Author: Allison Baldwin, ATD Greater Atlanta President-elect
Mother's Day and Father's Day is around the corner, and parents all over the world are celebrated. If you're a lucky parent, you may get part of the day, or maybe the whole day to relax.
During the other 364 days of the year, you have a million things on your mind, at every moment of the day. And for new parents, re-entering the workforce after maternity or paternity leave can be challenging. At a minimum, we're managing our family, home, and extracurricular activities. For parents who are also career-oriented, how do we squeeze in additional time for our personal development?
We all know the workforce is competitive, and now with more teams working remotely, it's even more important to enhance your skills tool kit and stay connected with your peers and leaders. Spending time focusing and working through activities that build or improve your skillset and capabilities can help you achieve your career goals.
Your goals could include some of the following examples:
- Switching departments or teams
- Earning a certificate, certification, or advanced degree
- Learning a brand new skill
- Leading a project
- Networking and building a support system
But when you're done working, helping the kids with their schoolwork, spending time with your spouse and catching up with other family members and friends, you may feel like there isn't much time left for anything else. Wherever you may be in your personal life or career, here are a few ways to help you find time for your own development:
Block out an hour of your day to work on your development, specifically activities that will help you improve on an area in your role and/or develop a new skill you can use on work-related projects. If you are a direct report, you'll need to communicate your plan with your manager. They can help determine the best way to include time for development into your schedule. If you don't have an hour to spare each day, that's okay! Try to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day. As long as you are proactive and make the effort, that's a huge step!
Join an Association in your field or a non-profit organization. Not only are you giving back to the community, if you choose to volunteer, there are a ton of opportunities for you to stretch yourself and build your portfolio. Plus, volunteering gives you a chance to network with people and build relationships based on topics you're passionate about. What a great way to socialize and have some "Me" time!
Resources and Tools
What if you don't have time for additional tasks at work or for volunteering? There are resources and tools available at your fingertips. Companies like Udemy offer affordable, self-paced courses on a variety of topics. Download apps like SoloLearn or SimpleMind to your phone or tablet, and learn at your leisure. You can also sign up for webinars, listen to podcasts, or read books that focus on your area(s) of interest.
Simply finding the the time to invest in your personal development is possible, you just have to find the method(s) that work best for you. If you're in the Talent & Development field, take a look at the ATD Talent Development Capability Model. It's a great resource to have as you prepare you for your next step in your career.
Happy Mother's Day, and Happy Father's Day, to all of my Talent & Development parents out there!
ATD Greater Atlanta President-elect
Allison has over 10 years of experience in Learning & Development, and started in LMS Administration. She is now an Instructional Designer at the Home Depot and considers herself a life-long learner. She is also the 2021 President-Elect of ATD Greater Atlanta and hopes to encourage others to step out of their comfort zone as they grow in their careers. Allison is a proud wife and mother, Kennesaw State University Alumni, loves cooking and spending time outdoors.