4 Tips For Making Time For Professional Development
As we mentioned in our prior post on the importance of cloud computing skills, continuous education is vital to your career. It can put you on the top of the promotion list or save your job during a layoff. However, sometimes it’s difficult to find enough time in the day or to know the best course of study for your career aspirations.
Instead of finding excuses for not making time for professional development, use these four tips to make education and learning a priority.
Establish Specific Career Goals
If you don’t have specific career goals, you’ll never recognize the importance professional development plays in helping you reach those goals. Having goals forces you to evaluate your personal and professional choices carefully to determine which fit with your career plans.
It’s easy to avoid commitments when you feel too tired or pressed for time. Making a commitment to professional development shows those around you that you’re serious about your career. When you’re serious about it, so are they.
Identify and Eliminate Obstacles
Professional development obstacles may be small or large. It may be as simple as not being in the mood to read or study. It may be as important as spending time with your family when you get home from work instead of taking part in a webinar.
Look at the obstacles you face. Evaluate how you can work around them. If it’s a time commitment issue, divide your time differently. That half hour you’ve committed to read a professional development book each day doesn’t have to be done when you get home from work and want to spend time with your children. Do it during lunch. If it’s money that’s holding you back, find out if your employer has an educational assistance program.
Rethink why you’re really avoiding pursuing professional development. You may find the obstacle is you.
Devise and Implement an Education Plan
It may take you some time, and that’s okay. Professional development doesn’t have to happen overnight.
As you gain valuable experience on the job, supplement your education by taking a class, listening to a podcast, or reading a book. You don’t need to devote a huge amount of time to professional development.
More importantly, learn when you’re alert. Don’t attempt to squeeze your education in when you’re too tired or unfocused. Learning is about maximizing the time you do have available.
Give Yourself More Time
Most people don’t think they can add more hours to their day. The problem is they haven’t taken the time to figure out how.
If you need to make more time in your very busy schedule:
- Say “no.” Don’t volunteer to take on any more until you’ve finished what’s already on your plate.
- Collaborate. Do you usually handle projects alone? Ask someone else to pitch in and help. You’ll get it done faster.
- Delegate. If you’re not in a position to delegate tasks to another person, you can still ask someone to handle a project for you. Then return the favor at a more convenient time.
Whatever you do, don’t put your career on hold. Making time for professional development means making time for your security management career.