You may have heard about the concept of a personal development plan but perhaps thought that you didn’t need one – I’d argue that everyone needs one whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom, a freelancer, online entrepreneur or working a steady office job.
Why Is Planning Considered To Be So Important?
Whenever we hear about planning or making plans, there is some sort of negative feeling that surrounds us. Why is that? Most probably because planning requires you to be able to foresee what can happen, analyze things on the long-run and make decisions based on that. It might also be because making a plan usually aims at following and executing the plan during a set period of time. Even if this might sound scary at first, planning is the best thing that you can implement in your career and personal life.
The first advantage of creating a Personal Development Plan for both your career and personal life is the fact that you will be able to focus only on goals that matter to you. Without realizing it, we are often spending time on different activities or meetings which do not bring us any benefits. However, while we are in the middle of these activities, we are not able to acknowledge or do something about it. In order to make sure life does not take you always by surprise, you can have some control over it by simply creating this plan.
Of course, this does not mean that once you have created the plan, you will be able to control everything that happens in your life. Life will still be unpredictable and you will still need to make decisions on the spur of the moment. However, making a plan will help you at least to focus on the things that will always stay true to you and for which you need to dedicate time and energy, irrespective of the circumstances happening at the time. Moreover, it is statistically proven that if the plan you are making represents your skills and dreams, that is it is driven and created by you, you will have more chances to succeed.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
One of the fears people making plans are facing is the fact that maybe the plan that they are creating today will not apply for the next years to follow. It is indeed challenging to imagine what your life will look like in 2 or 3 years from now. However, this is why setting goals within the plan that you are creating might help you become the exact person you want to be.
Even if the development plan might take a few days to go through, make sure to read through the following tips listed below. Some of them come with some takeaway tips, which can help you build a plan that represents you and goals which represent your dreams in life.
Define Your Objectives
It goes without saying that goals keep us alive and give us the strength to go further in life. Without them, we would not be able to find the motivation to go through all the bad times in our life. This does not mean that from now on you only need to live in the future. It is important for you to be able to enjoy the present, but it does not hurt having some clear objectives set in mind when you decide on creating a professional development plan.
Our takeaway tip is to sketch your plan by using pen and paper. Even though you might have the feeling that you are moving extremely slowly, you will notice some real advantages of using the traditional tools instead of a laptop or your mobile phone.
Split Your Objectives Into Priorities
Now that you have listed some of your objectives, draw several categories and rank them based on the importance they have in your life, how much time they require in order to be checked out of your list or any other criteria which might work for you.
For example, you can split your goals into long and short-term goals. This will further help you to slowly check out of your list the short-term goals while making you feel better about being able to fulfil the small plans you have and contributing to the long-term ones as well. Depending on how much time a plan might take, you can either have long-term plans like starting a home-based business or prepare a Thanksgiving meal for your family, as a short-term goal. Whether your goal is a long-term or short-term one, make sure to always set deadlines. How can you do that? Let’s move on to the next point.
Deadlines are not always the most welcome in our lives, however, they help us to keep the evidence of what we are doing and fulfil every task that we have. The good part of setting deadlines on your professional development plan is that you are able to set your own deadlines for the projects and dreams that you want to achieve. However, this can also be challenging, as the dates for the longer projects can be difficult to perceive.
Our takeaway tip is to be as realistic as possible when setting deadlines. You can maybe think of other tasks which required deadlines and you went through the tasks. If you are usually sticking to your deadlines, then you already have a good start. On the other hand, make sure not to extend deadlines too much, as you will lose interest in that specific plan and will probably drop it along the way. Don’t forget, motivation is the key to success!
Review The Goals And See What Resources Are Needed For You To Achieve Them
Does one of your goals require time each day to be able to achieve it? Then make sure you book one hour each day and focus only on that. Do you need the help of other people in order to achieve a goal? Then ask for your friends’ or family’s help.
Our takeaway tip is to share your goals with your close friends, or at least the news that you started working on them. Even if you don’t necessarily need their direct help in achieving your goals, they might actually help you stay focused on your projects, even if they only ask you how is that project going. Having your memory refreshed by time to time can stir the interest you might otherwise lose in your long-term projects.
Review Your Strengths And Skills
Each goal, be it a long- or short-term goal, has the aim of improving some of the skills you have or helping you acquire new ones. If we take the example of the short-term goal, that of cooking a Thanksgiving meal for your family, after you manage to achieve it, not only will you have followed and achieved your plan, but also acquire a new skill, that of being able to cook delicious food.
Always Monitor Your Progress And Assess Your Improvement
Building a Professional Development Plan continues even after you have created the plan itself or achieved some of the goals you have set for yourself. It is a constant work on your side to improve it, track your progress and make sure you challenge yourself with new goals all the time. Even though it might sound like a strenuous task to do, you will notice extraordinary improvements in your self-esteem, skills and organize both your work and personal life.
We have already presented some of the benefits that you will be able to enjoy if you decide on building a Professional Development Plan. There’s more to it:
Building A Plan For Either Your Career Or Personal Life Has Numerous Advantages
One of them is that you will find some answers about yourself along the way. For example, while you are setting goals for your career, you will inevitably find an answer to the question which you often receive at any interviews, that being ‘’How do you see yourself in 5 years, regarding your career?’’. Moreover, you can also manage to have great interviews by simply making an objective out of that and setting how to write a resume for a job as a short-term goal. Knowing the answers to these questions will also help you improve your self-esteem and become more confident.
You Will Be Able To Have An Inventory Of Your Goals, Skills And Best Practices
Not only will you be able to learn from past mistakes, but you will also track all the mistakes, but also the good things that you have discovered along the way by building a plan. Moreover, you will shape your personality the way you decide and will not let yourself be influenced by other people to a great extent.
You Will Become More Organized
Setting a career plan for you requires some organizational skills. However, even if these are not your strongest skills you bring on the table, all you need to do it to watch some tutorials on the Internet which will show you the way. Either way, after have managed to build it, you will become more organized with your other things and plans in life. The improvement is almost on the spot!
Even though building a Professional Development Plan might require some time on your part, this will soon become the best time-investment of your life. Not only will you be able to set priorities in your life, but you will also be able to start action plans for those dreams you never thought could become real. And the best side is that whenever you will be looking back, there will be no regrets about not having done a certain thing, as you will be able to focus on everything that matters to you. What are you waiting for?