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Career Planning: The 10 Minute Solution

Career planning for a successful future takes time. Yet this is precisely what too many people cite as why they don’t have a robust career plan. And if they have a career plan it languishes in the closet gathering dust. Why, because somehow they do not have the time to take proper steps to turn their career plan into action.

Are you taking enough time to properly build your career plan? Taking only about 10 minutes a day to build your career plan will mean you’ll save additional time over the life of your career.

Proper planning will make the implementation of any project go smoother, with fewer surprises and a greater chance of reaching the project’s goals. The same can be said for a career plan. Still think you don’t have the time?

Here are some ideas to get your career planning on track-at only 10 minutes a day.

1.  Let’s look at the price you’ll pay for not spending the time in planning. You’ll spend an inordinate amount of time going from crisis to crisis putting out fires, things will be out of control, deadlines will be missed or things will not be completed as well as they could. Not a pretty picture. Without a well thought out career plan in place your ability to change things plummets to close to zero.

2.  It’s clear that planning is critical both for your career success and more efficient use of your time. How about if you believe you just don’t have the time? Is this the real reason or is something else holding you back? Perhaps you think it will take additional time or you’ve observed others spending way to much time in planning the most mundane activity.

3.  What it boils down to is not the length of time required in your planning but making it as useful as possible. A smaller length of time, say 10 minutes a day, with the purpose of building the best planned career you can will pay long-term dividends.

Once you get in the habit of setting aside a little as 10 minutes a day you’ll find yourself making progress. Don’t look upon building a career plan as a huge project, but take it step by step and you’ll find by adding information to one area that you’ll naturally open avenues to consider other options.

4.  Your planning does not have to follow some formal progression but can move from point to point. Start with a notebook to jot down ideas and thoughts.

With 10 minutes a day set aside to plan your career let’s look at a productive technique to get you started. Ask yourself a series of questions to get the thought process working. Write down your thoughts and the answers to the questions, possible additional questions, and options to resolve the questions.

5.  Your answers to the questions will be added to your career plan. At 10 minutes a day you’ll soon find a list of ideas that you can prioritize and then build out the most important ideas.

If, for example, you ask yourself, “What career related skills do I need to improve to move ahead in my career?” If your answer is the most critical skill to improve is developing and making more effective presentations, you can start from that beginning.

6.  Plan to improve your power point design skills by attending a workshop or short course at a local college or reading several relevant books. Add to your speaking skills by reading and studying and taping your presentations and having others critique you. Perhaps joining a group like Toastmasters would be productive.

7.  Measure your progress against a planned timetable and in a relatively short period of time others will be coming to you asking for your help in improving their presentation skills. Asking yourself probing and challenging questions does not take a great deal of time and will lead you developing a range of career building solutions.

Here’s some additional questions you can ask yourself to get you started in the planning process:

    • “What are the top three job related things do I need to achieve this week, this month and this year?”
    • “What obstacles are keeping me from achieving my career related goals? How do I overcome them?”
    • “How can I better prioritize my activities every day?”
    • “How can I improve my time management (people, leadership, etc.) skills?”

With 10 minutes a day budgeted for this activity, one question may take several days to work out a best answer. Don’t be concerned as you will be spending 10 minutes a day, every day on this productive activity.

In a relatively short time your career plan will take shape, with an action plan implementing your ideas. You’ll find the 10 minutes a day will be time well spent. If you’d like to get your career started on the right path send me an email at and we can discuss some ideas together. I do offer a complimentary 30 min coaching session for those interested in getting guidance on this or any other relevant topic.


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