Why You Need a Professional Development Plan

When it comes to your career, much like your education, it’s a never-ending learning experience. If you’re not always working towards new and greater goals, you’ll stagnate in your position. You should focus on how you can consistently elevate your career. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind as you consider your own professional development plan.

Step 1: Self Analysis

Examine your skill sets, strengths, weaknesses, and dreams.  Ask yourself, what do you love about your job? What are you best at? What makes you feel proud at the end of the workday? Once you have some good ideas circulating in your mind, write them down. Then ask yourself alternative questions like, what could you improve upon? Ask yourself what you could be better at, what you’d like to get better at, and what you need to learn in order to succeed. Once you do that, you’re ready to take the next step.

Step 2: Set Achievable Goals

The thing with goals is that it can be easy to focus on creating lots of them rather than focusing specifically on a few that mean the most to you. The key is to aim for quality, not quantity. Now that you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you can identify your goals within those gaps. Perhaps you’re a great one-on-one communicator but have a hard time presenting in front of a group. In those situations, the goal could be “work on presentation skills at least two times a week.” By creating achievable milestones with action points you can keep track of, you’ll be more likely to stay on track and accomplish your broader goals.

Step 3: Focus

While it may sound simple, focusing can actually be one of the more challenging parts of working on a professional development plan. Now that you’ve done your self-analysis and set achievable goals, it’s time to put everything into action. Create dedicated blocks of time where you focus on specific projects or goals, incorporating regular breaks so you don’t lose steam. Remember, it can be easy to get distracted and lose track of where you were. In those instances, don’t be discouraged! Instead, identify what caused you to lose focus and revert your attention back to the task at hand. Over time, you should start to self-correct naturally, allowing you to focus attentively for longer stretches of time.

A professional development plan is a great way to elevate your career, and an important part of that journey are the supplies that help you get there. Stock reliable office supplies around your workspace so you can navigate your workday with ease. A fantastic option is Fellowes’ LX Stapler.

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