Career Growth Strategies for Mega Busy Parents

Career growth strategy for mega busy parents

Maximise Career Growth on an Insane Schedule: Winning Strategies for Time-Poor Parents

My own Career Growth and Parenting pain!

By the end of this post, you’ll have actionable strategies to help you grow your career without sacrificing your personal life. Let’s dive in and discover how you can achieve balance and thrive both at home and at work.

Having become a first-time father to twins last year, I’ve juggled feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion mixed with anxiety about not getting left behind in the workplace or losing career growth opportunities, whilst wanting to be a good Dad and husband. I want to have my cake AND eat it, dammit!

If you’ve ever felt like your career and parenthood is like an expert juggling flaming axes, whilst sword swallowing, on 2 hours of sleep, well, that’s because it is! But luckily, I’m here and the good news is that you don’t have to choose between career advancement and quality family time.

Mastering Time Management

If you want to achieve career growth while managing a busy family life, mastering time management is essential. It’s all about making every minute count without feeling like you’re constantly sprinting on a hamster wheel.

Sadly, the likelihood is, that it will feel like the hamster wheel is going at 5000rpm whilst your batteries are almost flat. This is me just being honest, it won’t always be like that and the sooner you master time management whilst feeling exhausted, the easier it will become.

I managed to carve out some time to self-study Cyber Security principles and related courses whilst managing newborn twins, it’s hard, but if I can do it, you certainly can!

Prioritize Like a Pro

The secret to effective time management is knowing what’s important. Start by listing out your career growth goals, family responsibilities, and personal needs. Then, prioritize them. What’s urgent? What’s important but not urgent? Use tools like the Eisenhower Matrix to sort tasks by urgency and importance. This way, you’re not just busy; you’re productive.

image via Asana

First, identify your most critical tasks. What will make the most impact on your career advancement? It could be completing a major project, networking with key industry figures, or learning a new skill. Prioritize these tasks and allocate your best hours to them—when you’re most alert and productive.

Plan Your Week

A well-planned week is half the battle won. Spend some time every Sunday planning out your week. Use a planner or digital calendar to schedule everything: work tasks, family activities, personal development, and even downtime. I always make sure to include buffers for unexpected events—because with the twins there’s always something unexpected going on that requires immediate attention.

Create a routine that works for you. Maybe it’s working on career-related tasks early in the morning before the kids wake up or during their nap time. The key is to find pockets of time and use them efficiently.

My routine is to feed the twins in the morning, spend an hour with them then go to work in my garden office where I’m able to dip in and out as needed. I then work my full time job but come in to put them down for naps, then as I’m taking desk breaks I get small jobs done around the house. Finally, I finish work, make their dinner, spend a couple of hours with them and then do bottles and bed time, the remaining hours of the evening are spent on this blog or doing other household jobs.

Time Blocking

Time blocking is a game-changer. Break your day into chunks and assign specific tasks to each block. For example, dedicate your mornings to deep work when your energy is high, reserve afternoons for meetings, and evenings for family time. Stick to these blocks as much as possible to maintain focus and efficiency.

This method not only helps in maintaining a structured day but also reduces decision fatigue. By knowing exactly what you should be working on at any given time, you save precious mental energy and can focus better.

Leveraging Technology

We’re living in a golden age of technology. The right tech tools can turn you into a productivity powerhouse and help you achieve career advancement without adding extra hours to your day. But remember this is about striking a balance, there is nothing worse than constantly flicking between apps or being pinged endlessly with notifications. Choose wisely.

Productivity and Task Management Apps

Apps like Trello, Asana, and Todoist can help you manage tasks, projects, and deadlines. Use them to create to-do lists, set reminders, and track your progress. These tools keep you organized and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

Trello and Asana, for instance, allow you to create boards for different projects, set deadlines, and collaborate with colleagues. This visual approach helps you see where everything stands at a glance, making it easier to stay on top of your tasks.

Communication Tools

Stay connected with your team and clients using communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. These platforms make it easy to collaborate, share updates, and stay in the loop, even if you’re working remotely or on the go.

With Slack and Teams, you can create channels for different projects or departments, making communication more streamlined and organized. Zoom, on the other hand, is perfect for virtual meetings, saving you the time and hassle of commuting.

Teams can be excellent for setting up a mini Planner board to assist you in keep track of tasks and activities.

Learning Platforms

Career advancement often requires continuous learning. Platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Udemy offer courses that you can take at your own pace. Squeeze in a lesson during your lunch break or while the kids are napping. It’s a great way to keep growing without needing large chunks of time.

These platforms offer a wide range of courses, from technical skills to leadership and personal development. You can even find short courses that fit into your busy schedule, allowing you to learn something new in under an hour.

Networking Efficiently

You’ve heard it before: It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Networking is crucial for career advancement, but how do you fit it in when you’re already stretched thin? Here’s how.

Virtual Networking

All I can say is “Thank god for the internet!” Platforms like LinkedIn are perfect for networking from the comfort of your home and more recently, social sites like X (Twitter for those diehards), Facebook, Instagram and TikTok all have distinct advantages when it comes to direct contact with peers.

