How to Find Time to Work on your Personal Development

Written by Professional Academy Guest Blogger Nathaniel Scott

All of us strive to better ourselves in life. It’s only natural to feel the need to improve. But let’s be honest - once you’ve got a full-time job and a family, it’s not easy to find time to work on your professional development. And on the other hand, if you let yourself stagnate, becoming an irrelevant part of the workforce is something that can happen. Especially in the fast-paced world of technology, if you don’t constantly learn, you can become obsolete practically overnight. Don’t worry though - we’ve got some advice for you on how to deal with this very issue.

Why is it important to find time to work on your professional development?

As we’ve already mentioned - in today’s world, the job market is changing at a quicker pace than ever before. Basically, there aren’t any concrete rules, and there’s really no job position you can feel completely secure in. And it’s not just a specific job we’re talking about. Today, entire careers experience revolutions in short time spans. Needless to say - in such a global work environment, it’s incredibly important to always be up to date. And while it’s not always easy to find time to work on your professional development, you don’t just need to do this to advance. Today, this is a necessity even if you want to remain where you are.

Of course, if you’ve got a busy life (which most of us do), this is a real difficulty. However, if you learn to be completely methodical, and keep a calm mind at all times, step by step, you’ll realize that taking control of your life isn’t that difficult. Once you start planning out your time more efficiently and predictably, finding time for professional improvement won’t be such a difficult thing.

Set Specific Goals

So, if you want to find time to work on your professional development, the first question is - where to start? Naturally, embarking on a journey of self-improvement is never simple. The beginning is often the most difficult part. However, in this case, the most important thing is having a very clear set of goals. If you’re unsure of what you want from the start, start from a very simple question: why are you doing this? What’s the goal of your professional development? There are probably some kind of skills or knowledge you find lacking and want to improve.

Once you’ve identified these, it’s time to take a look at your calendar. Indeed, it’s a good idea to set a couple of goals for the year ahead, then break them down into chunks. There are some that are long-term, and others that you can achieve in a shorter time span, realizing which is which matters.

See what obstacles you’re facing

Naturally, it’s not all about making a plan to find time to work on your professional development; you also have to stick to it. And let’s be honest, saying that you’re going to take control of your future is much easier than actually doing it. After all, if there wasn’t anything in the way of your goals on a daily basis, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. So, there are some obstacles in your way. That much is clear. But as in all other things in this endeavor, if you want to overcome them, you’ll have to be very analytical.

So, identify these hindrances on the path to learning that you have every day, then proceed to write down strategies to overcome them, individually. For example - if your family requires your attention at the time you want to learn something, explain to them why it’s good that you’re doing this. Communication is key.

Go step by step

Ask yourself for a minute, when you want to learn something new or attain a new skill, what’s the primary thing stopping you? That’s right - time constraints. And let’s face it - you can’t exactly quit your job, or seclude yourself from your friends and family. If you’re thinking about making drastic changes to find time to work on your professional development, trust us, you’re going about it the wrong way. Radical shifts will do your personal life more harm than good, which will affect your professional life as well.

Instead, learn to manage your time in small chunks, and devote those small amounts of free time you have every day to professional improvement. Don’t think that you have to spend a solid two hours learning something at once, that will be difficult to manage. But small, 10-minute chunks are something you can almost always afford. In the end - it’ll add up to the same effect! Sure, at first this will take some getting used to - but as time passes, you’ll handle it almost effortlessly.

Learn while you’ve got energy

One crucial mistake you want to avoid when you find time to work on your professional development is learning after doing everything else. Sure, there are plenty of daily tasks that seem more urgent, but where you can, try to fit in your self-improvement. Because if you always leave your learning for the end of the day, you’ll be far less efficient. Why? Quite simply - because you’ll always be the most tired when you’re doing this. Instead, try to make some time for professional improvement when you’re at your best, while you’re fully energized. That way, you’ll see your career improving at a much faster pace!

About the Author: When Nathaniel Scott isn’t giving career advice to young professionals, he’s focused on analyzing the digital improvements in the moving industry, spearheaded by companies such as Movers Development. In his free time, he enjoys all kinds of winter sports, as well as a good historical novel.