Intermediate professional development routine
This professional development routine is the next step beyond the beginners routine. It is geared toward folks who have dabbled with their professional development before and are ready to jump back in the saddle.
Activities from select categories are spread out over seven days. If any items feel too light or too intense, feel free to increase the intensity or skip the item. Take note of when you do this, so you can begin to tailor a routine to fit your needs.
Stream 1: internal
- Goal setting
Stream 2: external
- Network nurturing
- Content creation
Stream 3: learning
Start on a Sunday.
🏁 Sunday • 45mins: Set a goal for the week, and reflect on the last week
Set one personal and one professional goal for the next week. Follow the SMART framework for goal setting:
- S for Specific
- M for Measurable
- A for Achievable
- R for Relevant
- T for Time-bound (in this case, your due date is a week from now)
🤔 Take stock of the past week. Consider the following questions:
- What happened? What were the highlights?
- What did you do, who did you speak with, what did you learn?
- Were there any challenges? Why did you view these things as challenges?
- To what extent did you adhere to your self-care plan? (ignore this if you’ve just started)
- Did you achieve last week’s goal? Why or why not? (ignore this if you’ve just started)
Jot this down somewhere safe—it can be a quick list or a longer more detailed journal entry, whatever you prefer. Make a habit of sharing a version of this reflection with your ProDev network.
💖 Monday or Tuesday • 60mins: plan some self-care and outreach
Reserve some time in your schedule for personal time. At least five hours over the remainder of the week. Be mindful about this time. It is important to recognize it as self-care and not simply relaxing. It also needs to continue to be prioritized—remember, it is not free time!
Set your sights on reconnecting or making new network connections. Since you already have a strong professional network to tap into, select 2-3 individuals you’d like to reconnect with this week. Share a brief update and ask how they are doing. Depending on when and why you connected last tailor the communication appropriately. Time permitting, you may even want to consider a virtual catch up.
In an effort to strive forward and forge new connections, you’ll also want to brainstorm people that you think would make good professional connections. Use LinkedIn for this. Make a list along with reasons why they could be a potential connection.
Once you have a list and general familiarity with about 3-5 individuals, send a connection request via LinkedIn. In order to stand out you’ll want to include a brief personal message. It might read something like this:
Hi Samir, I’ve really been enjoying your content on W and contributions to X. I am interested in growing my knowledge of Y and would love to connect with you here on LinkedIn.
🔗 Wednesday or Thursday • 30mins: network nurture
Share your goals, self-care or outreach plan (as much detail as you’re comfortable with) with your Professional Development network.
This signals to others that you’re engaged with your routine, and may be the push they need to keep at it.
In the spirit of building community, make a point to offer help or encouragement to 2-3 other members who’ve similarly shared their goals and plans. We are hardwired for connection, so reaching out to someone else on the network can go a long way to build trust, increase consistency—and ultimately achieve results.
🧠 Thursday or Friday • 60mins: learn something new
Set up Google Alerts for key people and topics you want to learn more about. These should be relevant to your career, industry or prospective industry. The more focused the search term, the better the result.
If this is your first cycle in the weekly routine, create a reading list of books, journals and whitepapers you’d like to enjoy next. The focus for this reading list might be industry or discipline specific. The point is to know your next move as a learner and be excited for the next step. Over time you’ll build confidence and authority in the subject matter, and naturally want to share your knowledge with others.
Having focused topic areas to read, listen and explore will allow you more time for learning. Over time you’ll become aware of the publications, podcasts, authors, contributors and change makers that you like best. All of these preferences should ‘live’ somewhere, jot them down in your journal, Google Keep, or note keeping app in order to be able to quickly circle back.
Next, build in time for post-learning reflection, so you can better understand and evaluate your knowledge. What did you learn? To what extent will it impact your professional practice moving forward?
If you, like us, happen to be curious about learning more about leadership, culture and storytelling you may want to consider signing up for a premium membership. We create, discuss and share material every week on these topics.
🛠 Friday or Saturday • 1 hour: create something
This is very open ended.
It does not need to be career related, and it doesn’t need to be a social media post. The idea here is to plan, generate, produce and share something new.
You may already have a passion project on the go, if so, this is the time to dedicate to producing something. If this is not the case, it’s nothing to be worried about. Ideating and creating will eventually lead you to a future focus—so keep at it!
If you’re at a loss for what to create, consider:
- Creating something related to your SMART goal
- Referring back to your what you’ve been learning, perhaps there’s inspiration there
The final step is to share this creation with your Professional Development network on CCA. Seek feedback and inspiration.