The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

How can I fit in professional development into my busy schedule?

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of TimePeace: Making peace with time – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies. I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff.  I have a knack for taking big ideas and converting them into smart, sound, and actionable ideas.

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Today’s comment came from a busy professional and an entrepreneur:

How can I fit in professional development into my busy schedule?

I have been working on a startup on the side and keep thinking that it might be helpful for me to take some business courses, particularly around marketing and product development. However, it is the first thing that I always cut out of my busy schedule. How do others fit in professional development?

Block the time in your calendar

Marketing and sales is critical to your business. Therefore, your marketing and product development is essential to your business. This means BLOCK out the time in your calendar. Just do it.

As with life in general, if it’s important to you – it needs to be on the calendar. Block out time to market your business; block time for exercise; block time to business network, block time for professional development.

Allow your day-to-day activities fill in the rest of the time AROUND the blocked/scheduled time. If you make these things your imperatives – you will have the time. Right now – you are just not blocking the time on the calendar – which allows everything else to take your attention.

Put skin in the game

Don’t waste your time on Free-Webinars and training. The adage “You Get What You Pay For” is true for a number of reasons. People don’t get much benefit from the “free” offerings for several reasons.

  • People often do not put in the proper time and effort on “free” training. When they miss the class or do not do the homework, they feel they are not “wasting” any money. In truth, they are wasting time and postponing the cure at the same time.
  • People don’t value the training because it’s “free”. Since they don’t value it, they don’t put in the time. Since they don’t put in the time, they don’t get properly trained. Because they don’t get properly trained, they report that the training doesn’t work. And therefore, they end up not valuing the training.
  • There is no “visible” consequence for skipping “free” or inexpensive classes.

If this is important to you, spend the money on certified and official classes. When you have skin in the game, you will take it more seriously and schedule the proper time to accomplish it. When you have consequences to your actions, you are more deliberate and mindful of your next steps.

Find an Accountability Partner

Whether you take online/elearning courses, Do It Yourself programs, group workshops or one-on-one training, set up for success by finding an accountability partner. We actually achieve and accomplish our goals better when we make an external commitment. Tell someone about your classes, your goals and your time-frame. Ask them to be your accountability partner to help you accomplish your goals in a timely fashion.  Setup the time to meet with your partner and review your progress.


Making commitments to someone other than yourself increases your success of actually blocking that time and investment.

Have a project

Make sure you have an immediate project that makes use of the training that you are studying. The biggest waste of money and time is to take a class and then do nothing with the learning. Line up a project that immediately incorporates your study materials. If it’s not provided by your current employer – create your own project. Make use of your new skills immediately.

Want it faster? Consider one-on-one business coaching

“Do It Yourself” methods are not as successful as one-on-one coaching. This is because the “do it yourself” or self-study method is easily cut out of your schedule. But if you are making a commitment with a business coach or business mentor – you are more likely to take it seriously.

When you miss a session or appointment, you are still charged for the time. Therefore, you have more skin in the game, you have a reasonable forcing function to accomplish the goals and you have a professional accountability partner.


Your business coach will also streamline your training to fit your specific business, work environment and business vision. This will save you much time. You will only be covering the items specific and critical to your unique situation. Your business coach will also make recommendations on which tasks you should learn and which tasks you should delegate/outsource.

Although on the surface, individual business coaching seems more expensive, it is more economical, quicker and more successful than the “Do It Yourself” route.
If you decide to take Do It Yourself classes or self-study online courses, make sure you have a study partner or accountability partner.


If you need additional help on this topic, please contact

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally. It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link



About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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