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Theres a lot to be said about time management and commitment. We all like to start with positive good intentions and enthusiasm to set our goals and reach them but there are 2 little monsters that get in the way sometimes.

Time and Money.

If I had of been given the opportunity to go to college and university after leaving school I would have snapped at the chance. Unfortunately, my education came later, I had to earn and like so many of my Students I went straight into work. Money is a huge factor when it comes to personal and professional development. What we want and what we can afford are two different things. But theres an important lesson I have learned along the way in my own development journey and that is that not all learning needs to be expensive. A university degree can set you back thousands and take you forever to pay off so unless its absolutely necessary for your chosen career path, unless you MUST have it why pay it? There are so many courses available in further education that can be achieved at a fraction of the price of a degree and, in my opinion, are just as if not more valuable.

When deciding on your development plan you will either already have a budget in mind personally or a budget given to you by your Employer. You will then probably have an actual cost after setting out everything you want to do within a particular time frame and that cost may not (usually not!) match up with your budget. Timescale is key here, spreading the cost is likely going to mean a longer learning period which isn’t a bad thing necessarily and I will explain my self here.

Setting yourself deadlines for achievements is important but this needs to be realistic. You can’t do a degree in 2 months! I know that’s obvious but I’m making a point here about learning and development, it takes TIME. With this in mind, time is either your friend or enemy depending on what else you have going on in your life. My own experience comes to mind here many years ago when I decided to continue my education whilst working full time with a brand new baby. I was lucky in that I had support around me but it wasn’t the best of timing. I was unrealistic about what I could do and how many hours there were in the day.

That said isn’t there always ‘something’? I cant tell you how many conversations I have with Students who haven’t managed to complete an assignment on time because of ‘something’. Life, work, family, health, pets, there are always going to be those ‘somethings’ that get thrown at you.

I’m going to admit here that I can be a terrible procrastinator. If theres a particular assignment I don’t want to do (yes I’m still studying too) I will avoid it and find anything else I possibly can to excuse myself and so one day falls into the next and then it’s a week, a month … you get the point.

I used to lecture my Students on induction about the time scales for the Diploma and stress the importance of managing their time and completing the work at a good steady reasonable rate. I’ve since stopped this as for one I was getting a little ‘strong’ on it and could see the students start to drift off! But also I found it better to let them discover this on our first 4 week catch up review where 90% of them hadn’t gotten off the start point. Its then when the student can’t believe 4 weeks have passed that they realise for themselves how quickly the course time will pass and the importance of time management.

To sum up here, time and money should be considered at the start point of setting out your development plan. Most courses will have a timescale set anyway and there will also be softer objectives on your plan that may only take a days training and could be entirely free! In my next post I will be giving a few examples of free learning opportunities you can take advantage of so that’s well worth a visit.

Be realistic about what you can afford, look at whats available for free. Make sure you can achieve the objectives on time and be kind to yourself, don’t overload your life because learning should be a joy not a chore.

Learners undertaking a Level 3 of 4 Diploma in Management will find this post assists with the following criteria:

ML9 300 2.5 Execute the plan within the agreed budget and timescale