How to Create a Learning Plan, Powered by Books, Courses, and Conferences

This post will tell you which courses to take, which conferences and meetups to go, which books to read in order to create a self-directed learning plan and get the maximum value out of them.

First of all, it depends on how much time and space you have in your life.

If you are someone who has other people doing stuff for you, like a CEO with a team or even a solopreneur who has contractors helping her out then you can be easy with your choices.

But if you are in a phase where you do everything yourself, like when you run a one-person company or you are an employee and have your days full of work then only read a book, or take a course when you can implement while you learn. The only exception is when learning is related to a hobby that gives you a sense of balance and enriches your life.

The learning focus can be something you need to do or to build a foundation skill. Like you can join Toastmasters to become a better public speaker which may not be something that you need in your job or business but is a foundation skill. 

Here are some foundational skills and hobbies that you can go after.

Foundational skills

  • Public speaking 
  • Writing
  • Designing
  • Coding


  • Paint
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Mountaineering

Back to how to choose books, courses, and conferences.


Though it has become fashionable to read 1 book a week and the positive impact of reading a lot of books is documented often but 1 book a week is not practical for most people. 1 book a month is. As I shared, pick a book that offers learning that you can implement as you read it. This pertains to non-fiction books only. If you read fiction during your leisure hours then do that as and when you want. 

I have seen implementing even 1 powerful book in your life or business can have a major impact. If you read that kind of book once in a quarter or once a year then also it is enough. Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles’ is one such book. Here are some books entrepreneurs should read.


Courses, where you need to go to a physical space to attend, take both money and time to commute. Good comprehensive online courses call for bigger investments than in a book and the learning may take 10-12 weeks for implementation. So take them when you want to make big changes in your life.

It also makes sense to go for a course only after you have read a book or two on the topic and have done all that you can implement based on your learning from the book/s. A course can help you unstuck. High end online courses and physical courses give the benefit of community and peer to peer interaction and energy that comes with you.

Never buy and think that you can start implementing the learning from an online course at a later date because you may never come back to it unless you schedule implementation. 

Courses are better than books in certain areas where learning is more dynamic like in digital marketing or coding.

Meet Up and Conferences

Early in your career, you should go to a lot of meetups and conferences because you are in a stage of life where you should be exploring different interests and taking more inputs. But as you choose your interests and times comes to synthesize your learning then limit to 1 meet up every month or every 2 months. These may include 1 or 2 top conferences in your industry. 1 or 2 of these can be high quality virtual events.

The key here is that implementation is more important than learning. Otherwise, it is just new information in your head.

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