Make the Most of Lockdown With Professional Development

Many people have found themselves furloughed or working from home, which has left them with more time. Why not use that time to do some personal or professional development? Self-development is always important and has only gotten more critical during the lockdown.

Giving yourself a sense of purpose and structure is a great way to maintain mental focus and clarity in uncertain times. Maintaining personal development means that you’ll be ready to get back to work with an advantage over your peers.

Find A Starting Point

The first thing to do is to perform a skills gap analysis and create a skills plan. This analysis will help you if you don’t know what skills you should develop. Start by listing the skills you have and any skills you need for your job or dream job. Assess those skills, ranking them in order of importance. Circle the skills you want to improve. Use a job description for your dream job to give you an idea of the skills you need.

A skills gap, as the name implies, is an area where your current skills are lacking compared to what you need to work your dream job. It takes a depth of personal understanding and an understanding of your job to identify these gaps. Finding a skills gap means you have taken the first step to self-improvement.

From there, you can follow the seven steps of a Personal Development Plan;

1. Establish a purpose
2. Identify areas of development
3. Identify potential learning opportunities
4. Create an action plan
5. Undertake developments
6. Record outcomes
7. Evaluate and review the results

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How to Stay Motivated

It can be a challenge to set and stick to goals given everything working against you. There’s the pandemic, of course, but also plenty of other obstacles to overcome. Your mental health can affect your performance, as can having to work around friends and family members. It’s crucial that you listen to your feelings, acknowledge and understand them, and find ways to work around them or overcome them.

If you find that personal development can keep your mind sharp during periods of inactivity and you have more time to fill these days, then you should set yourself some achievable goals. The best kind of goals to set are “SMART” goals;

• Specific
Your goals need to be precise. You should say what you want to achieve and why. Vague goals allow you to give yourself too much leeway. Without specifics, you’ll start putting things off or trying to do too much.

• Measurable
Your goal should be measurable in that you have a set time-frame. Create smaller milestones to help you reach a larger goal. Think of it like a staircase to your goal, with each milestone being another step on the journey.

• Achievable
There’s no point in setting a goal you can’t achieve. You will be demotivated if you don’t reach your goal. Rather than shooting straight for the top, such as becoming a CEO, aim to get a promotion. Look at the skills you need to reach the next level of the corporate ladder and go for it.

• Realistic
Be realistic about your goals – both in the goals themselves and how long they’ll take to achieve. You can’t master crisis management in a single day. Give yourself the time you need to achieve your goals.

• Time-Bound
Set deadlines for milestones and goals to stay motivated to achieve them. Give yourself a little reward when you reach a target to keep motivated. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on all your hard work.

Jason Acker

Project manager for a multinational in the energy sector. Being a remote worker fits in perfectly with my home and family life. I still pay PAYE so I have all the same rights as the office based staff

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