In the rapidly changing business world continual learning is very important for every individual. Being a lifelong learner allows you to develop your knowledge and skills, thus enhancing your value. However, despite the benefits it offers, many people feel that they don’t have time for learning. So how can you make time for professional development?
1. Set learning objectives
If you don’t have any specific objectives for your professional development, you are likely to give up, and motivation or energy will go down. Therefore, you need to decide what you want achieve from your learning. For instance, if your goal is to be the CEO of your organization in seven years, you will have the motivation to keep learning. Remember to break your long-term goals into shorter term goals. Keep visualizing how your life will improve as a result of your learning activities.
2. Identify obstacles
After setting your goals, take time to identify hindrances that would interfere with your learning schedule, and find ways of overcoming them. For example, you might commit yourself to attending a class every Friday evening. One likely hindrance is invitations to parties and events from your friends. To overcome this, it would be advisable to inform your friends in advance about your commitment. This way, they are less likely to interfere with your schedule.
3. Learn at your best
Effective learning calls for an open and fresh mind. Therefore, be sure to schedule your learning activities for a time of the day when your energy levels are high. If you are a morning person, trying to learn in the evening when you are exhausted could be counter-productive.
4. Think small
Many people think that they have to commit huge chunks of time to learning. This is not necessarily true. If used properly, shorter time durations can also be very effective. To learn effectively, all you need to do is make most of the time you have available. Minimize distractions and focus on what you are learning or reading. Techniques such as mind mapping and speed reading can come in handy when it comes to maximizing on your learning time. In addition, there are many mobile apps out there that can help you learn when on the move.
Learning is much more effective when done in collaboration with others. Being part of a community ensures that you have people around you that can offer much needed advice or help. In addition, you can be held accountable for your learning objectives. Besides attending doing a course or joining a class, you could also interact with other professionals in your industry via online platforms.
6. Make learning a habit
Developing any habit requires lots of self-discipline and hard work. Examine your schedule and figure out how you can create time for learning on a daily basis. Could you study late at night or wake up earlier? Remember to take into consideration your peak hours as mentioned earlier. Next, decide how much time you will spend learning. This could be as little as 20 minutes on a daily basis. Think of how you can reward yourself while pursuing your goals. For instance, after successfully sticking to your goals for one month, you could buy yourself that shoe you have always wanted. After several weeks, take time to assess your progress and make necessary adjustments.
Everyone, regardless of their schedule, can make time for professional development. Applying the above tips will make lifelong learning much easier.
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