For the next two weeks, the QUT Information Studies Group are taking over the ILN Blog to talk about Professional Development:
It’s true. I’m really far too busy to do anything about my professional development right now. I work a lot. My job is extremely demanding. I have a research project coming to a close. I have a backlog of journal articles to write. I have hundreds of blog posts to grade. My to do list is so long I’ve stopped adding things to it because it’s too overwhelming. My inbox is a disaster zone. I have family commitments that impact on when and where I work, and how long I can work at a stretch. I have a 2.5 hour round trip drive when I go into the office, which is dead time. I rarely have a weekend off work. I moved house three months ago and I still haven’t finished unpacking. I’m doing a major renovation on my house and there are about a million problems to follow up…
I’m really, really busy.
But I bet you are too.
We all are.
A couple of weeks ago I sat in on a class for our Professional Practice unit that was focused on career development. We were talking about having a social media presence, engaging with a personal learning network (PLN), professional development, and how we can find time to put effort into these things. My colleague Kathleen made an important point. Everyone is busy.
Busy, busy, busy.
Busy is the new normal.
And, to quote Kathleen, ‘We just need to suck it up and get on with it’.
Being busy is not an excuse for neglecting professional development.
Kathleen’s comment made me take pause, because I have definitely neglected my professional development (PD) lately because I’ve been busy. Everyone is busy, but we have to make time for professional development. We just have to.
So I’ve decided I need to do something about it. Three things, in fact. I’ve come up with three strategies for getting some PD done:
- Integrate a PD activity into my everyday workflow
- Make use of dead time for PD
- Carve out a chunk of time to do something I’ve been meaning to do
- Integrate a PD activity into my everyday workflow: Get back into Twitter
Over the years I have built a great personal learning network that is primarily situated in Twitter, but for about the last year, I’ve largely been absent in this space. I’ve been busy (there’s that word again!), yes, but if I’m really honest, I’ve also been spending more time on Instagram and YouTube and that’s eaten up my social media time and energy. While Instagram is a site for my PLN, it doesn’t play the same role in my professional development. So I’m committing to getting back into Twitter this month. I’m just going to spend 15 minutes, a couple of times a day, and I’m going to spend some of that time tuning my network for my current interests so that my Twitter feed is highly relevant. I need to get Twitter back into my everyday workflow.
- Make use of dead time for PD: Listen to podcasts on my commute
I’ve recently discovered podcasts as entertainment for my commute but have to confess that I’ve been listening to fun stuff rather than work-related stuff. So I’m going to change that. Specifically, I’m going to listen to research methods and philosophy podcasts to help me learn about the methodology phenomenology and the philosophies that underpin it. Next week I’ve got about 9 hours of driving time that I can use to get some listening done.
- Carve out a chunk of time to do something I’ve been meaning to do: Read a book
I’ve been carrying the book Technology as experience around in my handbag for about the last two months and so far I’ve managed to read about a page and a half. This action will take a bit of a concerted effort to get done. I’m a productivity fiend so I often feel like I’m wasting time when I’m reading because I could be doing something. So I really need to shift my mindset about this. It’ll only take me a few hours to read and I really need to read it to help me develop my thinking about some key concepts related to my research. I just have to make time.
The reality is I’m always going to be busy because I really love my job and I’m always being tempted by shiny new things I could do. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities and I want to do the very best work I can. If I’m always going to be short on time then I need to learn to prioritise PD and find time for it on a regular basis.
What about you? Are you too busy for PD?
- Can you integrate some PD into your everyday workflow?
- Can you make use of dead time for PD?
- Or can you carve out a chunk of time for a PD activity?
I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
– Kate Davis