Making time for professional development is essential to support your long-term success. This can be a daunting task for many of us, as the modern professional world is undoubtedly a busy one. There’s always something that needs doing, and when you add all of the responsibilities from your personal life on top of that, it seems like there’s almost no time left.
Keep reading to get a better understanding of what professional development is, why it’s so important, and how to prioritize it even with a busy schedule.
What Exactly Is Professional Development?
Professional development is all about making yourself more marketable and valuable in the working world by learning new skills and expanding your knowledge. Not only does this make you more equipped to handle whatever your job throws at you, but it also makes you more confident and self-assured in the face of challenges and change.
What’s the Point?
Prioritizing professional development can increase your market value, get you noticed by managers, and help you move forward in your career. Don’t tell your current team lead, but taking ownership of your own professional development and fortifying your skillset can also make you a better candidate for other positions within your industry and give you more of a safety net if you decide to make a career change.
How to Make Time & Prioritize Professional Development
If you want to start your journey of professional development but don’t know where to start, here are a few steps you should take:
If you don’t know what you’re working towards, it’s hard to get anything done. Start by making a list of some attainable goals that will make you a more well-rounded professional. This could be anything from learning a new coding language to refreshing your digital marketing knowledge with courses and training programs. Once you have a list of goals, you can make plans regarding the specific skills you’ll have to learn.
Identify Obstacles and Intercept Excuses
Once you know how you want to develop yourself professionally, you need to be proactive about identifying the things standing in your way. We all make excuses in life, and that’s okay sometimes, but we can’t let excuses prevent us from growing as people and professionals.
Make a list of things that might act as distractions or roadblocks as you try to reach your goals. This might include things like lack of time, lack of energy after completing other tasks, issues finding proper resources, etc.
As you make this list, think of ways to combat these obstacles (like delegating small tasks or watching training videos during your daily cardio session at the gym) so that you have an actionable plan the first time you face them.
Create a Workable Routine
Routines aren’t the most exciting part of life, but they’re effective. If you create a plan and make a contract with yourself to stick to it, you’ll be amazed by how much progress you can make in a short period of time.
Different people will have different routines—hence the “workable” part of this step. For example, one person might want to dedicate 15 minutes after work every day to go through some marketing training modules or do independent research on coding HTML and CSS. This might be ineffective for someone that has to log off immediately and rush to pick up their children.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where or when you take time for your professional development as long as it’s sustainable for you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Include Others
Bringing co-workers along on your professional development journey can give you a great outlet for collaboration. You can brainstorm with colleagues about different kinds of skills you want to learn and the best resources to use.
It can also hold you accountable just like a weekly book club meeting or a gym partner holds you accountable. Having other people in the same boat as you can give you the motivation to stick to your routine.
The Bottom Line..
Your life is busy, which is why you have to consciously make time for professional development. Prioritizing professional development can greatly pay off in the long run and give you both a boost in your career and your confidence.