• To Create or To Learn – That is the Question

    *Editor’s Note: This article was originally written and published on an old blog on June 18, 2013.

    Every single day I struggle with determining how my time is best spent – do I create right now or do I learn right now? It’s this battle between the two that I still haven’t quite figured out. Obviously, I must create in order to get my job done. I must write and complete projects and bring ideas to life — or what good am I?

    But I also must continue learning and ensure that I’m the best possible resource to my colleagues and my clients, and of course myself. There is so much information out there that I want to consume, it’s not always easy to determine when enough is enough.

    Rooftop Sunset Seattle

    This is especially true with my personal life and passions — outside of my job. I love photography, writing, blogging, graphic and web design, exploring my creative side, public speaking, and overall just learning and experiencing new things. So, when I have that precious “me” time, I am often faced with the questions…

    Do I read articles, finish e-courses, watch webinars, complete training, pick up that book?

    Or do I write, create, think, complete projects, act now?

    I need both. The world needs both.

    But where and when do we draw the line? I wish I knew. Is one more important than the other? You can create no matter what… you don’t always need a skill or particular knowledge to just create something… but a lot of what I WANT to create (websites, graphics, photography, online businesses) means I need to LEARN a thing or two. I need to expand my knowledge and finish that course. I need to follow through with my education on that topic — even though I’ve become distracted by the act of doing.

    Writing – that’s easy. I don’t need to learn. I just need to write. Maybe that’s why I love it.

    But for everything else, I guess it’s just another balancing act — like everything in life. The answer for me is typically doing what absolutely needs to be done (in the case of work) as well as listening to what I feel in that moment. If the mood hits me and I just need to write, then I write. If I feel thirsty for knowledge and the blogs I follow are calling out to me, well I act on it and try to absorb as much information in those quick moments.

    Then sometimes — not as often as it should be — I sit down and make one or the other the priority because I know it’s exactly what I need. Complete that chapter in my blogging course, publish a new blog post, watch that webinar…

    Writing Prompt:

    How do you balance these two? Can you think of a time when you probably procrastinated taking action and focused too much on learning? What did you learn from that situation? 



    Post Tagged with

No Responsesso far.

  1. joyfulmara says:

    I experience this too every. single. day. Mostly because I desire to feel inspired and the best way to do that is to either create something, read something, or go somewhere…and yet…finding enough time is always the trouble. There is SO MUCH out there to see and do! I get overwhelmed by the prospect of it all and most of the time I end up just sitting in front of the tv and checking pinterest. Recently I started making weekly goals. I think these will be my golden ticket for setting aside time to create or learn. If I am feeling like I “need” something on Sunday it will make the list! I’m also starting Desire Map next month with a friend. The book is over 100 pages and the workbook is over 100 pages…plus there’s all the online media…so we created a schedule and will spend about 11 weeks working through it bit by bit. Sometimes it helps to break the larger things down into easier to chew pieces.

    • Dani O. Buckley says:

      Mara – This is great way to approach it… I especially like your idea of setting weekly goals and I can imagine myself making “create” ones and “learn” ones to kind of balance out those two areas. I’ll ask myself “What do I really want to learn about or get inspired by this week?” and “What do I NEED to create? What do I WANT to create?” Love it!

      ALSO, I’m also starting Desire Map next month (waiting for Blogging from the Heart to wrap up). I would love to get some inside scoop on your 11 week plan. I haven’t even looked at the materials yet because I know I’ll get excited and overwhelmed, but really really looking for Desire Map! We’ll have to share our thoughts as we go along on the journey. :)

  2. Apt.309.com says:

    Hi Dani, I so understand how tough it is to balance the two and i am still learning how to do that. i continually need to practice it. My creative mind likes to wander and take in all thats around me but I think structuring my time helps me the most. But like I said, this is a difficult one for me too. By the way, love the picture.

    • Dani O. Buckley says:

      Thanks Terri – I can relate so much with the ol’ “wondering mind.” It’s not an easy thing to quiet, nor do I really want to, but like you said, structuring our time tends to be the most productive route while still allowing for spontaneity and living in the moment.

      And the photo was from this wonderful little rooftop gathering I had with a couple new friends. The photo doesn’t even do it justice. :)

  3. Shelly says:

    This is a conundrum I also struggle with. There is so much good info out there, but sometimes I find it hard to apply all I learn. Some days I think less is more, especially when it leads to action and creation. Great post!

  4. I think a lot of creatives have this battle in their mind.
    There is this longing for learning and creating at the same time. This two are tied up very near, because when you learn you build the foundation for your creations and when you create you always learn, because oftentimes it is just not like you imagined it in your mind and it is just so different to see the growing process of something that is born in and with your own hands. It is just a little like the learning would be the pregnancy and then after time there is the birth of something wonderfull and magic.

    My problem isn’t much about the battle, but I have to say, beeing a stay at home mum I have a lot of free time and going alongside my two daugthers just lets me learn and create during the day in so much opportunities, but I always have to push myself to go ahead and create. I’m a big thinker and will stay in the learning process oftentimes to long, so I forget how much pleasure and statisfaction it is to work with the things I know and actually deepen the learning with the experience. It’s my constant problem to push myself there.

    Wish you a beautiful day

    • Dani O. Buckley says:

      I can definitely relate, Eos. Especially when you say, “I will stay in the learning process oftentimes too long…” That is exactly what I struggle with because I love to learn new things (study writing, blogging courses, photoshop workshops, art classes) but I too forget how great it feels to actually CREATE.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  5. Amy Jenkins says:

    Absolutely! I so struggle with this between having too many creative interests and being a learning junkie, I sometimes feel as though I don’t have time for any creating. I have to take a step back. I started the year out trying to cut back on the online classes I take and focus on just one and then creating but as the months have rolled on I seem to have broken that resolve- too many classes I don’t want to miss out on. Sadly too many to keep up with but I know I can go back through them. As it is now many if those classes are winding down and I’m finding the resolve not to sign up for too many once again.

    • Dani O. Buckley says:

      I love that line, “learning junkie.” I am such a learning junkie too!! What a great way to put it. I’ve now limited myself to one “course” at a time – whether it’s diving deep into a workbook (next up is Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map) or an online course. This way I’m totally in the moment and actually focusing on that course/project/book, etc.

      I guess with anything, the first step is admitting we have a problem. :) I’m sure we’ll both be able to find that happy balance as long as we’re aware of it.

  6. […] participating in Toastmasters. I feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to consume all of the information I want to consume… it frustrates me sometimes […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *