Here I am T-minus 5 hours until my first final exam in law school. The last time I had a final exam was almost a few decades ago, so it’s hard to really feel overly prepared for such a thing – especially when the final exam is the only grade I will get in an entire course.

Which makes me think about Examhow often we really put ourselves under this much pressure to learn something, apply something, or frankly, even think about something. Jim Smelley has posted a few blogs recently about getting out of the office to avoid the back-to-back meeting treadmill that often keeps many of us from taking the time to learn and think about the important things in our work. That is especially true for folks in such a fast moving area as technology.

I often take the time to read 3 or 4 different news sites each day ranging from political to technological to cultural. I must admit, some of it is purely because I enjoy it. But also, it really helps to put things into a broader context.

For example, I was recently giving advice on what I think is going to happen in the marketing space with such great acceleration in mobile, social, and big data technologies. While I do believe that we will see some really great strides there, we also have to be mindful that there are cultural and political angles to what may happen. People are wary of being tracked online as recent NSA probes have been revealed. Additionally, many people consider things like social networking to be private – regardless of what the law says or what the “terms of condition” say. Organizations need to be careful not only about how far they can push the technology, but they also need to balance out potential backlash implications. Are we really ready?

If you don’t have the desire to read through several different websites or papers each day, I do at least recommend setting up Google alerts. They are a great tool for helping to bring relevant articles or happenings to your attention (click here to learn about them and set them up). You can set them to arrive weekly so that you aren’t overwhelmed.

Finally, I leave you with a few questions. Have you really taken the time to remain vigilant in learning? Do you put time aside each day or each week to read and discover? Do you take the time to question conventional wisdom? Would you be prepared for an exam focused on your responsibilities?