13 Proven Ways to Get More Out of Your Professional Development
Are you spending too much time on professional development? Employees need to keep up with the latest trends in their field, but if you are spending all of your time learning new skills and forgetting about what is most important- that is, your job!
This blog post will show you 13 ways to get more out of your professional development. We’ll help you figure out how often it’s necessary to take a course or read an article, provide resources for finding free courses online, and even tell you some tips for getting through those pesky long seminars.
1. Make a list of your goals.
Include information about what you hope to achieve from your training, and why. If there is a milestone coming up shortly (e.g., an upcoming project) list it as one of your goals!
Make plans for how often you will be taking courses or reading articles based on these goals- perhaps monthly? This way, if something comes up and interrupts those plans, at least you’re not falling behind right away! Plus, setting specific time frames ensures that this personal development doesn’t become too much like work itself. You want to keep things fun and interesting!
2. Track your progress.
Make a chart to track your progress. Maybe you will make one for each goal, or maybe it’ll be simpler to keep everything in the same place! Either way, this is an easy tool that can help you stay on top of what skills are coming along well and which ones need more attention. Plus, if you’re using free resources like eBooks, articles, or online videos there’s no harm done- just pick up where you left off next time!
3. Set up a “to-do” list for the week ahead.
Include the skills you want to work on in your “to-do” list. You can add a reminder for each skill, and then mark it off when you have completed that task! This is great because if there’s something more interesting going on at work or even just a different way of learning something that works better for you, then all you need to do is move that item from your weekly chart into another one where it makes sense. It’ll be easy to stay focused while making sure nothing falls through the cracks.
4. Keep track of what you’re reading and take notes on it.
This is a helpful one to make use of those free resources. If you’re not spending money on some new course, why not take notes from something that’s already out there? A good way to do this is by saving articles and eBooks in your “Read Later” service- Evernote or Pocket are both great options! You can then go back later with the full list of things you’ve read for reference when going through them again before taking another professional development course.
5. Find someone to share ideas with, either in person or online.
This is another great way to save time in your training! You can have an idea that you think would be perfect for a future project at work, but then forget about it when something else comes up. By sharing ideas with others, not only will you get credit for good thinking on the job once projects start coming along again- but also potentially gain some company recognition if other people decide to adopt those same skills into their workflow and turn them into something amazing!
6. Learn about different cultures by reading books written by people from other countries.
This is an effective way to learn about different people. One thing that can be helpful in the workplace is being able to understand how other cultures work, their values, and what motivates them. Learning this way requires no extra time or energy- just some interest! Plus, it’s a great place for diverse hiring managers to start when considering potential candidates because they’ll already have read something by someone from another culture which could give them unique insight into problems at home.
7. Spend a little time every day practicing the skills you want to learn.
After all, practice makes perfect! You might not feel like your new skill is coming along as fast as you’d hope if this isn’t happening- but that’s why it’s important to make sure they’re being practiced instead of just talked about. If you have some free time at home after dinner or before bed, try studying up for half an hour and seeing how much further ahead in your coursework you are compared to where you were last week! Even spending just five minutes out of each day can add up over weeks and months so don’t skimp on them because life gets busy later down the line.
8. Take a break from internet distractions and instead, study up on your skillset.
Maybe you work best with some background noise to drown out the rest of life’s little details- but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you should be focusing more intently than others! By taking an hour or two each day for yourself where all you do is learn about new skills, it’ll make sure nothing falls through the cracks while still maintaining enough time in between courses to relax. Plus, if any social media notifications pop up during this time they won’t take as much willpower to ignore because who wants someone else holding them back? It may not seem like the most fun way to spend spare time at first- but imagine how good it’ll feel after you’ve finished your certification and get to show off all of these new skills you learned!
9. See if any local events are going on at your community center where you can practice what you’ve learned.
These don’t have to be big or expensive! There may just be a few sessions at the library that cover how to use different software packages, for example. This is great because it’ll give you something fun and social to do while also practicing- making sure nothing falls through the cracks in these stressful times of change in education. Plus if anyone asks about why you’re there instead of another activity (like classes) they might take interest and learn with you next time around!
10. Make sure to take care of yourself during this time.
It’s so easy to get stressed about finding the right job or certification for your schedule, especially if you’ve been off track with any skills in a while! But don’t forget that taking breaks is just as important- some research even shows that training can be more effective when combined with a regular walk outdoors! Just make sure not to go too far from home because then it’ll feel like two workouts instead of one! There are also plenty of other ways to relax after all those late nights studying hard- many people find drawing an excellent way to unwind and clear their mind before bedtime, which is why coloring books have become such a hit recently. Don’t worry about falling behind on trends though- what matters is that you find the way to relax which works for you, no matter how out of date it might be.
11. If you’re struggling to find the time for professional development, try changing your schedule around a bit.
If it’s not working with your life right now because of work or family commitments keeping you too busy, then there are many other options available! For example, if taking evening classes isn’t an option but spending every Saturday in class sounds like torture- how about alternating between them both? That way each week during the semester has two days dedicated instead of just one which will make sure nothing falls through the cracks and that all skills get practiced equally! The same goes for trying out any new hobbies. If going straight from work into cooking lessons doesn’t seem doable at first glance, maybe start by watching some online before heading over so you’ll still get to enjoy the class but don’t have to try and practice anything new afterward. Just remember that when it comes down to it, no matter what you do or how much time you spend- if your goal is professional development then nothing should fall through the cracks!
12. Remember that professional development doesn’t always mean you have to take classes or go back to school.
There are plenty of other ways to practice skills related to your job, which can be just as helpful in the long run! For example, if taking an evening class is too expensive but reading articles online about new technology tools isn’t- there’s no reason not to try it out for yourself! It might feel strange at first since most people don’t think of themselves as tech-savvy even though they’re working with computers all day every day- so why bother? But what matters more than being scared by how much there is out there is having fun trying something new and challenging yourself along the way. Plus these days everyone knows everything eventually becomes outdated anyway, so what’s the problem with trying to keep up?
13. The most important thing to remember is that professional development isn’t just about learning new skills.
It’s also about having fun and staying motivated! After all, you might be able to learn how to use the latest software package better than anyone else- but if you don’t enjoy it then what does it matter? Make sure your schedule includes time for both work and play (even if they overlap sometimes) because working hard doesn’t mean forgetting about enjoying yourself along the way. Plus this will ensure nothing falls through the cracks in these stressful times of change in education where every skill counts! Just make sure not to go too far from home though- otherwise, things might get confusing instead of relaxing like they’re supposed to after a long day at work or class.
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