The busy life of a manager requires sharp organisation, an art you may have perfected. Yet it is inevitable that unplanned tasks will land on your plate, meetings will overrun, and endless emails will need answering. Technology has fed the flames of an ‘always on’ culture, making us available at any time and from any place. And so all too often we find ourselves working around the clock.
As well as being detrimental to our stress levels and our work-life balance, meeting constant demands can be hugely damaging to our career. Working constantly and compulsively allows little to no time for growth or personal advancement – at the cost of your progression and promotion.
So, what is the solution? And how can we value and prioritise time for personal growth when our workloads are so stacked? Here we take a look at some solutions.
Essentially anything that betters an area of your life or expands you counts as growth. Growth is about learning, widening your knowledge, and broadening your understanding. What’s more, it can take many forms.
Simply carving out the time to reflect upon what you have learned from previous projects or recent events can help you to grow. Reflection time teaches valuable lessons and areas for improvement going forward. Growth can also come in the form of professional development classes.
At ILX we offer a vast range of courses to develop professional skills, which are accredited and widely recognised. Embarking on a training course will not only see you gain new knowledge, but also new perspectives and actionables you can implement in your work.
Whether it's developing your skills or expanding your ‘toolkit’, growth can hugely improve your professional life going forward. Take agile training for example. Armed with the knowledge and processes for improved agility, you will be better equipped to adapt and react when things don't go to plan.
Similarly, growth in the form of reflection can improve your practices as you learn not to repeat past mistakes. Only by growing can you successfully progress and gain the know-how for handling challenging situations.
In career terms, continual self-improvement can land you bigger responsibilities as you impress bosses with your newly upgraded skill set. It can improve your success rates going forward, and even land you a promotion. In short, making time for growth can better your career prospects.
For too long career culture has been centred on ‘working hard’, and this typically entails long hours and constant availability. Professionals will work at the cost of their personal lives and sleep. In recent years we have recognised this and great steps have been taken to restore our work-life balance. But we must also give ourselves permission to assign time for growth.
During your working day, when you pick up tasks for others you are prioritising them, be it your staff, your bosses or colleagues. Likewise, when you work lengthy hours you are prioritising the business, the company you work for or the project. When you take time for growth you are prioritising yourself. And the knock on will be that this is beneficial for the company, for your team and the project. You will be bringing a better, upgraded you to the table.
Just as you may practice self-care in your personal life, see growth as your work life ‘you time’ where you nurture yourself. Not only will you gain the feeling of being better equipped with the tools to handle situations going forward. But you will also experience a great feeling of satisfaction, self-worth and achievement.
Key to making time for growth is scheduling it into your working day. Do what works for you. Whether that’s just ten minutes at the start of every day to reflect on the day before, assigning a couple of days to up your skills with a course; or taking an afternoon a week to attend a virtual training session or a networking event.
Whatever it may be, find training that works for you and your schedule. At ILX our e-learning courses are a popular choice as they can be completed at any time. And by being delivered in bitesize chunks, it means you can slot it in and pick it up whenever is convenient for you.
Finally, be sure to block out your calendar and move all your communication platforms offline so that your time for growth is uninterrupted. Try not to reschedule your growth time unless it’s essential as this devalues its importance and can soon become a habit.
No matter what your goals, investing in yourself and carving out time for growth is essential for unlocking your potential. Growth opens powerful opportunities for you and your career, so start prioritising it today!