My big take away from Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was the same as Eric Jackson who wrote an elegy in Forbes on the occasion of Covey’s death in 2012.
We all need to spend more time in the second quadrant of Covey’s time management matrix: the not urgent but important quadrant. Long term planning, relationship building, research: those kinds of tasks that we know we should be doing but get pushed aside to put out fires and focus on things that seem important but aren’t.
The most important thing you can do in your career relating to this simple two-by-two matrix is to do some Quadrant 2 stuff (not urgent but important) every day. At least 10% of your day needs to be devoted to this important but not urgent stuff. Ideally, you’re spending 30% of every day on this.
I think Covey meant this to be time for informal learning. Time to explore: read that article or blog post or newsletter, post that question to a community, google an acronym or topic, finally figure out what Reddit has to offer. Maybe write your own blog post musing about a topic. We don’t always have a goal or even a direction for our learning.