemory judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(5), pp.1621–1627.

‌Narushima, M., Liu, J. & Diestelkamp, N. (2016). Lifelong learning in active ageing discourse: its conserving effect on wellbeing, health and vulnerability. Ageing and Society, 38(4), pp.651–675.

‌ Shah, T.M., Weinborn, M., Verdile, G., Sohrabi, H.R. and Martins, R.N. (2017). Enhancing Cognitive Functioning in Healthly Older Adults: a Systematic Review of the Clinical Significance of Commercially Available Computerized Cognitive Training in Preventing Cognitive Decline. Neuropsychology Review, 27(1), pp.62–80.

Soutschek, A., Ugazio, G., Crockett, M.J., Ruff, C.C., Kalenscher, T. and Tobler, P.N. (2017). Binding oneself to the mast: stimulating frontopolar cortex enhances precommitment. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12(4), pp.635–642.

Yeager, D.S., Henderson, M.D., Paunesku, D., Walton, G.M., D’Mello, S., Spitzer, B.J. and Duckworth, A.L. (2014). Boring but important: A self-transcendent purpose for learning fosters academic self-regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, [online] 107(4), pp.559–580. Available at: [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].

‌ Education at a Glance 2012. (2012). [online] Highlights from Education at a Glance. OECD. Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2019].

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