How can I fit in professional development into my busy schedule?
I have been working on a startup on the side and keep thinking that it might be helpful for me to take some business courses, particularly around marketing and product development. However, it is the first thing that I always cut out of my busy schedule. How do others fit in professional development?
Professional development is crucial to staying current but there are other options instead of fitting in entire classes and coursework. Charity work can be business related and experience that can develop skills if you can find one that will let you contribute from your background level needs. Reading lists for current business topics that interest and enrich your personal applications of new business thought and knowledge also are places to invest extra pennies. News items related to your field and expanded interest online can give you some directions to explore. Skill developments and level raising credits build through workshops and seminars or conferences as well. Good luck and expand your horizon for options....
Besides live in class courses many colleges are offering professional development courses on line, so can take the course at home. These same college offer these course in the evenings as well. Finding the time is always the roadblock or so we think. If this startup is important to you - if looking for it to one day be your primary source of income - then you must make the time. When realtors speak to Location, Location, Location....we must speak to Planning, Planning and Planning.
I think you should go for marketing courses if you have time otherwise you can ask any one of your friends to help you specially those who are working in marketing - you can save time & money , you need to be practical to get the work done .
Rob wrong question. The right question is rather how can you not fit professional development into your busy schedule. Your earning ability is based on your ability to get results which is based on your level of knowledge and skills. If you are not growing your core competencies to enable you to take on additional responsibilities resulting in increased results, you are at best standing still at worst dying.
Remember the advice, if you work on your job, you'll make a living. If you work on yourself, you'll make a fortune.
Look at TheAvatarCourse.com. If you'd then like to get 45 minutes free information about it and a taste for it, contact me via LinkedIn or my email there.
Pieter Kark, MD
My education and personal development came from reading books! Sounds a bit old fashioned ... and it works. The book that made it work for me The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It taught me that if I wanted to learn then I made time available. I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal and completed her 12 week course. I followed this with The Artist's Way ay Work and have continued on. You can't make or manage time you can only control what you do with the time. If personal development is important then create time to give yourself a fabulous gift.
Rob, One thing to remember is that EVERYONE has the same number of hours in a day. I automatically schedule periodic blocks of time just to learn more about my business. Another thing to consider is that a lot of professional development is offered online now and is paced so you can begin a course or workshop and finish at your leisure. I would consider setting aside time on a regular basis where you intentionally opt for some professional development activities. The more you learn, the better a business owner you will be.
my recomendation is to either follow an "execution focused" on-line program (personally among the best I rank Thunderbird in Phoenix and Chartered Institue of Markeing in London) so to inoculate them in your spare time agenda, or even more effectively get the help on expert who does not simply provide advice on the decision to be taken, but even explains the background behind them.
I definitely avoid a "self-made" training.
For your reference I've published a couple of presentations that may give you a flavour of may wish to look for.
More than happy to discuss it separately.
All my Best,
Professional development is the first thing that you should add to your schedule.
Evaluate how you spend your time and carve some time for your personal development; as you learn more about what you need to know you will be glad you took the time to take the classes you need. An easy way to go about it, it take on line classes in the convenience of your office or home office.
Marketing and sales is critical to your business. Therefore, your marketing and product development is essential to your business. This means BLOCK out the time in your calendar. Just do it.
Consider one-on-one business coaching. Often times the "Do It Yourself" method are not as successful as one-on-one coaching. This is because the "do it yourself" or self-study method is easily cut out of your schedule. But if you are making a commitment with a business coach or business mentor - you are more likely to take it seriously.
If you decide to take Do It Yourself classes or self-study online courses, make sure you have an study partner or accountability partner. Making commitments to someone other than yourself increases your success of actually blocking that time and investment.
Lastly, if its important to you - it needs to be on the calendar. Block out time to market your business; block time for exercise; block time to business network. Allow your day-to-day activities fill in the rest of the time AROUND the blocked/scheduled time. If you make these things your imperatives - you will have the time. Right now - you are just not blocking the time on the calendar - which allows everything else to take you time.
Try lynda.com. I learned a tremendous amount of practical useable skills for my freelance business while in the shower or driving in the car.
First of all, stop calling it professional development. That makes it sound optional. Sounds to me like this is survival training. Without adequate marketing and innovation skills, you cannot survive, let alone thrive. Even if you are hiring other people to do these things for you, you must know enough to keep them productive and on target.
