Lifelong learning, research shows, can make you smarter, richer, and happier. But, let's face it, making time to feed your brain is easier for some folks than others.

For entrepreneurs with growing businesses, parents of young kids, and others with jam-packed schedules, finding the five hours a week to devote to learning recommended by experts can seem impossible. If you're one of the extreme time crunched, should you just throw up your hands and accept your studying days are (at least temporarily) behind you?

Absolutely not, according to a helpful recent Medium post from Artem Zavyalov, co-founder of Highbrow. In it, he rounds up a host of tools that can help even the most over-scheduled squeeze in a little learning (including his own company's, of course).

Being less busy would be best (and science suggests old fashioned in-depth reading provides unique benefits), but if, for the moment, you're time for self development is limited, check out the apps and services Zavyalov recommends. Here's a sampling.

1. Hardbound

"Hardbound provides tiny versions of best selling nonfiction books," explains Zavyalov. New titles arrive weekly and feature illustrations and summaries that make digesting the main points ultra easy.

2. Blinkist

Another take on CliffNotes for adults, "Blinkist offers nonfiction books that are packed into 15 minute lessons," via an app. There's an option to either read or listen to the content. Try it out for free, but then you'll have to pay.

3. Nerdify Bot

Have something more specific to learn? Give Nerdify Bot a try. It's a chatbot that answers specific questions, like definitions or finding equations. "You then have the option of learning more after you have the answer or letting it know that the answer was not quite what you had in mind," adds Zavyalov.

4. Primer

Created by Google, Primer is tailor made for business leaders looking to update their skills. The app "offers small, bite-sized lessons about the subjects that matter most to businesses, like building a website, how customers think, and advertising methods," notes Zavyalov. There are also activities to help you retain and recall what you've learned.

5. Py

This is a great option if you're aiming to learn while you commute, according to Zavyalov. Py is an app with game-like features (you earn points and level up) that offers courses in subjects from programming to graphic design. "You can track your progress through specific lessons and perform various interactive challenges," he writes.

Check out the complete post for a more comprehensive list, including specific tools for computer science and programming.

Published on: May 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of