Taking time for yourself is not exactly what you are thinking of. No, I’m not saying that you need time off or you have to quit... well, that’s not a bad idea if you hate your job.
I often write about career management, career’s choices and which competencies you should have to be more effective at work. I have always been passionate about these topics and the ones related to the personal development and growth (learning, organization’s support and psychological concepts).
In order understand your career you need to invest time in a self-reflection exercise. You need to be consistent and organized; you can’t improvise.
Why do you need to plan having this time? If you do not do it, you might end up thinking about your career when you are stressed or when you have done something wrong at work; if it is the case, the negative thoughts about yourself will distract you from having an objective evaluation and you will end up being over critical with yourself. Being constant and focused on this exercise will improve your approach to self-reflection, even if at the beginning it is going to be difficult and painful.
As mentioned before you can’t improvise. Why? You need quiet time and you need to be ready also at the emotional level. You can’t rush it for 10 minutes in a middle of a busy day at work. Your emotions, the stress and the lack of time could lead to hasty conclusions. It is important to create your “lab” when you are alone with your thoughts. Let’s say, you need at least 30 minutes a week; 30 minutes when you slow down and think. As I said in a recent post about curiosity, you should spend some time researching, studying and understanding. Give space to the curiosity about yourself. Give yourself time to think about it.
This self-reflection time is very important. More than you think. Try and let me know.