With so many demands on your time, it may seem impossible to carve out time to focus on your own professional development.  However, in today’s competitive workplace, you can’t afford not to maintain your skills. Self-study programs offer an affordable and convenient format that can put development within your reach. By following the tips that follow, you can successfully manage your time and maximize your potential with a self-study program.

Tip 1: Find a Study Space

Identify a space that is compatible with the surroundings YOU need for studying. Whether it is a table at your local library, a coffee shop, or your kitchen, you should use this space consistently to facilitate your transition to study mode.

Tip 2: Establish a Schedule

Prepare a written study schedule comprised of the program’s main elements (chapters, exercises, exams, etc.) and assign due dates to each element to comprise a timeline for program completion.  Plan for the unexpected by incorporating some flexibility in your due dates.

Tip 3: Set SMART Goals

Throughout your study schedule, set periodic SMART goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. Completion of each goal will give you a sense of accomplishment and provide momentum to complete your self-study program.

Tip 4: Evaluate Progress

Monitor progress by checking items off your study schedule to document completion. If you get off schedule, don’t worry.  Simply adjust the schedule and continue on your quest to finish the program.

Tip 5: Reward Yourself

Be sure to reward yourself for meeting milestones in completing your self-study program.  Treat yourself to a movie, an afternoon off, or plan a gathering with friends to celebrate your success.