By being able to connect with industry peers, join relevant groups, and participate in discussions, you can build meaningful relationships without having to attend time-consuming in-person events.

Be sure to use these tools to your advantage. For example, make us of LinkedIn’s features like writing posts, sharing articles, and commenting on others’ content to stay active in your professional community. Regular engagement helps you stay on people’s radar without demanding too much of your time.

Quality Over Quantity

Focus on building deep, meaningful connections rather than collecting business cards. Identify key individuals who can influence your career and nurture those relationships. Reach out periodically, offer help, and stay in touch.

Instead of trying to network with everyone, identify a handful of people whose work and influence you admire. Engage with their content, send personalized messages, and find ways to add value to their lives. This approach is far more effective than spreading yourself too thin.

Attend Selective Events

Choose networking events that offer the most value for your time. Look for industry conferences, webinars, or local meetups that align with your career goals. Attend with a clear purpose—know who you want to meet and what you want to achieve.

Set goals for each event, whether it’s meeting three new people or reconnecting with an old colleague. Being strategic about your networking efforts ensures that each interaction is meaningful and contributes to your career growth and personal development goals.

Continuous Learning and Personal Development

This one is close to my heart and is one of the pillars of my success. You don’t have to enroll in a full-time program to keep learning, just keep plugging away and choose a learning method that fits with your lifestyle and work demands. Career growth and advancement demands that you dedicate yourself to continuous learning and personal development, which can be squeezed into even the busiest schedules if you do it correctly.


Micro-learning involves short, focused learning activities that take just a few minutes. Read articles, watch short video tutorials, or listen to industry podcasts. These bite-sized chunks of knowledge can fit into your day without overwhelming you.

Websites like Medium and Harvard Business Review offer insightful articles that can be read in under 10 minutes. Podcasts are also a fantastic way to learn while commuting, exercising, or doing household chores.

Book Summaries

Want to read more but can’t find the time? Services like Blinkist and getAbstract provide summaries of popular books. You get the key insights in about 15 minutes. Perfect for learning on the go.

These summaries distill the main ideas and actionable advice from top business and self-help books, allowing you to gain valuable insights quickly. It’s like getting a cheat sheet for career growth and personal development!

Skill Development

Identify the skills that will propel your career forward and focus on them. Dedicate a small amount of time each day to practice or learn something new. Over time, these small efforts add up to significant progress.

Whether it’s improving your public speaking, learning a new software, or enhancing your leadership skills, consistent, focused practice is key. Use online resources, practice in real-life situations, and seek feedback to continuously improve.

Balancing Work and Family

Maintaining harmony between work and family life is essential for your well-being and your career. Here’s how to strike that balance and still aim for career advancement.

Set Boundaries

Set clear boundaries between work and family time. Let your colleagues know your working hours and stick to them. When you’re with your family, be fully present—put away your phone and focus on them.

Boundaries help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, reducing stress and preventing burnout. Communicate your availability clearly to your team and make sure to honor your family time.

Delegate Tasks

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks at work to your team members and share household responsibilities with your partner. Freeing up some of your time allows you to focus on high-priority tasks and self-care.

At work, trust your team to handle certain responsibilities. At home, involve your partner and older children in daily chores. Delegation not only lightens your load but also empowers others to step up and contribute.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to family time, quality trumps quantity. Make the most of the time you have with your kids. Plan activities that everyone enjoys and create lasting memories. This not only strengthens your bond but also recharges you for work.

Even if you can only spend a couple of hours with your family each day, make those hours count. Engage in activities that foster connection and joy, like playing games, cooking together, or simply talking about your day.

My experience of Career Growth and Parenting

Let me get personal for a moment. As a parent, I’ve definitely felt the strain of trying to keep all the flaming axes in the air, admittedly, I still do. There were days I thought my career growth would become non-existent because I couldn’t find the time or energy to push forward, I was merely surviving. And then there were moments when I was present at home physically but mentally, just absolutely knackered, stressing about work deadlines whilst dreading the sleepless night ahead. The guilt and anxiety was real on both fronts.

But then I had a lightbulb moment. I realised that balance doesn’t mean giving equal time to everything every day, it’s just not possible. Instead, it’s about being fully present where you are at the moment. When I’m at work, I’m all in. And when I’m with my family, I shut off the work notifications and focus on the kids. This shift in mindset made a world of difference.

Balancing career growth with parenting is no walk in the park, but it’s definitely within reach. By mastering time management, leveraging technology, networking efficiently, committing to continuous learning, and maintaining a healthy work-family balance, you can achieve career advancement even on the tightest of schedules. Remember, it’s not about doing it all—it’s about doing what matters most.

So, here’s my takeaway for you: Give yourself a break and a little credit. You’re doing a hell of lot, and it’s okay to not have it all figured out, I mean, I don’t. Focus on what really matters, use the tools and strategies that work for you, and don’t hesitate to lean on your support system. Career growth while parenting is not just possible—it’s doable and can be incredibly fulfilling. I’m just about achieving it, so do yourself a favour and learn from my hard earned wisdom.

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