Labor Day weekend in the United States has come and gone. Now is the time many learning and development professionals begin making the shift back to full time work. With overflowing inboxes, looming project deadlines, and the holiday season slinking in, how do you fall back into your professional development journey?
We polled the InSync Training team, to understand the ways learning professionals can incorporate year-end professional development into an already busy autumn. They've got some great tips for you.
- Pick a start date for year-end professional development. Competing priorities make it easy to lump professional development in the category of things you, “just don’t have time for.” Avoid this self-defeating behavior by creating a plan. The first step in your virtual learning journey is to get started. Vickie H. shares, “I like to use specific instances to regroup and restart. For example, diets tend to start on Monday and New Year’s Resolutions begin on the first of January. Turning back the clock when Daylight Savings Time ends could be a timestamp to regroup and start planning your professional development through the New Year.” Look at your calendar and pick a day to begin your skill-building. Put it on your calendar and stick to it.
- Review and revise your goals. Once you have chosen a start date, you need to understand and plan where you want to go. Personal learning journeys include learning objectives where you get to select the goals. InSync President Jennifer H. urges everyone to, “Revisit your learning priorities for the year. The goals you set in January may have changed based on your interests, professional responsibilities or trending industry topics. It’s okay to update your priorities based on need.” A start and end point can help empower you to stick to your professional development plans.
- Change your mindset. Sometimes, we may have a narrow view of what constitutes up-skilling: long-term practice and deep dives into content. A fixed mindset makes it easy to come up with excuses for why personal professional development doesn’t fit into our schedules. Referring to a popular instructional design approach might help you adjust to a growth mindset, which may make learning more manageable. For instance, Cathy S., chooses to “Do many easy things that can be finished in five minutes or less. It helps me feel productive. If I do 10 easy things, I feel great, and can tackle some bigger projects.” Sure sounds a lot like microlearning, doesn't it? By reading a single article, or watching a short video, or reviewing an infographic, you can learn something new fairly quickly. Breaking up single objectives into multiple components can make your personal learning journey easier to mentally manage.
- Use time off to your advantage. The end of summer doesn’t mark the end of available time off. In fact, between federal holidays and observed holidays like Thanksgiving, most of us have some free time in Q4. Michele S. likes to “Save professional development for when I’m on vacation, as it's practically the only time to read is when I am away from the office. I always pack a book for work-related learning to read on the plane or during some downtime.” Thanks to Amazon, digital downloads, infographics and podcasts, you can make time for mobile learning .
These suggestions offer a strong starting point and direction for finding a year-end learning routine. Find flexible ways to add learning to your day-to-day routine, and you will end the year on a high note. Keep that momentum going and you'll be ready to start planning your 2023 professional development journey.