Thanks to the internet and an entire universe of information always just a click away, it’s never been easier to learn something new every day. In fact, it’s almost overwhelmingly easy! Where do you begin? Here’s a hint: it’s not on some poorly researched “random facts” type site (I spent way too much time unlearning the crap I’ve learned on those clickbait sites).
No, if you want to learn something useful every day, you have to be a bit pickier. Fortunately for you, I’m probably the pickiest person on earth when it comes to where I get my information. Read on for my top 35 ways to learn something real and useful every single day of your life. Then, check out my tips for deciding what types of things you should learn!
Easy Ways to Learn Something New Every Day
When I was little, I used to spend hours leafing through the big set of encyclopedias every day. I started with A and worked my way through, ending with those special supplemental books that they tossed in for free. Now, we have the equivalent of like a billion encyclopedias just a click away.
Whether you have hours to explore new topics or just minutes to quickly learn a random factoid, these 35 ideas will help you learn something new every single day of the rest of your life. Who knows, one day your lust for random knowledge could make you a Jeopardy champion!
Last note- this post does have a couple of affiliate links (basically, just the Amazon recommendations, and I’ll say “blah blah on Amazon” so they’re crystal clear). If you do happen to buy something through them, I earn a small commission. However, for the most part I tried to stick with free ways to learn new things every day (the Amazon recommendations have free trials).
Okay, who’s ready to begin their learning odyssey? Let’s get started!
- Customize your news feed to pull in educational (versus just sensational) stories. For example, my Bing feed pulls in science, technology, and medical studies along with the latest happenings in the world.
- Buy a bunch of Page-a-Day calendars when they go on clearance (which is usually around now). Keep them in your bathroom! 🙂
- Bookmark Brownielocks and learn about a new “holiday” almost every single day of the year!
- Enable Alexa Skills like “One Fact a Day” or “Smarty Fact of the Day.”
- Ask your grandparents to share a story from their youth (and actually listen). I’ve learned so many things this way when mine were still alive.
- On the other end of the age spectrum, ask your kids to teach you a new trend or slang term. That way, you can keep up with the times, too!
- Read the top story on Snopes to learn what “facts” going around Facebook aren’t even remotely true. Hey, what isn’t real is sometimes as important as what is!
- Follow RelativelyRisky on Twitter (@justsaysrisks) to learn what studies REALLY mean when they say “increases your risk of blah blah by a bazillion percent).
RELATIVE RISK INCREASE: 25%
ABSOLUTE RISK INCREASE: ~3%https://t.co/MsUBOt4h7d
— RelativelyRisky (@justsaysrisks) January 15, 2020
- Take the Bing daily trivia quizzes to learn something new AND earn points towards gift cards. You have to sign up for this one if you want the points, but it’s worth it.
- Speaking of Bing, scroll down on their homepage to learn fascinating facts about the picture of the day. No sign up required for this one.
- In the interest of fairness (even though I prefer Bing to Google), hit “I’m feeling lucky” on Google’s search bar, then read the first thing that pops up.
- Choose your favorite search engine and start typing facts about a (or b, c, d, etc). Click on the first one that catches your eye. Either read the little featured box or, even better, scroll down and visit one of the relevant sites.
- Keep a box of Trivial Pursuit cards handy at all time! You don’t even have to play the game. My brother and sister-in-law just grab a stack and take turns reading the questions to each other every night before bed. No pressure, no competition.
- Open up Google Earth and hit the little dice button. It’ll take you to a random destination. Click on the description to learn more. Along with learning something new every day, you just might find your next vacation destination (then again, maybe not, since my random dice trips have taken me straight into volcanoes!)
- Head over to In Different Languages and type in a word – any word will do, then scroll through and learn how to say it in dozens of different languages! If you can’t think of a word off the top of your head, browse alphabetically or check out the most popular searches.
- Record and watch Jeopardy, or watch older episodes on Hulu.
- Subscribe to educational newsletters. NatGeo and Smithsonian are my favorite choices. If you’re signed up for a ton of newsletters through your main email, consider creating an “educational” email account that you use just for your “learn something new every day” goals.
- Take a free course! I just found this site, Coursera, that lets you take actual college course for free (they’re taught by real professors, too). They won’t count towards a degree (you’re basically just auditing the class), but they’re great for expanding your knowledge. Plus, they’ll give you an edge if you do decide to go back to college. I think I may actually take a class and write more about this in a separate post. It’s really quite neat!
- Listen to Podcasts during your commute! Personally, I’m not really into them because I’m not an “audio learner.” I have to see and read things for them to sink in. Still, I have a lot of friends who learn new things from podcasts.
- Another way to learn new things during your commute- audio books! My brother is a lawyer in three states (plus DC), so he does a lot of driving. He listens to audio books pretty much every day. Amazon’s Audible offers a free trial, so maybe check that out?
- Stream an entertaining yet educational nature show! Disney+ has all of their Disneynature movies and a ton of NatGeo shows. Amazon Channels offers free trials of channels like Smithsonian Channel, Curiosity Stream and more.
- Get the NASA app and explore a new part of space every day. Along with educational articles, it has an incredibly gallery full of photos from various missions and telescopes.
