Time Management: Nailing Personal Development

At the turn of a new year, many people set goals, make resolutions and begin with high hopes and expectations of the year to come. We put pressure on ourselves to be better - to do better. This felt like a good opportunity to talk about personal development.

Time management was something I worked a LOT on during 2018, it wasn't easy and I'm always trying to optimise my workflow. Not only is this my first blog post of 2019, but it's also my first post ever (please be gentle).

It's easy to get caught up in what we have to do while juggling what we should do and what we want to do. Time seems limited and people are demanding us to prioritise them and their needs and goals.

I was listening to Rachel Hollis on a podcast explaining that she regularly asks clients what their top five priorities are. Rachel then regularly has to highlight that they haven't included themselves on that list, followed by a similar analogy:

When you go on a plane there is a pre-flight safety announcement that tells you to take care of your oxygen mask before helping others. If you are constantly trying to put others before yourself you won't survive.


So let's talk about personal development! It comes in all shapes and sizes, working on your confidence, learning new skills, setting goals and creating a plan to achieve them. I fit in at least 10 minutes of personal development every day, nothing complicated. How can you expect to stay passionate about your goals if you aren't fuelling them?

I've dabbled in (active) personal development since I was 18, reading books, articles, listening to podcasts, attending lectures. Basically, anything that helped fuel my purpose and keep me mindful. During the past year, however, my time schedule has changed significantly. I'm back for my final year of masters in architecture and finding time for personal development was challenging alongside the never-ending research actually required for assignments. I had to change my old approach to personal development where I'd try and cram in as much as possible about literally anything.

Now let's get specific. I have two approaches to personal development - passive and active.

PASSIVE

I love a multi-tasking moment, it makes me feel extremely productive and for a few minutes as though I have my life totally together (who doesn't want to feel like a boss?). My passive approach - Podcasts. I love them, do it! Typically when I'm doing the cleaning, driving or commuting I'll fit in a podcast. I like to get as much variety into my passive personal development so if someone has recommended something I'll listen even if it doesn't seem relevant to my life (because honestly, nothing is ever truly irrelevant).

My favourite podcast at the moment is The Skinny Confidential His & Hers Podcast, they have a huge variety of guests on talking about everything from skincare to running multiple successful businesses.

Adding audiobooks and podcasts to your otherwise "dead" time is a great way to add in some personal development.

ACTIVE

The 10 minutes a day I mentioned at the beginning of this post is focused on active personal development (the oxygen mask kind of material). The active approach is all about being as specific as possible. Personal development is exactly that - personal. This time should be spent working on skills that will bring you closer to your aims and goals. Be as creative as possible when it comes to resources, pick someone's brain on some software they know really well and you're trying to improve on.

At the moment I spend my 10 minutes a day learning French, I've always wanted to speak another language and the Christmas break gave me the perfect opportunity to start.

So get creative with this time and try and use it to push you towards some goals you've set...or even towards goals you were too scared to set.

BALANCE

Learning that meditation counts as personal development! If you're like me and you find it incredibly difficult to switch off using your "active" time to meditate some days is a great way to use your time. It can also help you build up coping mechanism tools for situations in which you might feel overwhelmed. There is no right or wrong way to go about personal development, but there are definitely more effective ways of reaching your goals through it.

Only a few days into 2019 now is a great time to write down your goals for the year. Follow this with achievable steps to get there. Don't try and tackle them all in January, pick one and form better habits. This is why I say 10 minutes a day, you can definitely do more, in fact, I encourage you to do more if you can. Personal development is not about perfection, it's about growth. You wouldn't plant a seed and expect it to be flowering the next morning, so why do we expect to make real change in our lives after a few isolated personal development books?

Do it - from today and for the next 66 days (the amount of time it takes to actually form a habit, read more here) take at least 10 minutes a day to work on yourself. We all have 10 minutes to spare to help us grow, you found time to read this post after all? Replace one social media scroll with an interesting interview clip, or funny videos with a few pages of a book. Focus yourself on the important things and don't forget to put yourself in your top five priorities!

"Plan carefully and you will have plenty; if you act too quickly, you will never have enough." - Proverbs 21:5

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