How To Handle a Learning Curve

A career change forces you to become familiar with feeling uncomfortable. You must put away many of the practices you’re accustomed to and learn new ones. Sometimes you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of new information and being able to handle a learning curve is tricky. You’ll get frustrated with yourself, but have patience! Good business practices come with time.

Sharp Learning Curves Ahead

Whether it’s a new tool or a new skill, you’ll need to give yourself time to adjust. You may have several clients at once and their expectations of you may vary widely. Dedicate some time to ascertain exactly what each client expects from you. Know that your current skills may not suffice, especially if you’re transitioning into a new field. Build in time for learning and training in the new techniques you’ll need.

Checklists: Key to Handle A Learning Curve

Resist the urge to panic when you see how far you need to go. You may need to learn an enormous number of new skills, but you can only learn them one at a time. Make a checklist of what you need to learn, and in what order. For example, in my brief time so far as a freelancer, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the tide of new software and new coding techniques introduced to me. But thankfully, due to online courses and an extremely helpful mentor, I’ve been able to handle increasingly complex tasks.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Are you challenged to use new skills every day? Good. Do you experience frustration regularly? Believe it or not, this is also good news! Frustration is learning. With practice, each frustrating task will transform into part of your routine. What was once a source of confusion will reveal its mysteries and you’ll master it. Keep practicing and don’t quit!

If your new position doesn’t allow time for training during work hours, make use of your free time. Sure, it eats into your Real Housewives and Top Chef time, but it’s worthwhile, trust me. Those tutorials and online classes will go a long way toward helping you handle a learning curve that seems steep. But remember to save time for relaxation.

handle a learning curve

Rest Your Brain

Get your work done, but remember to rest every once in a while. I make a personal goal to rest every weekend. I completely unplug and don’t look at anything work related for one entire day. It’s tremendously helpful for my mental health and something that I always make room for every week. Don’t forget about your sleep schedule, either. Sleep is crucial for retaining the things you’ve learned throughout the day; it builds and reinforces neural paths. If you expect to grow and learn professionally, you must take care of all aspects of your health and not overtax your system.

With time, you will improve; you may not even notice it happening, but one day, you’ll look back on your career path and see your growth laid out behind you like the wake of a boat. You can learn to handle a learning curve, steep though it may seem at first. Recognize your weak points, take charge of your learning, make a sequential checklist, and remember to rest!


Jillian is a former Spanish teacher, current freelance editor, writer, and web developer. She is also an armchair film critic, food blogger, amateur philosopher, and cat enthusiast. After a life of working for other people, she decided to follow a long-time dream and pursue a freelance career. She is excited to share her experiences in starting a freelance business with Boss Babe readers, both her successes and failures, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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