If you want to make changes to your career, you’re going to need to spend some time on it. Everyone is super busy, and for most of us free time doesn’t suddenly just land in our laps. So, you’ll need to carve out that time. And, just as importantly, you’ll need to protect and use it wisely.
Where to start? Well, some people look at their week ahead on a Monday morning and book time in with themselves. It might be 20 mins a day before work, during lunchtime, or in the evening. Others might opt for a longer chunk of time, perhaps even on the weekend. Booking time is usually the easy bit. Protecting that time and following through on using it for its intended purpose, that takes some discipline. Not the kind required to climb Mt Everest, but the more accessible kind of discipline that most of us probably already apply in other areas of our lives (especially health and well being).
Often, the key is to mentally prioritise the time you’ve set aside. If you don’t mentally prioritise it, it doesn’t really matter what mechanism you put in place. This is relevant not just for taking a career step but for any change. It’s about paying attention to what’s important, not just what’s urgent. And it’s about knowing what’s important to you rather than being at the mercy of everyone else’s urgent. While no one else is going to do it for you, there are some tools that’ll make things easier. An oldie but a goodie is Stephen Covey’s time management matrix, pictured above. So simple and yet so effective at weeding out time wasters, and – more importantly – helping you focus on more important activities, like career management, that contribute to your purpose, goals and values.