By Sunny Simon

I have a passion for paper, especially lovely bound planners. Although, I work digitally 95% of the time, I find picking up a pen and mapping out my goals in black and white inspiring. Okay, finding a cool planning system is the easy part. The work begins when we sit down to write our goals for the new year. The biggest challenge is allocating time to get the work done.

More than once I’ve heard clients’ lament about wanting to increase earning power by upgrading their skills, but due to time constraints, plans of personal development fall to the wayside. Each time I hear that sentiment, I think of my mother. In her book, there was no such thing as lack of time. Whenever I tried to use it as a lame excuse, she retorted, “If you want something badly enough, you will find the time.”

You know mom was right, don’t you? I could excuse the single parent who works three jobs to put food on the table, but what about the rest of us?  Are we really going to peddle that baloney? I don’t think so.


What then, is the magic formula for accomplishing the tasks necessary to up your personal development? In her book, “Pause, Harnessing the Life Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break,” author and executive coach,  Rachel O’ Meara,  offers up an interesting strategy. The coach suggests you negotiate with your boss for a time allotment dedicated to self improvement. Now that’s a novel idea! Possibly a hard sell depending on where you work and who you report to, but it’s a strategy worth pursuing.

Before you march into your manager’s office with this request, spend some time in preparation. First define exactly what you want to study and how gaining this new skill or knowledge brings value to the work place. That’s the key. Your manager will want to know what’s in it for him or her.

Once you’re standing on solid ground in terms of benefits, O’Meara advises you spend some time listing any objections and concerns that might arise during the conversation. Then consider what are you willing to give up in this negotiation. Make a list of items you could offer up in order to seal the deal.

You have nothing to lose by giving this strategy a go. If the answer is no, get creative about carving out time to work on your goals.  Good luck! If you get a yes, you’ve won! Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More information at