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Personal Development For Busy People

25 February 2022

We all start out the year with good intentions, but often we fail to fit new habits into our tight schedules. Here are some short and easy activities that can result in dramatic lifestyle changes over time.

The 5 Spheres of Personal Development

If you want to make a major lifestyle change but your already hectic schedule is getting in the way, the easiest way to start is to set just one small goal for each of the 5 spheres of personal development. These are:

  • Mental Growth
  • Social growth
  • Emotional Growth
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Physical Growth

You don't need all 5 to make a great personal development plan, so focus on the ones that mean the most to you and add others later if you feel the need and can find the time.

Mental Growth

Mental Growth is all about thinking and learning. How you behave and your mental agility depends on how much time you spend attuning your mental skills.

Introducing quick evidence-based brain-boosting exercises to your daily routine can really help you improve your mental clarity. Even as little as 5 minutes per day can significantly help your ability to memorise information and retain focus.

Some quick activities that strengthen brain power include:

  • Jigsaws
  • Card games
  • Word games
  • Dancing!
  • Learning a new skill
  • Teaching
  • Listening to or playing music
  • Changing your route to work
  • Meditation
  • Short periods of intense focus

Enhancing your brain power can help you save time during the rest of the week. You will achieve the ‘Flow’ state much easier, meet deadlines much faster and it can even help you to beat the post-lunch slump.

Social Growth

Social growth concerns your communication and social skills. This is a great skill to sharpen to make sure your next networking event goes smoothly.

As the old saying goes, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ widening your social circle and developing your charisma is essential for getting ahead in your career, even if you work independently.

The good news is that social development goals can be super fun and you are probably already working on this skill in your downtime without realising it.

Here are some tried and tested methods for improving your social abilities:

  • Eating out
  • Board games
  • Team sports
  • Movie nights
  • Video games
  • Escape Rooms
  • Dog parks (if you have a dog)
  • Museum tours
  • Litter picking

Basically, any activity that requires you to go outside and potentially talk to strangers or friends will exercise your social skills, team working abilities and improve brain functions associated with communication.

Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is concerned with internal matters, inner peace, and self-reflection. Spiritual growth is nothing to do with religion, but it can be if you wish.

Spiritual growth can be developed in a number of different ways and can be as simple as keeping a journal or sitting in nature for a few minutes each day.

Spiritual growth helps you to build confidence, manage stress and reconnect with your values. You can easily excercise your spiritual muscles by partaking in simple exercises that take only a few minutes out of your day:

  • Screenshot or save quotes and poems that resonate with you
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness for 5 minutes each day
  • Sit or walk in nature
  • Paint or draw
  • Add 5 minutes of Yoga to your workout
  • Read a passage from your Holy book or book of inspirational quotes

Taking a few minutes each day, or an hour or two once a week to do something solely for your wellbeing will help you to combat stress and recharge. Spiritual and holistic exercises are essential for helping busy people avoid burnout.

Physical Growth

Physical growth is usually at the top of everyone's list of New Year's resolutions, and usually the first hurdle we fail to overcome.

However physical growth is less to do with ‘eating less and moving more’ and more about making sure your body is well taken care of and productive.

Tips for taking care of your physical wellbeing:

  • Getting quality sleep
  • Drinking more water
  • Regular exercise
  • Eating nutritious meals
  • Decreasing sugar and salt

Even small changes such as going to bed half an hour earlier or switching out one cup of coffee for Green Tea will make a whole lot of difference to your daily productivity and sense of wellbeing.

Set SMART Goals

The SMART goal method is perfect for busy people. SMART is an acronym that refers to setting goals that are:

Specific

Measurable

Achieveable

Relevant

Time-bound

You can set yourself up with a very achievable and realistic personal development plan in less than 5 minutes by taking 1 small activity from each of the 5 spheres of personal development applying 1 for each day fo the week.

Maybe 5 minutes of Meditation on a Monday?

How about Green Tea Tuesday?

What about dinner and a movie for Social Saturday?

What is great about the SMART method is that it is super flexible. If one activity a day is too much then just choose one sphere of social development that is right for you and work on that once or twice a week.

The Takeaway

Making major lifestyle changes can be a challenge when your To-Do-List is already full. The trick is to set goals that you can easily fit into your existing routine.

Utilizing the 5 spheres of personal development to identify an achievable goal and implementing it into your schedule using the SMART method is a great start, and will make you more likely to stick with your new activity.

Choosing a goal that aligns with your values, and areas of your life that need more care and attention is key to balancing your work week and managing stress.

Making simple, small, easy changes will have a huge impact over time. You will feel healthier, more productive and even making the smallest change can leave you with a great sense of achievement.