8 Reasons to Make Time for Professional Development

Personal Learning Strategies

If you’re a leader, you know how important it is to ensure your team is given plenty of training and development opportunities. However, it’s just as important to focus on your own learning and development.  Why?
When you make learning a priority, you increase your value – You’re more marketable as a professional, and you’re in a better position to get that promotion or challenging project.  Continuous learning also helps you develop expert power where others are far more willing to respect your opinion and follow your lead.
To do this, it’s essential to set aside enough time…..but how can you make time?

1. Set Learning Goals
Identify your learning objectives, and visualize how these will help you achieve the other professional goals you’ve set. What do you want to get from your learning? And why are you making time to learn?  Break the goals down into chunks that you can add to your daily/weekly to do list.

2. Identify Obstacles
Come up with strategies to overcome obstacles that most likely will come up. Example – you’ve committed to spending half an hour reading a book when you get home. What do you need to plan for to ensure this time is not pushed off?

3. Think Small
Many assume that we’ll need large chunks of time to devote to learning. However, short blocks of time can be just as effective, if you focus.  Look at your To-Do List, and see what you can achieve in the time available.

4. Learn at Your Best
Many people schedule their learning for a time when they’ve completed everything else. However tempting this may be, think about how you feel when you’ve accomplished everything on your to-do list. You’re usually exhausted, right? Everyone has different peaks and valleys in their energy levels. Find yours.

5. Make Learning a Habit
You’ll only be able to sustain your learning if you make it a habit.  Developing any habit takes work, at least 21-days of repetition and self-discipline.  To build a habit, look at your schedule and see how you can work time for learning in every day.

6. Choose the Right Learning Style
Do know how you learn best? Some people learn and retain information best when they can read and take notes. Others are active learners; they need to learn by doing something themselves. Find yours and resources to embrace your style.

7. Collaborate
It’s often easiest to learn in collaboration with others; when you join a community that makes learning a priority, these people can also hold you accountable for your learning goals.  Perhaps colleagues with the same goal of learning?

8. Delegate Tasks
Your day is likely full of tasks that you’re responsible for. So, how are you going to fit learning in?  Is there anything you can delegate with your professional or personal responsibilities?  Even a half hour cleared in your schedule can then be used to work on your learning goals.

Key Points
Lifelong learning is essential if you want to stay “in demand” in a changing business world.  Will you devote the time in the coming year?

Source:  MindTools