6 Tips from a CIPD Grad on Fitting CIPD into a Busy Life
As we grow older, it seems we are getting busier. Many CIPD students work a full-time job while juggling family commitments as well as studying for CIPD qualifications.
While studying for my CIPD Advanced Level 7 HRM Diploma, I worked a demanding full-time role. I also had to deal with all the demands of busy family life, and I was continuing with my part-time PhD research on HRM at the same time.
I remember my wife – also a fellow PhD researcher – telling me that I must be mad to take on CIPD while everything was going on. Yes, I started my CIPD right when the global pandemic was starting to take off. This created a lot of unknowns at work as well as challenges, which I am sure everyone had to go through in their own way.
Fast forward 15 months and here I am, having just received my CIPD official certificate. In this short blog, I want to share with you my 6 top tips which you too can use to find time to study CIPD.
Carry out a detailed time audit
We all need time to do things, so first we need to know how much time we have at our disposal over a 24-hour period before we can set time aside to study.
This means you need to carry out a detailed analysis of the 24 hours of your day and get a bird's eye view of where time is being utilised so that you can effectively use time.
You can start by allocating time to all your most important commitments. For me, this was praying, sleeping, eating, family time, fun/relaxation, and working. Once all the important aspects are taken care of then you should be able to see what time is available for studying.
You need to be brutally honest here, and you also need to prioritise. For example, playing a video game for 10 hours is not a priority when you should be focusing on your CIPD.
Now that you have an idea of the time available to you, the next step is to…
Find out what kind of a learner you are
It’s a fact of life that we all learn in all different ways. This means you need to carry out a detailed self-analysis of how you learn and retain knowledge. You may learn by reading, while someone else may learn by observing.
The different learning styles were categorised in a seminal work by Fleming and Mills (1992). They identified the VARK learning framework comprising four styles: Visual, Aural, Reading/Writing, and Kinaesthetic.
It is possible that you may fall under just one of the VARK categories, or you could be a Multimodal type who has a mixture of learning styles.
Once you know what kind of a learner you are, next you need to…
Plan your study sessions
Every great success implements a perfectly executed planned activity. What I mean here is that you need to carry out a detailed analysis of the topic you will be studying. You need to identify the challenging topics as well as the easy ones.
Your starting point should be to go through the learning material and look through the whole module. Questions you should ask yourself include:
- Are you familiar with this topic or is this a new topic?
- How much do you already know, and how much do you need to learn?
- Is this difficult?
- What are the key ideas/theories?
- How can you pass the assignment?
- How can you link your work with the learning materials?
Once you have analysed the topic, you need to translate this into measured achievable goals, and have plans in place to achieve them. For example, you may be new to the concept of employment law, so set aside more time to tackle this topic compared to something you already have some experience in such as say employee reward.
Use your resources efficiently
One of the major things that CIPD students overlook is the variety of resources that they can tap into. This means you need to identify and use the resources which you have available to you effectively.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to interact with the learning materials in a positive effective way. ICS Learn have a lot of learning materials available to you within the Student Community, and besides this ICS Learn assign you to a private tutor who can guide you through any difficult concepts which you are having problem with. You can call them, chat to them, have a video call, or join their live classroom sessions.
ICS Learn also has student portals where you can connect with other students, and let’s not forget the student admin team as they can direct your query to the relevant people. There’s a lot of support offered – you just need to interact with it.
One thing I would say is, don’t just read the set textbook but read it effectively. What this means is that when you read something, you need to ask yourself: am I understanding what I am reading? Why am I reading it? Is there a better way to go through this chapter or learn the contents?
If you work in HR then link your work with your study, and use the expertise of your colleagues or boss to help you with your studies.
Prioritise your physical and mental wellbeing
Making sure you identify your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing needs and effectively satisfy them is of utmost importance. If you do not have a working mind and body, then how else can you overcome the challenge of CIPD?
Many studies have shown the positive effects of maintaining a healthy mind and body. The point to note here is that there are many ways to achieve this. It is essential that you yourself find out what works for you, as we are all unique with a unique set of challenges.
Having said that, some of the well-known strategies include taking adequate exercise, watching what you are eating and drinking, and building a support network at work as well as outside work. If in doubt, then you should seek expert advice from a qualified person.
Consistency over quality or quantity
I am a strong believer in consistency over quantity and quality. It is one of the foundations of getting anything done.
One of the best ways to be consistent is to visualise your end goal and remember WHY you are doing CIPD. Visualise what will happen if you do not finish CIPD, followed by visualising what will happen if you do finish CIPD.
Consistently chipping away will one day lead to the mountain of CIPD becoming a small stone.
So there you have my top 6 tips which I used to make time to study CIPD. I hope you have found it beneficial.
If you are having an issue with any of the concepts discussed above, then I would be happy to help via my coaching and mentoring services. Let me know your tips on finding time to study for CIPD, as I would really like to hear from you and read about your story! You can contact me on LinkedIn here.
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