Career Advice

How to improve your self-study skills as a working adult

More important than academic background: Decisive difference between people with high self-study ability and those with low self-study ability

More important than academic background: Decisive difference between people with high self-study ability and those with low self-study ability

“Reskilling” is currently attracting attention when it comes to learning inside and outside of companies. “Reskilling” is often translated as “relearning,” but it is “learning the skills and techniques that will be needed in the future in a changing society.”
What is important here is whether or not you have a “learning attitude”, that is, whether you have the “self-study ability”. Self-studying is not passive, but an indispensable condition is “involvement in learning” based on the three elements of “Why to learn,” “What to learn,” and “How to learn.” ──.
Shunsuke Takahashi, who has written many career-related books such as “Career Shock” and “New Edition Human Resource Management Theory,” and who has been researching human resources and human resource management from a management perspective for over 30 years, recently published “Self-Study Skills”. He has published “Self-study Skills to Build a Career: 50 Tips for Surviving as a Professional,” which is a complete explanation of “How to Learn as a Working Adult” in one book. He asserts, “Improving your self-study skills will enrich not only your professional career, but your entire life.”
He is the representative of the Japanese subsidiary of one of the world’s leading human resources consulting companies, and is currently engaged in research on career development and organizational human resource development, and is a “leading expert on career theory” who popularized the concept of “career shock” in Japan. Mr. Takahashi explains “7 decisive differences between people with high and low self-study skills that are more important than academic background.”


Improving your self-study skills as a working adult can be challenging but is certainly achievable with the right strategies. Here are some tips to help you enhance your self-study skills while managing a busy work schedule:

  1. Set Clear Goals:
    • Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your self-study efforts. Knowing what you want to achieve will help you stay focused.
  2. Prioritize and Plan:
    • Identify your priorities and allocate dedicated time for self-study. Create a realistic schedule that takes into account your work commitments, and be consistent in sticking to it.
  3. Time Management:
    • Break your study sessions into manageable chunks. Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes of focused study followed by a 5-minute break) to maintain concentration.
  4. Utilize Dead Time:
    • Make the most of downtime during your commute, lunch breaks, or waiting periods. Carry study materials or use mobile apps to review notes, listen to podcasts, or watch educational videos.
  5. Create a Dedicated Study Space:
    • Designate a quiet and comfortable space for your study sessions. Having a dedicated environment can help signal to your brain that it’s time to focus.
  6. Effective Note-Taking:
    • Develop effective note-taking techniques to capture key points during your study sessions. Organize your notes in a way that makes it easy to review and reference later.
  7. Use Technology Wisely:
    • Leverage technology for learning. Online courses, e-books, audiobooks, and educational apps can provide flexibility in your self-study routine.
  8. Learn to Say No:
    • Be selective about commitments outside of work and study. Learning to say no when necessary will help you maintain a balance between work, study, and personal life.
  9. Stay Healthy:
    • Prioritize your physical and mental well-being. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep contribute to improved focus and productivity during study sessions.
  10. Break Down Tasks:
    • Divide larger tasks into smaller, more manageable components. This makes studying feel less overwhelming and allows you to track your progress more effectively.
  11. Reflect and Adapt:
    • Regularly reflect on your self-study methods and adjust your approach based on what works best for you. If certain techniques or schedules are not effective, be open to trying new strategies.
  12. Join Study Groups or Online Communities:
    • Connect with like-minded individuals who are also pursuing self-study. Joining study groups or online communities provides a support system and can make learning more engaging.
  13. Reward Yourself:
    • Set up a system of rewards for achieving study milestones. Treat yourself to something enjoyable when you accomplish your goals to maintain motivation.
  14. Stay Positive:
    • Stay positive and patient with yourself. Balancing work and study can be challenging, but maintaining a positive mindset will help you overcome obstacles and stay focused on your goals.

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to self-study. Small, regular efforts over time can lead to significant progress. Adapt these strategies to fit your unique circumstances, and don’t hesitate to reassess and adjust your approach as needed.


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