learn-how-to-manage-your-timeTime management is an issue for most people, including massage therapists. In fact, figuring out how to manage your time as an LMT can sometimes be even more challenging—balancing work, family, hobbies, taking care of yourself, and all of the other obligations and pleasures of modern life takes planning.

Professional development, usually in the form of continuing education (CE) courses or credits is part of a successful massage therapy career, and fitting in the time for these courses adds to the burden of time management. Here are five easy ways to start getting organized and find a scheduling system that works best for you:

1. Plan Ahead

Now is a good time of year to think about your CE requirements for the upcoming year and how you plan to meet them. There are options: on-site classroom courses are available in several places, mail-in courses are often an option, some seminars include CE credits, and there are online courses, as well. Start pinning down dates of courses and seminars you’d like to attend, either in-person or online, and consider any important dates you may have planned with family and friends—now is the time to plan ahead.

2. Buy a Planner

Since LMTs work in a variety of settings, examining your schedule is a highly specific and unique-to-you activity. You should think about more than your work schedule, as well. While there may be a seminar you’d like to attend on the other side of the country, family commitments may be an obstacle. Everyone has a different situation, and there is no single solution to organizing life; however, buying a planner or calendar that suits your taste is a good first step towards getting your work, educational, and personal schedules in sync.

3. Work Towards a Goal

Continuing education may seem like a burden or a hassle, but it actually gives you a chance to explore your profession in a number of ways. You may want to learn a new modality, or you may want to learn more about some aspect of business. Where do you want to be in five years? In 10 years? Look at both your short- and long-term goals to help decide what will be most useful in the upcoming year.

4. Know How You Learn

Everyone learns differently. And while it is entirely possible for auditory learners to compensate when they find themselves in a setting where information is presented visually, it is important to consider how a class is going to be taught when choosing courses. If you learn best by reading material, you may need to take extensive notes during lectures or while watching videos. These factors can impact the amount of time it takes to prepare for each class, so be sure you have a good idea of the time commitment your courses will require before signing up.

5. Enjoy the Ride

Be sure you think about what you enjoy learning when you begin planning to meet your CE requirements. Often, it seems like using your CE credits to improve your weaknesses seems like a good idea. Sometimes that is true. But, if every CE course is on material that is difficult for you, you’ll begin to dread doing the work. It’s a good idea to include courses that will help you reach your goals and make you feel more confident.

If you enjoyed reading this MASSAGE Magazine online article, SUBSCRIBE to the print magazine for more articles about massage news, techniques, self-care, research, business and more, delivered monthly. SUBSCRIBE to our e-newsletter for additional unique content, including product announcements and special offers.