If you work full-time, it can be challenging to carve out the time to accomplish your professional goals, especially if you have a family. Depending on your responsibilities, it may seem all but impossible to squeeze anything else into your day, even if it’s something as important as improving your professional acumen and advancing your career. Here are some tips to help shoehorn continuing education into your busy schedule.

Choose the Right Course

Spend some time researching courses that will give you the best opportunity to achieve your goal. Most programs have advisors available to guide you through this process. Also, many courses are offered online. You want to be sure you’re making the right choice and dedicating your time wisely.

Assess Your Current Schedule

What does your daily schedule look like? Write it down and try to identify gaps where you could fit in professional education. Consider recurring appointments and your family’s schedule if applicable. What parts of your schedule are flexible and what must be constants?

Gather Support

Let your family and friends know of your plans to go to school. If household chores will suffer, work out a schedule where other family members can pick up the slack. Also, your friends can be great resources for helping with things like picking up items at the store, feeding pets, and taking kids to extracurricular activities.

Dedicate Your Time

Pick a time or times each week where you can block on your calendar to concentrate on your studies. Try your best to keep this time focused and uninterrupted. This may mean waking up earlier in the morning or staying up a little later at night. Remember, this is a short-term investment for a reward that will have long-term benefits.

Ask for Time at Work

Talk to your manager about your plans to take a professional education course. If it is directly related to your job function, explain the value that you can add at work by taking the course or earning a certificate. Chances are your manager will be willing to work with you.

Let SMU CAPE Help!

At SMU CAPE, we understand the importance of work/life balance. We strive to provide you with the flexibility you need by offering both on-campus and online programs. Click here for course availability and options, or contact one of our knowledgeable advisors at capeadmissions@smu.edu or 214-768-1086. We’re confident we can help you find a course that fits into your busy schedule and supports your professional goals.