If you’re anything like me, the time available for learning is far smaller than the time you want. Almost daily, something comes across my screen that looks interesting. Sometimes, I even sign up for paid courses or events… and then don’t manage to complete them! If this is you too, read on - if not, skip on down to the comments and tell me your secret.
While many organizations will have individual professional development plans for their staff, it may still be worthwhile to have your own personal plan, that could address additional learning objectives or interests outside lactation. If you work independently in private practice or elsewhere where professional development support is not robust, it’s especially important to create and maintain a plan.
Start with a yearly calendar to mark out where the ‘highlights’ are: major conferences, busy reporting times at work, personal vacations, and any other planned events that will have a major impact on your weekly routines. Then, looking quarterly, add in the specific events, topics, or opportunities to practice.
Of course, last-minute opportunities do pop up, and “opportunities to learn” or practice new skills have a way of emerging as an urgent need rather than a carefully orchestrated sequence. Leaving some room in the plan for additions and changes is critical, or you’ll soon find that the plan is left behind.
For many of us, the time for our own learning is just not there. Planning ahead, whether as part of your employer’s plan or your own, helps to create and protect this time for learning - and you can start a calendar on any date of the year.
Michelle Pensa Branco MPH IBCLC
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Last Updated: September 2018