How to manage work and study for your PMP certification

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Helena Liu contributed this guest post.
Helena LiuA project management certification is the most desired career goal for project managers. More than 1 in 5 PMs would like to obtain one.
Learning new skills can be difficult once you have left school and entered the workforce.
Despite your best intentions, life can get in the way. There are many other things competing for your attention.
Many project managers want to be certified but can’t find time due to their work and other commitments.
You must make time for it if you consider it important. But how do you find the time? Here are 5 tips to make sure you have time to study even though you work full-time as project manager.

1. Create a PMP study program
2. Study while you commute to work
3. To schedule your revision, use your PMP Study Plan
4. Make it a priority
5. Take study leave
Bonus tip: Know your limits
Recommended books for PMP and CAPM Prep

1. Create a PMP study program
Consider your PMP certification a mini-project. Before you begin studying, set a goal as to when you want to become certified. Once you have your end goal in mind, it is easier to work backwards and create your study plan. Your PMP study plan should outline what you need to do each day.
It is not enough to have a study plan. You need to make sure you are actually following it. To make sure you are on the right track, review what you had planned to do each week. You need to understand the reasons you are behind schedule and then find a way to catch up.
You can also find an accountability partner who will check in with you on a regular basis to give you extra accountability.
Next: How to make time in your professional development
2. Study while you commute to work
I love killing two birds with the same stone. Are you frustrated by traffic jams? What if you could turn this time into productive study?
Many online PMP trainers offer the ability to download lectures so you can view them whenever you want.
You can use your commute time to study. This is a great way to fit studying into your daily life without it affecting other activities.
This applies to any professional project management certification you are studying, not just the PMP.
3. To schedule your revision, use your PMP Study Plan
You may have heard the expression, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Attempting to cram for a major exam at the last minute will not result in favorable results.
Even if you pass, the information won’t stay with you for very long. Learning something new each day is a better way to study for the PMP exam.
You can set aside half an hour to an an hour each day to study. You can mark this time on your calendar to remind you (e.g. Every day, 7:00AM – 7:15AM
Consistency is key to success. Slow and steady wins the race.
4. Make it a priority
There’s always a way. The key to passing the PMP exam is to have the right mindset.
You will make it a priority and you will be more likely to study and schedule your other obligations around it. It usually takes between one to three months to become PMP certified. This certificate is much easier than a degree in project management.
It takes only a few months to study, and maybe a few social engagements to be certified for life. There is light at the other end of the tunnel!
5. Take study leave
Many employers will allow you to take some study leave in order to become PMP certified. Some employers may even pay for your training courses. Employers encourage continuous learning because they know they will benefit from the additional knowledge and skills you acquire.
You can take study leave to free up your time and focus on studying.