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8 Ways to Squeeze in Time for Professional Progress

Jessica Thibault   April 14, 2021  

Even with less commute time, there still never seems to be quite enough hours in the workday. However, by incorporating some strategy, you can continue your professional development without too much trouble. After fully embracing the term “maximizing” to describe my life approach, I’ve come up with ways to make time for the important things, including my numerous passions and beloved relationships.

  1. Schedule yourself. Set a pop-up reminder to get yourself to think about or invest in professional development. This could be blocking out 30 minutes once a week for some professional development reading on LinkedIn, a monthly pop-up reminding you to make progress towards your annual goals, or anything in between.
  2. Find an industry-focused email newsletter worth reading, like Michael Smart’s Thursday emails. Start by picking just one that is worthwhile, and don’t be afraid to unsubscribe and try something different if it starts to feel like additional clutter.
  3. Find someone further along in their career who is willing to provide casual mentorship. Now that we’re used to remote meetings, ask about some quick check-in calls before work, over your lunch break, or in the evening, maybe bimonthly or once a quarter. This will keep it from being too cumbersome for either of you.
  4. Listen to industry podcasts or audiobooks on your walks, workouts, drives, or while making meals or folding laundry. Make your chore time extra-productive.
  5. Follow key hashtags or join an industry group on LinkedIn. You’ll stay relatively informed without trying too hard.
  6. Ask someone to keep you accountable. If your former coworker is willing to check in occasionally to see whether you’ve been keeping your list of work wins up-to-date, you’re more likely to do it (and figure out the most painless way for you to maintain the practice.)
  7. Whenever you wrap up a small project, ask for any feedback to make the next project better. Be sure to also share feedback with others to encourage improvement and grow your working relationships.
  8. Volunteer to support a one-time event or for a committee with a minimal time commitment. Choose an event during a time of year that is less busy or a commitment that is infrequent enough to keep it manageable.

I like to pursue many goals at once and have found that with the right planning and reminders, big things are usually more feasible than they sound. If you have any favorite strategies for fitting in professional development or any favorite podcasts or newsletters, please share them. We’ve got this!

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