Here at The Everymom, we believe you can have it all. The key to having it all? Prioritizing your time. With some effort, you can prioritize quality time with your family while still furthering your career.
When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I had no choice but to get my work done in the time allotted to me, so I created strategies to get my job done. This included making time for professional development. I became meticulous with my calendar and found ways to further my career without giving up precious time with my son. I attended networking events during lunch. I used work trips as an opportunity to grow connections. I consumed content whenever I could, and I redefined how I used my time.
Here’s how to make time for professional development as a mom:
Identify your goals
Working moms are pulled in several directions every single day. Before you start your career development process, you need to identify your focus. Are you looking for a new role within your current company? Are you looking to make a move? Are you simply wanting to learn more and develop new skillsets? Figuring out your reasons will help you decide how to best spend your time.
Utilize your workday
Gone are the days of being able to attend a happy hour on a whim. Be proactive and utilize the time you have for your workday to network. Set up phone calls during your commute with potential clients, mentors, and professional contacts. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram during your lunch break, get out there and take someone to lunch to help you learn more about your field. Do not forget internally networking in your current company — spend fifteen minutes with someone outside of your line of work to help round yourself out without having to leave the building.
Attend a conference
If you can swing it, schedule time to attend a conference. Even better if you can get your employer to pay for it! Think of conferences as an opportunity to learn and network efficiently in a short time frame. You will leave inspired and hopefully with some new contacts and resources to utilize in your day-to-day!
Take an online class
There are hundreds of resources out there for online classes. After some searching, it’s likely you’ll find several classes that you are interested in that are relevant to your career. Is there an area you want to work on specifically, such as how to get your inbox to zero? Go online and research! You would be amazed how much you can learn by spending only an hour or so of free time.
These days there are endless resources and content available for us to consume. Take advantage of it! Let’s face it — ending your Netflix binge one episode earlier will be time well spent. Use that time to read that professional development book you’ve been meaning to read. Bookmark three news sites that are relevant to your field, and commit to thirty minutes each week reading articles (and put it on your calendar!). Subscribe to a few podcasts that will motivate you to be the #momboss that you are, and listen to them in your downtime — while pumping, diving into an Excel spreadsheet, or while cooking dinner while your partner handles the bedtime routine.