You know how you always mean to do something BUT never seem to get the time. 

This is THE BEST method to stick to your development plans. And it only takes five minutes to get going. If you don’t believe me, then start a timer now and see what you will have achieved by the bottom of the page. Want the self development guide? Download it here

Goals: Get promotion, Develop Skills etc.

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Like many workers I am sure that you would like to grow to get you that next promotion. Or it might be something as simple as learning how to do sales. Read a management book or learn how to remember names. But good intentions don’t materialize into actions. So I am going to show you a clever trick:

Be aware: Your brain will try trick you. Resist!

Part of the technique is to not let your brain trick you. You may be feeling the urge to check your email, get a drink or go off on some other distraction. But remember the timer is running and you only need to focus on this for another four minutes…

What Steven Covey knew about highly effective people

Habit 7 of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Sharpen the Saw”. So the plan is to spend a little time now to develop your skills to save time in the future. Covey says that successful people spend at least 10% of their time on getting better. Let's start off small. One hour is just 2.5% of your work week. Do you think you can afford to spend 2.5% of your time to invest in yourself?

Make and appointment with yourself...

If so then go to your calendar and make an hour-long appointment with yourself. This is YOUR Power Hour™:

  • If you’re too busy this week, just go one or two weeks out
  • Allocate the time and make sure there is at least one noticeable alert
  • This isn’t a to-do reminder, it is time SET ASIDE
  • Don’t schedule it when you’re likely to be interrupted
  • Set to reoccur weekly

When the appointment comes, pick up where you last left off:

  • If necessary close your office door (or better; go to a room without distractions if one is readily available)
  • Switch off email, internet, phone calls, texts etc.
  • Leave instructions not to be disturbed

Getting going and focusing:

  • The hardest part is starting. So if you struggle to get going for any reason, set a timer for 10 minutes (most phones have a timer or alarm)
  • Promise yourself to start – it’s not a lot of time
  • At the end of the 10 minutes if it’s really not working on that day you can stop and try another day. But you will usually be ok to keep going
  • If something else comes up, re-schedule the appointment for the same week

Visualization:

What are the usual hurdles that stop you from doing self-development? Visualize how you will overcome those hurdles. (Hint: An effective technique is to give it a try, if it doesn't work, regroup and then try again.)

That’s it: Follow this process, and you will be on the path to improving your skills and reaping the rewards.

Have you done it yet?

Now if you’re like many people you’ve gotten to the bottom of this page without actually booking time in your diary. And the bizarre thing is that you can probably see how this technique will actually work but you still haven’t done anything. That is the one small thing you have to do – take action. People just like you have had success using this process. This isn’t the only way to ensure you develop skills, but in my opinion it is one of the best processes you can follow. So let's make a deal: do you think you could try this for 12 weeks? Then if it doesn’t work for you, feel free try something else.

If so, your five minutes to book the time in your diary starts now…

Ps here is the full power hour worksheet for you to download: It also includes goal setting to keep you on track.

Of course there is the question of what skills should you develop? Consider:

  • Your most important priorities and what takes up the most of your time – what would give you the most payback by learning how to do it better or quicker?
  • What are your career aspirations?
  • Did your performance review have any developmental areas? 

We also favour training that does not require an instructor because this training is much more accessible, cost-effective and you can cover material at your own pace. That's why I've made the www.boss.camp program. Many people study MBA’s to advance their careers. And in MBA’s you learn about things like marketing, finance, operations and commercial law etc which are really important in business. But what you don’t learn is practical people management techniques like what to do and what to say to your employees. To progress in your career the skill that will do more for you than anything else is the ability to select, motivate and retain employees. Boss Camp will show you how to get better employee performance in just an hour a week.

Getting Your company to pay for your development:

However this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use YOUR Power Hour™ to book an instructor-led training course, make logistical plans and submit a case for the company to fund your training (9 ways to get your company to pay for your training). Or you could spend the time with a business coach or mentor. Or Google relevant online courses and books in your first session. To be effective limit your researching and commit to a program. And we have to mention that the Manager Foundation training guides are split into sections that work well in the weekly hour-long sessions.

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Other relevant articles: I write elsewhere about what is broken with corporate development, why people are addicted to instructor-led training, how to duplicate the benefits of instructor-led training and what the business case is for learning how to get better performance from your staff.


I hope you find these free insights and actionable tips helpful and inspiring. The best way to learn these skills is by doing one of the training modules and if you would like to learn more I would encourage you to take a course. This is how I support the creation of this content. Please see the side bar for course links or go to the training page to find out more.


Was it good for you?

Please let me know if you tried this technique or not in the comments below. How did it work for you? 


Boss Camp

Leadership training said you must inspire your staff, but it didn’t say how, leadership training said to be confident, but it didn’t say how. Leadership training said motivate your employees, but it didn’t say how. www.Boss.Camp will give you the toolbox to deal with the day-to-day issues that every manager faces. And it’s not just theory, because that’s no help in the real world. Boss.Camp will show you exactly how to motivate your employees, including what words to use. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.