By: Beth Schaefer
Director, Institute for Professional Development

You finished your degree … you have a new position … you have an enhanced paycheck … Ahhh, time to relax. Wait!

This is not the time to kick back and put up your heels.

Letting a new job or position is a step in your career, not a stopping point – which is why Stephen Covey places professional development in his time management chart. Covey defines four quadrants of time management: Quadrant II is Important, but Not Urgent. The activities in Quadrant II include:

  • Preparation
  • Planning
  • Prevention
  • Relationship Building
  • Personal Development

Although Quadrant II activities are important because they are not urgent, we tend to postpone them.  Don’t!  These are the types of activities that, in the long run, will make you more valuable to an organization than just handling crises and putting out fires.

Here are 7 actions you can take to ensure that you remain relevant and keep your career moving forward:

1. Have a vision. Where do you see yourself in five years?

2. Develop a path. What broad steps do you take to achieve your vision?

3. Make the most of opportunities. What projects in your organization are going undone for which you could volunteer?

4. Become a better communicator. Are you able to listen to others so that you not only hear their words, but understand their motivation?

5. Commit to your education. What classes or professional events and conferences should you be attending?

6. Interview Role Models. Who works in roles that you would like to have, and what can you learn from their career journeys?

7. Make professional development a priority. Where can you carve out time each week for Quadrant II activities?

Your organization is practicing continuous improvement. Are YOU? Get started, today. Schedule a time on your calendar to assess your opportunities and plan your first action.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Professional Development tips: take control of your professional career @
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