5 ways to accelerate your personal development during COVID-19

We’re week 3 into lockdown in the UK and with the potential of this pandemic lasting much longer than the initial period set out by the government, I’ve been thinking of ways to use this time for something positive – personal development. It is something that tends to fall down everyone’s list when we’re busy but now we have an opportunity and a bit of down time to focus on this and reset. So, here are my top 5 ideas to keep you busy during isolation.

Enrol in an online training course

When COVID-19 hit, many learning establishments made their online courses free of charge so that the population can use the time to upskill. I think this is a great way to supercharge your development and it means you can do this from the comfort of your home. There are so many free resources out there that you can take advantage of, it’s just about identifying what new skills you want to develop and finding the right course for you. Here are some suggestions and links to get you started.

Open Learn by The Open University
Future learn
Edx | Free Online Courses by Harvard, MIT & more
School of Marketing – Digital Employability Skills Course

Equally, if you’ve had your eye on a specific training course for a while but have worried about finding the time to dedicate to it, perhaps now is an ideal environment with less distractions. I’ve been thinking this exact thing so I’m just exploring my options to complete some training whilst in isolation.

Schedule daily reading, audiobooks or podcasts 

I know I talk about reading a lot but for me, it is such an important part of life. There are so many self-help, business and personal development books written by the greatest minds and practitioners in the world! It would be crazy not to get stuck in. My advice would be to choose a subject that you’re curious about or something that’s going to help you develop a new skill, strength or mindset.

There are literally thousands to choose from so here are just a handful that I’m reading and listening to at the moment.

The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper & Sarah Ellis
Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King

The Diary of a CEO – Steven Bartlett
TEDx Talks Daily – Various guests
Great Minds (by AW360) – Various industry experts

The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson
Rising Strong by Brené Brown

Of course, if you just want to lose yourself in a good fiction novel, then you have that option too! Check out my book club for some recommendations.

Start a side hustle

I was recently talking to a friend about side hustles. What are they and how do you get one? Well, that’s completely up to you. A side hustle is all about turning your passion into a business for a little extra cash.

Your side hustle could be anything you want it to be! Some examples include freelance writing or design, selling clothes, teaching music, event planning or coaching. The possibilities are endless.

Now that we have more free time on our hands, this could be a great opportunity to start building on that idea that’s been sitting at the back of your mind for a while, even if you can’t quite execute it yet.

This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes about grasping opportunities and working hard for the things you want.

Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.

Learn a new language

I’m generalising but I am sure a lot of us WISH that we were fluent in a second language – I certainly do! I worked in Italy over the summer of 2011 and learned to speak and read a bit of Italian. I swore I would keep it up when I got back to the UK however life got away with me and I ultimately just didn’t make time to do this. Now, I can only remember a handful of phrases and struggle to put a sentence together!

Granted learning a language is probably one of the hardest things but this is a time to focus on the things you don’t normally get a chance to do. So, if learning a language has been on your bucket list, then how about trying these resources as a starting point.

Duolingo – This is a free app that allows you to take bite-size language classes in over 30 different languages and build on your skills including quizzes, games and speaking exercises.

Learn a language with Paul Noble (audiobook) – If you prefer to listen and absorb then there are some great audiobooks out there that help you to learn a language. You can switch on, listen for 30 minutes and return the next day to continue.

I can only share what I have come across and used but I am sure there are loads of materials out there that can help you to learn a new language. You could also reach out to friends who also speak or are learning different languages and set up virtual calls to practice! If you know of any, please comment at the bottom to help each other out with ideas!

Arts & crafts

I’m personally not an arts and crafts type of person – my drawing skills are appalling and I am useless in an art lesson! However, I know a lot of people are at home with children right now and need ways to keep the whole family busy and having fun which is why I wanted to share this as my 5th idea! I came across a brilliant Instagram profile for Michael Woodside who works in the animation team at Walt Disney and has created ‘Social Distancing Drawing’ – free online tutorials teaching you how to draw all of the Disney characters on YouTube!

Michael is amazing. He breaks it down easily so that you can follow step-by-step. He believes everyone can draw and that there are basic principles you can follow and then it’s just practice. If I can do it, you can do it! Why not pop on a Disney soundtrack quietly in the background for added effect.

Share your ideas

So, there you have 5 ideas to keep you focused during lockdown if you find yourself running out of Netflix series to watch! It’s really important to stay as positive as possible and find ways to keep some sort of routine at times like these. I know that is easier said than done, especially if you are juggling family commitments, but hopefully this post will inspire you to try something new.

If you have further ideas or additional resources people can access then please feel free to drop them in the comments at the bottom of this post!

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