You prioritize it. You don't need tricks or even a time management guy like me if you acknowledge that If you don't do it/cut it, you don't believe in it enough to need to do it. You want a clear life vision for who you are "developing" into and what does your business really need for that vision, then you can have weighted priorities, and manage your time. Maybe in a year you will ask "How do I fit in other things when I'm so committed to professional development?" Or not, your call.
Blocking out time for professional development is one of the most effective investments you can make. Have you read Stephen R Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"? Here is a link: http://www.summary.com/aw/srcovey?gclid=CJaujqStrMkCFQwlvQod05AEzw The '7th Habit' is 'Sharpening the saw' which is about 'working on yourself'. We all have exactly 24 hours in a day. How we invest those 24 hours is the difference between an average life and an exceptional life.
The only way to get it done is to sign up and pay for each course. Then you will want to get a return on your investment. One of the main reasons that start-up's fail is because the founder(s) typically have little or no business experience or any kind of a business education. Business is about Marketing. That is the first course to take !
Where you focus and how you manage your time are among the most critical skills to success as an entrepreneur.
Your question sounds a little soft. Meaning, what I hear is that you think, maybe these classes might help you make some kind of progress toward your goals but you're not totally sure and then again maybe not.
If it were the case that some specific class or another was going to directly address one of the key issues holding you back, then it would be easy to prioritize it above other opportunities. If, however, it's just one more stab in the dark that's just as good as any other stab in the dark, what difference does it make.
Entrepreneurship is scary and there's almost never a clear path. I get it. But the guiding force is your vision and clarity on where you want to go and what you need to get there. Focus on that and these sorts of decisions should come much more easily.
Hope this helps.
Rob, you are not alone. Way too many entrepreneurs and seasoned business people short change themselves by discounting the curent and future value of professional development. Even large corporations do it! When revenue starts to decline and the bottom line starts to shrink, investment in professional development is the first to go.
The best way to change how you use your time is to understand the value of your time. As a start up, what you know and what you do is what ultimately determines whether you are successful or not. Ask yourself what's really important development-wise. How critical is it that you become knowledgeable and proficient with marketing. The answer is , VERY CRITICAL. Marketing, along with sales, are the only disciplines in business responsible for revenue generation so you need to know this stuff.
Next, look at how you are spending your time currently. If you account for everything you do on a calendar, you will be surprised at how much low level of inconsequential stuff you spend time on. If you want to blend in professional development training without adding more hours to your day, get really clear about what you do and what you will let go.
Third, although courses are fine to take, there are other methods of training and development that may work better for your situation. Do some research to find out what will provide the best training and time commitment for the cost.
Finally, if your intention is to transition your way from a job to your future business, create a plan that helps you stay focused. My son recently opened his own business and so far is doing quite well with it. He spent 18 months preparing so when he left his company, he was in great position to grow the business.
I hope this provides some insight into what you can do to use your time more wisely. If you want a playbook to guide you through this, I wrote one called 'ProFectiveness- The Art of Achieving What's Most Important to You'. http://www.growthsourcecoaching.com/profectiveness-the-art-of-achieving-what-is-most-important-to-you.html
When I started my MBA program I took one Marketing class then two classes. I have continued to take one to three day classes/seminars since graduating with my MBA from USC years ago.
It's one day or one-foot forward. The longest journey starts with the first step. Take it easy but start walking.
Here to help. Happy Thanskgiving.
Do you spend a lot of time in the car? If you do audiobooks are a great way to continue PD whilst on the move. I studied for a diploma in management whilst holding down a full time job and working on a startup on the side. I agreed with myself that the management course was important to me so I made time. I found it useful to plan my schedule a week ahead and built in 30-60 mins 3 or 4 times a week at a time when I could focus 100% on the PD, this tended to be at 9 or 10pm. I'm currently listening to the New Rules of Marketing and PR in the car and can recommend it. Good luck with your studies.
I understand business courses are helpful, but if you find it really difficult to squeeze it in, you might want to look up and bookmark articles for now to read every chance you get, starting with the topics you find most important to you. You can then flick through these articles while you're traveling or waiting for something. It only takes a few minutes, gives you new ideas and makes you a wiser entrepreneur one article at a time.