I don't have the time - comments, suggestions, sharing

Share this page

Written by Jo Cook on 26 February 2016

Hi all,

I started thinking about this topic in my blog post.

What are your comments, questions, suggestions and sharing of learning and experience about making sure you have time for your continued professional development and the things you want to achieve in your career?



Submitted on 27 February, 2016 - 10:24


I have three principle ways I get my CPD (plus an addiction to TED!)

First and most important is to recognise that everything you do can contribute to your CPD if you make the time to reflect on what you can learn from it. In starting a new business this year, I am forcing myself to learn a whole lot of new (mostly technical and marketing) skills. I have started a new reflection journal and try to spend five minutes each evening reflecting on my day and what I have learned, an then making some notes. Five minutes is not a long time, and it does crystallise the learning and development value of a day's work. I have long advocated this kind of reflective practice in my leadership development work, as a way to build wisdom.

Second, I have a very specific technique of printing (yes, I know, very 1990s) web articles and downloaded content that I find browsing or get as emails or links in emails. I have my own shortlist of highly valued sites and email subscriptions. These sheets go into a pile near the door of my office. Whenever I am working out of the office, I grab a handful, along with a notebook. I ten read these on trains and in cafes between meetings. If it's good, I make notes and keep it. If it's not, I can leave it behind - untouched for the next person to find if it is okay, and ripped or scrunched if it deserves that.

Third: I like to treat myself at least once a year and ideally three or four times, to a high quality developmental event, conference, training session or the such like. By scheduling and paying for it, I am guaranteed to atend, pay full attention, and hopefully bring back some nuggets.

One more thought... Currently I am in a paid business development mastermind group. If there is anyone in Hampshire that wants to grow and develop their training-related business, and learn and develop themselves, and fancies setting up a monthly mastermind-style meet-up (Winchester area) with a small number of like-minded individuals to share ideas about developing our businesses, and new learning about interesting stuff, drop me a line: mike(a)mikeclayton(.)co(.)uk



Submitted on 27 February, 2016 - 17:02

I agree Mike.  I have a good old fashioned reading pile alongside my bookmarked sites, articles, podcasts, ted talks and you tube subscription.  As an interim I consider every assignment I do a learning experience.  I take part in a coaching circle too, where I offer coaching and get coaching in return.  it's a great way to build learning and refection into my work life in the absence of traditional tools like appraisals which I don't have anymore.

I invest each year in CPD that I think will develop my skills and add to the learning I give to myself.  This year I started with a copywriting course to brush up on my writing skills and next week I am attending a talent conference run by Changeboard. 

I also find free CPD seminars from law firms, recruitment consultancies and the CIPD useful.  I really don't struggle to find the time.  I make it a priority as it keeps me current and therefore is an investment in my business.  Without it I would worry I'd become stale.


Submitted on 8 March, 2016 - 12:37

Hi Jo,

Great question and I look forward to reading others' comments.  LIke Mike and Sharon I prioritise my own learning, although I confess I don't always give it the time it deserves.

Just recently I have decided to adopt the mind-set of being 'semi-retired' and have blocked out two days per week in my diary when I won't accept any paying assignments.  Those days are for business development, reflection, networking, etc. and also for my own learning.  This has come about from the discovery a few years ago that one of the reasons I was feeling discontented and stagnating was that I had been ignoring how important a value Learning is for me.  I realised that there was not enough time only because I wasn't making the best use of the time I have.  Time will tell whether 'ring fencing' those days results in better use of them!

Like most people here I am a member of various professional bodies (in my case coaching and project management) which require CPD as a condition of membership.  That focusses the mind wonderfully, and I use the various CPD logs/reports to monitor what I'm doing.  For the last 5 years I have set myself a target for a number of days per year and (as I respond very well to targets!) find that helps me achieve it.  I include the 'informal' learning such as reading, self-study, Ted talks etc.  It helps me to label those as 'learning' rather than 'distraction' or 'procrastination', which I used to do.

For the more 'formal' training, I try to choose events not just because they are directly relevant today, but also those that are fun/entertaining or include skills that are outside my normal work - who knows what I might need in the future? 




Submitted on 9 March, 2016 - 10:30


I like your 'semi-retired' concept.

I have long had the idea of 3-4-5 working.

Work 5 days: 3 in the business (creating and delivering stuff) add one for working on the business (marketing, sales, admin) and the fifth day working on me.


 - 3 days creating/delivering
 - 4 days working in/on the business
 - 5 days working

I just have never quite succeeded!


Submitted on 9 March, 2016 - 10:51

I'm reading this thread with interest. I'm one of the guilty ones who leaves my own development as last because I get busy. 

However, we mustn't under-estimate the impact of reading an article; monitoring what is happening 'out there'.  It does remind me that we learn so much from our peers - I need to get on the case. 


Submitted on 9 March, 2016 - 15:13

It's great to hear how you all value CPD and completely understand the struggle to get time to actually do it. A consolation is that we learn all the time - we just can't help ourselves - mankind is hardwired to learn. The problem is a lack of time to reflect on what we have learnt, followed by how we might grow and then use that learning - this part requires real discipline and I salute all of you who have strategies in place to ensure your learning is maximised.  

I like to think that the Forum is an important tool for professional development as it gives us the opportunity to tap into that greatest of learning resources - our peers - thanks for that reminder Andonella :-).

The Forum is largely informal and somewhat ad hoc, which is how it should be, but as part of TJ's plans to improve the community how would you feel about an injection of formality to the process? At the Forum Focus Group meeting last week Mike Clayton suggested that we select an article from the TJ archive and the Forum host some reflection and discussion around the topic. A sort of asynchronous reading group I suppose you might call it. What do you think? I'd like to give it a try but I want you to decide the topics or issues to be discussed. Let's keep this thread going with more valuable insights on CPD and some ideas for the first Forum Discussion Group - I'm open to suggestions for a more exciting name too!



Submitted on 11 March, 2016 - 11:01

Great points here. I believe as L&D professionals we must walk the talk! There are SO many ways to get our CPD in ways that suit us, and without breaking the bank - time or money wise :) I'm semi-retired too - by choice, having given up travels for work for the foreseeable future, concentrating on my local patch now - and it really is wonderfully enriching to have the time to read more, write more, nip in to Cambridge for free talks by world-class experts, and go down the rabbit holes that take my fancy. I even signed up on Coursera for a free course on neuroscience! When I was travelling, one of my key CPD allies was to have a stock of material to hand - downloads, podcasts, articles - to keep me tuned in and learning on trains and planes. Reciprocoach is another resource I value, as well as free webinars from TrainingIndustry.com - learned a lot about making virtual training more interactive from them. I like Debbie's idea of a Forum Discussion or Learning group. Monthly? I haven't dipped in to TJ much & hope to rectify that now :)


Submitted on 22 May, 2016 - 10:23
This thread has been ticking over in the back of my head for a while. Reflection is a key element to the learning process, so I was pleased when Con Sotidis (@LearnKotch) wanted a live online discussion thinking back to the learning technologies conference earlier in the year and the CIPD show recently. At all these conferences you can't see everything and, in the case of Con, didn't go at all as he's in Australia. However I think the discussions around the topics are valuable learning points. If you would like to join the discussion is Monday 23rd at 12pm UK time: https://t.co/DLbHMa1BtP Regards, Jo


Submitted on 1 August, 2016 - 15:25

I just saw this blog piece from 70:20:10 expert Charles Jennings, about reflective practices, which is part of the process of self-development:


Thought it might be useful food for thought :D