Here are a few ways to make sure you spend your time wisely and prioritize your professional development.
It’s easy to start learning a little every day by reading news articles, watching videos, and, of course, reading articles like this. We all know that education is important, but it takes time. We may not have time, or our time may be wasted taking classes that do not teach us anything useful.
It’s hard to find time for yourself when you have long working days. Between your commute, your daily work routine, preparing meals, and catching up with friends and family – finding the right balance is impossible.
It’s so important for professionals to keep growing in knowledge and experience. If we stagnate, there will surely be consequences: We might miss out on the opportunity for greater responsibility or even be passed over for promotion.
In this article, I show you how step-by-step learning can make a difference in your life by following a few steps to maximize your time, regardless of your workload.
Professional development is an investment in your career, and it’s not a luxury but an obligation.
Professional development means taking active steps to improve your skills and knowledge. Taking on the responsibility for your own development can result in a feeling of empowerment and confidence.
Once you level up your expertise and get used to giving insightful, intelligent and valuable contributions, you’ll quickly be seen as someone who is relied on by your boss and colleagues. This new trust will result in increased responsibility, an easier time negotiating contracts and responding to change, and a reputation to uphold.
By developing and utilizing your skills, you’re not just maximizing your current value; you’re also making yourself more valuable in general. What that means is that your skills can always put you upfront for challenging new projects or even a promotion.
Here’s how to create a professional development plan.
It is not easy to learn; many studies online show that many of us spend more than 48 hours a week working, leaving precious little spare time each day.
Professional development doesn’t always fit into a schedule that’s overflowing with work, but you do want to spend your time investing in things that will make a difference. Here are some tips you can follow, and these are just some examples of what you can start doing today.
You need to see the benefits of something before you start, or else you probably won’t continue on your difficult journey.
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1. The learning objectives you create should reflect your strong, personal goal for your education.
With the help of SMART goals, you can set and reach ambitious but achievable targets. Remember from my previous article about the personal SWOT? List the skills and knowledge that you want to attain and work towards them, step-by-step over time.
Developing a clear plan of action or a roadmap will help you to organize your time with more efficiency. And strengthen your self-discipline. You’ll also be able to boost your motivation and see the value of developing your skills. By doing this, we’re confident that you’ll get the most out of your professional development.
“Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you learn per day, and what matters is the discipline to learn a bit regardless of how little you do daily until you develop the habit of self-development.”
2. New obstacles and distractions arise constantly. How can we successfully manage them?
Next, identify the obstacles that might make it hard to stick to your learning schedule. From there, brainstorm different ways that you can deal with each obstacle. Let’s say you plan to spend some time learning during your morning commute. For example, you might take time to learn during your daily commute. But you immediately get distracted by traffic, social media, unwanted negative thoughts, and emails. However, you don’t focus on whatever you’re trying to learn because of messages and emails – before you know it, it completely slips your mind.
Planning an hour of uninterrupted learning time each morning during your commute will give you a chance to take your education to the next level. If you sign a contract saying that will be the only thing you do for a set amount of time before starting work, it’ll increase your focus and productivity.
“This approach has helped me so much personally, and as a result, I read more now than I did in previous years.”
3. Don’t Forget to Learn
Establish a routine that encourages learning and good morning habits, and you’ll be more likely to make positive lasting changes. Define a clearly defined and well-thought-out goal, then take the needed steps to make it a reality.
To incorporate learning into your daily routine, start by making a commitment to yourself and sticking with it. Schedule a time each day for learning, no matter how little time that may be!
To become better, you might want to start practicing in the morning before work. Or find a specific time of day when you study.
4. No matter what you decide to do, make sure it’s a habit. Be clear on the details, where, what, and how much.
Any business owner knows that setting boundaries is crucial to their success, which is why it should be the first thing you do. It can be tough to fully focus when there are other people constantly asking for your attention. They may not realize that you’re trying to change gears and spend a little time on work, so they never let up. Saying “no” is hard when it feels like you’re being meddled with. Let’s say your colleague asks you to take on one more project—there are a few ways to do this:
1) Say “no.” This can be worded in an assertive way to protect your valuable learning time.
2) Explain to your colleague that you need some time to do something by yourself, and ask that they respect your time alone.
“Personally, I have known and seen managers who take pride in and enjoy assisting their subordinates in devoting time to self-development. Don’t be afraid to inform your manager about your personal development.”
5. Many people assume that learning something new requires a lot of time. But short blocks can be just as effective—as long as you’re focused! Set realistic goals so that you can meet your to-do list and get the most out of your workday. Just make sure you prioritize what you need to get accomplished today and keep in mind how much time you have before today’s deadlines! Put your phone in DND, and these days you can customize your iPhone to learning mode, limiting unnecessary distractions to maximize your learning time.
“Brainstorming and speedreading are my favourite techniques here when I have very little time to devote to my learning.” I’ve used speed reading in the past to let a book I’m reading but struggling to finish.”
6. Learn at Your Best
You might be tempted to work on your professional development after you’ve checked everything off your to-do list. But before you start working on your assignments or studying for an exam, think about how you felt at the end of the day when you’re tired. Compare that to how you feel during the day when your energy levels are at the top and you’re able to maintain focus. For example, you may feel much more energized in the morning than after lunch.
“Perhaps you can rearrange some of your routines; for example, if you exercise in the morning and spend most of the day reading, try reading in the morning and exercising after work. I have recommended this to some of my mentees who enjoyed learning but didn’t have time to do so much. They told me they were often too tired after a full day at work to do anything.”
7. Use your strengths to constantly learn.
People learn in different ways. Some prefer to read and take notes, while others prefer a hands-on approach. When you identify your own learning style, you’ll be able to learn more efficiently. If you find textbooks hard to go through, for example, maybe sitting down with a YouTube video would work better!
Just remember that different forms of learning may suit different people, so it’s worth experimenting and finding what’s best for you in each situation. If you work for an organization that has a learning and development function, such as my current employer. If you are unsure about your learning style, your LD personnel can assist you.
8. Collaborate with Others
Taking part in a study group can be a beneficial learning experience. Having others there to support you, provide advice, and make sure you stay motivated is essential. Plus, having a mentor or coach can greatly impact your motivation level and help you stay on track with your education goals.
One easy way to keep learning is to form a learning club with your colleagues. You could also spend time reading together and learning from each other. Apart from mentors in your workplace, you can find an effective online course in any industry on social media sites like LinkedIn. Social Media is also a goldmine for getting access to expert knowledge.
Your employer has a stake in your professional development and may choose to provide funding for training if it will benefit the company. Investing in professional development is a great way to constantly grow and improve as a professional. Regardless of what stage you’re at, it can help to make you more valuable, accomplish anything that’s given to you, or elevate your value.
Determining how you want to invest in your professional development can be difficult, especially when you don’t know what your working style is.
“I tried the learning club, and it was a big success at first until covid arrived. I remember colleagues sharing their learning styles, how they got specific knowledge, and which learning style they used.”
Learning is key to success, and I hope you find value in my insights above, let me know what you think via a comment.