Remember the college years when it was your job to study and do well on tests? Unfortunately those days are long gone and most people didn’t take advantage of that kind of sweet arrangement. Now you might have a full-time job, family responsibilities, vacations already booked and perhaps a pretty solid routine down as an adult. What happens when you realize an additional certification can boost your career?
Whether it’s a Microsoft certification or other industry certification course, it can make a huge difference in your career. It might lead to a promotion, the ability to demand much more money or opportunities otherwise closed off to you. However, some of these certifications are nearly a full-time job in themselves and you don’t have time for it. Or do you?
Time management skills
It’s time to buff up the foundation you set in college and get back into super time management mode. Start by knowing that every single person has time wasted each day and that everyone has the same hours, so you’re not at a disadvantage. Figure out some time at least five days per week that you can carve out for studying. It might mean staying up past everyone else, getting up early or giving up your weekends for awhile. Set your priorities.
There’s no point in pursuing a certification if you’re only going to do it halfway, but you can buckle down and give up some R&R time knowing that it’s temporary. Keeping a tangible calendar that marks down the date to the test can help you stay motivated. Also ensure that everyone in the house is on board to keep you accountable and not disturb you during study time. If you have kids, this is a great way to lead by example.
Tricks of the trade
Ideally, you can create a study space that’s quiet and free from distractions. Know your own best study habits (if possible, night owls should study at night) and keep any digital devices far away so you’re not tempted to check your phone or play Angry Birds on your tablet. With your laptop, keep any tabs and windows besides what’s necessary to study closed so you’re not tempted.
There are different options for certification courses including online, in-class and a mix. You know what environment is best for you, so don’t think that “just this once” you’ll be able to swing online classes if it’s not for you. Give yourself advantages because nobody else will volunteer to do so.