As you juggle many priorities that demand your time and energy, both professionally and personally, it may feel impossible to find the time to pursue professional development opportunities. However, making time for professional development can help you advance in your organization, achieve your career goals, expand your skillsets and tackle complex business challenges. Here are three tips from recent Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning participants on how to make time in your busy schedule for professional development.

  1. Start with Self-Paced Learning

    If you’re needing flexibility and the ability to put time aside for learning on your own terms, self-paced online learning is a great place to start. Past participant, Jenny Baumann, who earned her Certificate in Leadership & Management shared, “It’s not a huge time commitment, and it can be done in just a few hours each week. Collaboration and Influence was like that for me. Just start with that smaller commitment, and you may realize that you can find the time for it because you’re going to love it so much. You may then move into other programs that are more scheduled.”

    Read more about Jenny’s professional development journey.

  2. Shift Your Mindset

    If you haven’t made time for professional development in quite some time, you may find yourself feeling stuck or like you’ve plateaued. Past participant, Tracey Sharma, shared about shifting your mindset around professional development and treating it as a form of self-care. Sharma said, “I had not done a single executive training course in eight years, and you come to this point where you need to keep yourself current. I’ve found that if you want to start improving yourself in your professional development, you need to invest that time. It’s also a part of self-care by taking that time to invest in learning, invest in trying something new and putting yourself out there.”

    Read more about how Tracey found time for professional development and our Certificate in Business Strategy.

  3. Practice Open Communication

    Taking time for professional development can impact the schedule of your family members or colleagues. Communicate openly with those people who may be impacted to create a plan. Past participant, Ryan Weigand, was given the opportunity by his organization to pursue our Leading Teams for Growth and Change program and offered this piece of advice – “I have an incredible wife and two little boys, and I was able to make the time for it. If your organization is willing to invest in you, make the time because if you don’t, it’s an opportunity squandered and you’re not going to be able to become that best version of yourself. Another way to think about it is if you’re not willing to invest in yourself then will your organization be willing to invest in you?”

    Read more about how Ryan worked with his organization to make time for professional development.

If you want to pursue professional development, but aren’t sure where to start or what programs would be the best fit for your learning and career goals, complete our interest form to connect with a Learning Solutions Director.