It’s no secret that the learning and development industry has been rapidly evolving these last few years—take the increased demand for exclusive training adapted to specific employee needs, or for learning accessible from mobile devices and other unique avenues (Association for Talent Development).
It’s never been more important for L&D professionals to engage and grow with the trends; and yet, trends have also shown that L&D professionals spend less time learning than their HR colleagues (2022 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report). Between ballooning workloads, looming deadlines, and increasing pressure to perform, it’s no wonder that many of us just can’t find the time to develop ourselves. How do we make that time when it constantly feels as though we have none to spare?
Rest assured: we’ve compiled a few tips for finding the time and space you need to focus on your personal growth. Let’s check them out!
Tried and True: The Traditional, Yet Still Effective Time-Saving Tips
Prioritization and Delegation
Identifying the importance of each task at hand, and delegating portions of your work across the team is a great start. By determining which tasks truly need your attention, you’ll gain a better understanding of which tasks you can reasonably distribute to others.
Set up a meeting with your team and/or your manager to see how you can shift tasks and priorities based on the growing needs of the company and availability of teammates to assist. Prioritization and delegation is a great way to allow team members and leadership to chime in and contribute to dimensions of a project they’ve never been able to before—this can spark professional development on their part as they learn to tackle new tasks, leading to a much-needed morale boost.
Formalizing Personal Development
Do you suspect you’re putting more time into other commitments than you really need to? That you always end up letting other priorities bleed into “you” time?
Fixing this can be as simple as formalizing your self-development plans. Take a look at your schedule, your calendar, or anything else you use to manage your time; treat your self-development time as a formal task and write it into your plan for the week. Then comes the most important part: following your plan. When it’s time to learn, buckle in.
Time Hacks: Where There’s a Will, There’s Always a Way
You’ve tried the traditional methods, but they haven’t worked out 100%. We understand; the tried and tested won’t fit every circumstance.
So why not try a more unique solution? As busy as your schedule might be, you might still be able to fit personal development into it anyway—even without spending the extra minutes. Let’s look at a few “time hacks” to help you get started.
Lunch and Learns
Lunch and Learn programs are a great way to maximize your time. In short, these programs are designed or facilitated by the organization to provide employees with a learning opportunity—e.g., an educational speaker, a training presentation, etc.—while they’re on their lunch break.
If finding an outside speaker doesn't fit your goals, why not have team members take turns hosting and teaching the skills that they excel at? Does someone do a really great job putting together assessments? Who makes a mean high level outline? This is a great way to increase collaboration and learn new skills throughout your organization.
Sometimes we need an accountability buddy. Think of ways that you can partner with others in your team to make learning a social experience. Maybe it’s an L&D book club or a webinar viewing party with popcorn! If others are involved, you're less likely to cancel or put it off and you're more likely to enjoy it too!
No time to watch or read new material? Try taking a listen. There’s a wealth of podcasts out there from training industry professionals that can make learning new skills easy and entertaining! Podcasts can be great if you want to listen to something while doing simpler tasks at your desk, or even when you’re on the go if you’re commuting or getting ready in the morning.
If all else fails, you might consider…
Reaching Out for Support
We know developing has been getting harder; that sometimes, these deadlines loom too far over us to be ignored.
If you need the time to focus on yourself, but have many projects to keep an eye on, you might consider reaching out for outside help: maybe you have a mentor you feel you can rely on for support, or a vendor who can help ease your workload.
Your outside solution might even be us! As learning and development professionals ourselves, Reflection Software recognizes the importance of giving yourself the time you need to grow—we’d love to share the work with you so you can actualize your self-development.
We hope some of these tips will help you find the time you need to grow! And if you’ve got your own tips and tricks, we’d love to hear them—feel free to leave a comment below.