Development of your own skills and capabilities is an art of self-discipline. Without a schedule and a priority it will not happen. It is also a process of incremental steps to be executed frequently. The suggestion in this area is to set aside 30 minutes per day for your own development executed in 15 or 30 minute blocks.
In your professional life you will find two things to be harder than anything else. The first one is building new business and the second one is developing your on skills and capabilities. Time and proactive efforts is in conflict with daily business pressures and priorities. Motivation and commitment is vital to secure you can execute without risk of the fire drill coming in the way.
Building your own competence is a continouos effort during the year. The best competence will just come with daily doses added on a continuous basis. A high ambition is to invest 30 minutes daily in your own development. 30 minutes every working day is in the region of 100-125 hours per year, or 5-7% of your working time. The value of giving you daily vitamin doses is higher than a weekly or monthly dose of half-day or full-day trainings. With a high ambition you have to find your “dead spots” in your calendar. Use commuting or on business trips moments and use mobile tools rather than stationary.
There is a variety of tools available for your daily vitamin dose. Watch a short webinar at your desk. Listen to an abstract of an audio book on your commute to and from work. View a training video on a new subject ahead of engaging around it for the first time. Read a few blogs on the subject. All these tools fit into 15 or 30 minute sessions. And old school book reading is still useful, both for speed reading and books split into chapters.
About the choice of subjects I suggest you pick one you where you can apply the learning immediately. Just reading give insights on WHAT, but when applied SO WHAT and NOW WHAT does not become a question but rather an immediate outcome.
For additional reading on the subject
- The startup of you [BOOK] – by Reid Hoffman (Co-founder & Chairman of LinkedIn)
- The daily knowledge “vitamin” a development guide – by the US AirForce
- Introduction to Knowledge Management [BLOG] – by University of North Carolina
- Soundview Summary and BizSummaries [BOOK SUMMARIES] – Abstracts of books condensed into 30 min reading or listening.
- Online training videos – by Kahn Academy
With this I hope you have some new ideas as context for your commitment to invest 30 minutes daily. Pick topics that are relevant a given day as well as relevant for your long term development. And make it your routine, your professional life will suffer if you treat this as an ad-hoc activity.