As entrepreneurs, we never have enough time in the day. With all the unexpected meetings and fires we have to put out, it's extremely hard to find an hour here or there just for us. What's worse is that we usually end up sacrificing time for ourselves because we are focused on our companies. In the long run, this can have extremely damaging effects on our personal growth. How? Because the most successful people take time to learn every day.

The average CEO reads four to five books every single month. How do these chief executives find the time? By utilizing their downtime. By making changes to your relaxation routines, you can replace wasted time with self-growth. Here are some easy ways to get started.

1. Replace the dumb TV shows

Watching dumb TV shows won't help you become a better entrepreneur or leader. You can turn this activity into an opportunity to learn by simply changing what you watch. Here are some options you can replace your TV shows with that will make better use of your time.

A) Stanford University's Entrepreneurship Corner

You can see speakers like Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, speak at Stanford through this online resource. The school brings in all of the top entrepreneurial speakers it can find. The founders of Instagram, Facebook, and Yelp also have given talks. What's great is the fact that Stanford Ecorner puts all its talks on its website. Each speaker takes around 60 minutes, and all the presentations are both inspiring and educational.

B) TED Talks

What's great about TED Talks is the variety of people you can find who speak. For almost any interest you have, you can find a TED Talk that can relate. TED puts its talks online, so you don't have to pay to hear the latest speakers. The talks aren't very long, which is great because you get to skip the fluff and get right down to the point. 

C) Shark Tank

If you have to watch reality TV, at least go with Shark Tank. While at times overdramatic, the show does a great job of teaching what investors look for. Negotiations about equity and valuation are always interesting. Even better, you'll get to hear personal stories and lessons from the investors. And if that's not enough, you'll be able to laugh at some of the crazy ideas that entrepreneurs pitch.

2. Use audiobooks and podcasts while traveling

When you're flying and driving a lot, those are perfect times to catch up on your learning. Turn off the radio and plug in these three resources.

A) Entrepreneur on Fire

Entrepreneur on Fire is an awesome podcast that focuses on inspiring stories from entrepreneurs. You'll learn everything from building your personal brand to budgeting. Another nice part of the podcast is that it's constantly updated, so even if you travel all the time you'll have access to new talks and advice.

B) The Pitch Deck

The Pitch Deck will teach you everything you want to know about the investment game. What's great about this podcast is that it doesn't just take one person's point of view. You get to hear from entrepreneurs, investors, and advisers about how to raise capital. As an entrepreneur, you can use this resource to get in the minds of angel investors and venture capitalists. Definitely something you should plug in on your way to your next pitch contest.


Audible gives you your first audiobook absolutely free--an awesome deal because normally these books would cost $30 or more. What's also great about audiobooks is that they help make time go faster during long drives or plane trips. Once you get hooked on a story, you'll notice a six-hour audio book will make time fly. With a growing selection, Audible has great books on entrepreneurship. If you're thinking about raising capital, I suggest using your free audiobook to get Brad Feld's Venture Deals.

Published on: Oct 24, 2014