How to Schedule Professional Development Into Your Work Day

Professional Development

I recently started a 3 week Marketing Writing Bootcamp with Marketing Profs. This course is a combination of live webinars and video that you can review on your own time. The beauty of this model is that you can work the course material into your daily schedule.

As the course runs every day, I figured that I would schedule about an hour every day to make sure I kept up with the course material. This got me thinking about when the most effective time is to fit professional development into your work day.

For most office bound people, either the beginning or the end of the day makes the most sense; however, both have pros and cons. If you schedule professional development early in the morning, the pro is that you get a boost of inspiration and ideas before you even start your work day. The drawback here is that it’s easy to skip your allocated professional development time if something comes up in the morning or if you have a critical deadline to meet.

The afternoon can be better because generally, most important tasks can be taken care of first thing in the morning which leaves the afternoon free for project work.  The drawback with the afternoon is that by 3:00pm, most people hit that brick wall and their energy level dips. Fatigue and  lack of concentration make a bad combination when you are trying to learn new concepts.

The backup plan can be to try to use the evenings for studying; however, I’ve found that no matter how good your intentions are, it’s pretty difficult to try to do course work in the evening after a full day. Social plans and life stuff gets in the way and by 6:00pm, professional development is probably the last thing on your mind. That being said, some people are night owls and find that the evening is the best time to focus and absorb course material.

So when is the best time to get your professional development done?

There really is no ideal time to fit professional development in your work day. It really depends on your own style of learning and your energy level throughout the day. I’d recommend, trying to get it done first thing in the morning before your day catches up with you is probably the best way to go. That way, it’s done and you feel like you’ve tackled a major task even before your formal work day even begins. In the morning, your energy level and focus are at its highest which gives you the best opportunity to absorb new information and concepts.

What do you think is the best time to schedule professional development?

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  1. For me, it has to be either first thing in the morning or right before lunch. The morning is great because as you said, it’s a great and inspirational way to start the day. The other option, before lunch, gives you the first few hours of your day to get important work projects out of the way and then focus on learning knowing that at the end you get to treat yourself with a lunch break! Personally, my energy levels hit rock bottom in the afternoon. And although I have lots of energy in the evening, I find that a key time to catch up on life and personal hobbies/commitments that normally get put on hold because of work.

    1. Great ideas Alicia. Right before lunch is a good time to get in some professional development time because you don’t feel guilty if you have a deadline plus you get to take a break after!

  2. For me anything that delays putting the gogglebox on in the evening is a good thing. This way you can develop the habit of watching less TV and getting something useful done at the same time. Morning I find is best used for practises such as exercise and meditation and/or some light reading (of your blog for example)

    1. Good point about TV Paul! The TED Talks are a great alternative to TV if you want to unwind but also get something educational out of it. I find that meditation first thing in the morning is fantastic for building a foundation for a productive day!

  3. Actually though, on reflection of what I just posted, cpd is a work thing and should be kept there. Might as well get paid to for it!

    1. Yes, I agree. Especially if work is paying for the professional development then using company time to upgrade your skills makes sense.

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