Creating Your Professional Development Timetable
You will want to set aside 2-4 hours for this planning activity. At this point, you will want to create a file (if you haven't already) in Word or an Excel Spreadsheet. If you like there are a Word Template and an Excel template available for this exercise. You will want to create space at least for each of the following time divisions:
- 1 Month
- 3 Months
- 6 Months
- 12 Months
- 2 Years
- 3 Years
- 4 Years
- 5 Years
- 10 Years
- 20 Years
Now, for each of these time divisions, list each of your professional roles and areas of focus. (You may even want to create a timeline including goals for personal development, but that is outside the scope of this article). If you like, you can assign a consistent numbering system for each of your roles/areas of focus. Feel free to break time down further as you need to.
Once you have set up your file, start at the end. Twenty years from now, where do you want to be in each of those areas you've outlined? Can you set 2-3 goals for each area? Great! Now, what actions will be necessary for those goals? Are there any actions towards those goals that you can take today? Are there other things that need to be in place to set those goals? What are they? Move from the furthest time out to the soonest time setting your goals, actions that will need to be taken, and desired outcomes. Decompose each goal into its component actions. Every time you set a goal to happen at a certain point in your life, make note of what will be involved in meeting that goal. Schedule those actions as much as you can. Goals that are closest to now will be the most detailed. Goals that are furthest out will be the most abstract. Everything should connect to your vision statement.
When you are done, you will have created a timetable for professional development. You should have a list of actions that will lead to completed goals that covers the next several years. Right now, before doing anything else, schedule these actions! As you check them off into completion, you will start smelling sweet success.