- Bookmark DailyArtMagazine and learn about new paintings, museum exhibits and other fascinating facts about art.
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It’s Valentines season, so what better thing to do than to meditate on the things you love, and of course, Venus definitively conquers all at this time of year. Art history’s love of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is a long-term serious relationship but perhaps we can re-ignite your passion for the painting with some intriguing details you probably haven’t considered. 3 Things You Might Not Know About The Birth of Venus 📜 (link in a bio) ✍️ By Isla Phillips 🖼 Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, c. 1484–1486 🏛 @uffizigalleries collection #sandrobotticelli #botticelli #venus #renaissance #renaissanceart
- WolframAlpha is another great education site to bookmark. Either type in a random question for an expert answer or click on one of the categories, then scroll down and randomly choose a common question.
- Learn a new skill that will help you improve your home (and save money on repairs). Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer free workshops throughout the month. Home Depot also has an archive of many of their workshops.
- Bookmark HowStuffWorks and learn things you never even though you wanted to know (like why squirrels “dance” in front of oncoming cars). They have some really fun quizzes, too.
- Most of us survived high school English thanks to CliffNotes (even as an avid reader, there were just some books that I couldn’t get through). It’s not just a “sum up this boring book” site, though. It’s full of guides on just about every topic. Use it to refresh your memory of old high school classes or learn something entirely new.
- Download the PictureThis app, then take a hike (or even just a stroll around your back yard) with your phone. Snap pictures of different plants & trees to find out what they are. They’ll prompt you to sign up for the premium upgrade, but the free version is fine for me (it has ads, but they’re not terribly intrusive). I’ve tried a ton of plant identification apps and this is the only one I like so far.
- Check out the MIT Open Learning Library to access “selected educational content” from MIT’s courses. They also offer some free full online classes, but I like the learning library because it’s not quite so overwhelming.
- Play word games in your head! While you’re not technically learning something new, you’ll dig out some long-forgotten info from the deep recesses of your brain. The letter game is my favorite to play in the car while waiting for Jake at the bus stop. I pick a letter and a topic (ex: songs that start with S) and just name off all the ones I can think of.
- Memorize a new quote every day. My grandfather did this up until the day he passed away. He was terrified of developing dementia and felt that it helped keep his brain sharp.
- Read free educational Kindle books. It’s harder than it used to be to find the freebies, so here’s what I do. Go to Kindle Books section, then scroll down until the topics lists comes up on the left side bar. Choose a category (and a subcategory, if you want), then scroll down past all the recommended books sections until you get to the regular listing. Then, sort by price low to high. Voila, the freebies come up first!
- Learn about the opposition to a cause or ideology that you hold dear. Go into incognito mode on your browser (so they can’t track you), load up your ad blocker (so your visit doesn’t benefit them in any way), and visit a site run by an organization that has drastically different viewpoint than you. When you know how they think, you can do your research ahead of time to blow holes in their argument. 😀 I’m not saying you should start said argument, of course. Just be prepared for it!
- Try a new recipe that originates in a different country. You’ll sharpen your cooking skills AND learn something new about other cultures.
- Question everything! Seriously, the best way to learn something new every day is to question everything you read and search legit resources for facts that either prove or disprove it. Never take anything at face value, especially if you read it on social media! Remember, Facebook flat out admitted that it will allow politicians to lie (as long as those politicians pay to do so, of course).
What Types of Things Should You Learn?
I have two very clear rules when it comes to my daily information download: it has to truly be something new (and not just something new about a topic that I already have a fairly good understanding of) and it has to be something that I’m not expected to learn.
In other words, it can’t be something that a client says, “hey, read this article about the latest Pinterest algorithm.” In that case, I’m both expected to learn it and already have a fairly good understanding of how Pinterest works.
To me, adding on to existing knowledge isn’t the same as learning something totally new. Imagine that you have a goal to try a new food every day. On day one, you eat a banana. On day two, a fried banana. On day three, a baked banana. On day four, you go really crazy and try a banana with peanut butter.
By the end of the week, all you’ve really learned is that you like bananas. You didn’t actually try a new food, you just tried new ways of preparing the same one. So, make it your goal to learn something truly new every day, and something that’s just for you (not part of a work or school assignment).
Beyond that, it’s totally up to you. How much time you spend learning something new is totally up to you as well. I’ve had days where I just learned one new fact while waiting for Jake at the bus stop and days where I spent hours learning about every single English monarch from Alfred the Great to the current Elizabeth.
One last thing: don’t feel like you have to memorize something new every day. That’s not our goal, and besides, despite what the public school system would have you believe, rote memorization is NOT learning.
Even if you promptly forget everything you learned, that information is still floating around in your brain. You never know when it will pop back out! I didn’t even know that I remembered that Alfred the Great was the first king of England until I sat down to write this and needed an example. 😀
- Learn something truly new and not just yet another way to eat the same old banana
- Make it something that you don’t have to learn
- Have fun! Don’t make it about memorization. Act like you’ll never, ever be quizzed on it because chances are you won’t.
I hope this list helps you learn something new everyday! Feel free to share other resources below!