Personal Development Plans and Their Benefits
We have all tried to make a personal development plan in our life – whether it was for losing weight, planning our careers, or learning something new. At Your Realty Leverage, we strive to ensure that all of our staff members discuss personal development and learn from each other on this subject. For example, every Wednesday in our Daily Stand Up meeting the facilitator opens a conversation regarding personal development.
The benefits of a personal development plan is that it gives you the best possible chance for success and maximizes your potential. As stated before, these plans can be used for business or personal growth. You would think it would be easy to create a plan like this for yourself, but the truth is that you are most likely your own worst critic. It can be easy to feel like you are not accomplishing your goals when you’ve set them too high. Let’s discuss some tips for creating an achievable personal development plan that will help you to more easily reach your goals!
Start Now and Challenge Yourself
The biggest step is to just dive in and start. It can be nerve wracking to try something new and to change, but if you don’t start then you will not see the results you want. Do something about your personal development plan today! It’s going to take some time to achieve lasting change, so you need to start now. You can build on what you do today, tomorrow.
Your goals need to be just out of reach. If you reach for an impossible target, you’re setting yourself up for a failure. If you stick to what’s easy, you’re denying yourself the satisfaction of achievement and only minimal change will occur. Find that middle ground with a stretch goal in your personal development plan.
As stated before, your goals need to be just out of reach. When you are setting your overall goal, remember to break that large goal into its smallest components. Keep the end result in mind as you focus on the smaller bite-sized steps that will help you achieve your main goal.
The smaller goals you create to accomplish the main goal should be SMART:
Specific – stating exactly what you want to achieve or change
Measurable – having a quantifiable goal that is easy to track
Achievable – realistic and attainable; ask yourself if you can complete them in a certain time frame
Relevant – your goals should relate to your overall aims and longer-term ambitions
Time-based – setting realistic timescales to achieve your outcomes; you can split your goals into short-term, medium-term and long-term
Be Intentional and Recognize Your Worth
Whatever you intend becomes your reality. Find your true intention before you resolve to do something, and make sure you really want what you say you want. If your goal and your intention are not aligned, then you’ll think up lots of excuses and all sorts of situations to prevent your progress. Be honest with yourself about your growth and progress. The only way to improve is to recognize your weaknesses and work on them.
When making a personal development plan, it can be easy to criticize yourself and think about the changes you want to see. However, you also need to focus on what you already have. You need to remember what you already bring to the table and realize that you are making this plan to expand on what you have and have already accomplished. Think about how others benefit from what you do. If you improve yourself, those benefits will increase.
You are responsible for your own progress. You are responsible for what you are today and where you are today. That means it’s your job to initiate the steps involved in your personal development plan. If you don’t bother, no one else will. It also means that you own the result and no one else is to blame. The buck stops here!
Another great way to hold yourself accountable throughout your personal development journey is to have an accountability partner. The idea is that once someone other than yourself knows what you need to do or what you want to achieve, there is a greater incentive to go out and do it to avoid having to explain why you didn’t to another person. Accountability is a great way to keep your motivation high.
Keep Going and NEVER GIVE UP
Setbacks are going to happen, and some weeks you might not be as motivated or maybe just exhausted. That’s okay! Remember to take a step back and focus on the why behind your plan to help remind yourself of the reasons for which you created it in the first place. Life works in cycles and moves to a rhythm. You will have ups and downs. When you hit a slow point or things don’t seem to be moving, don’t give up! Instead, keep going. There is no such thing as continual rapid advancement, and that means your personal development plan needs to be achievable and balanced. Find your rhythm and go with the flow.
Remember that there is no such thing as finished personal development. You can go on learning, changing, and renewing for all of your life.
In any job, it is important to stay organized. In a rapidly growing company, things are constantly changing. New opportunities arise and priorities shift causing employees to pivot on a regular basis. In a constantly changing environment where your target is constantly moving, getting and staying organized – as an employee, as a department, as a company – can be even more challenging. Organization is crucial to setting priorities and keeping track. In my role, I have found a few key tools that are crucial to staying organized and moving goals forward. They are simple and fail-proof. If you do not already use these tools, whether you are in a growing and changing company/role or not, I encourage you to practice them so they become part of your routine. They will become the staples in your organization arsenal.
Manage Your Calendar
As last week’s post mentioned, time blocking is crucial. At fthe beginning of every week, I take time on Sunday evening or Monday morning before the work day starts to review my schedule for the upcoming week. I take a look at any deadlines I may have or reports that are due and make sure to include prep time for them on my calendar. I also see what meetings I have scheduled and I gauge whether or not they need to be shifted around. Is a coworker who I regularly meet with going to be out of town? Do my non-company meetings conflict with a team meeting or a 411? Thinking about these things and planning ahead for the week helps set me up for a healthy start to the week.
Of course, things come up each and every day that require you to shift your schedule. It may be a last-minute meeting with my supervisor, or perhaps a team members need some assistance and support in handling a particular situation. Someone may get sick or a client may need to shift a meeting to a different time. And so it’s important to move time blocks around every day so as to address these ever-changing priorities. At the start and end of each day, allow for some time to adjust your calendar so you can be prepped and ready for the rest of the week
Create Tasks using Technology.
When new tasks come up, consider the tools that technology provides in task management. The following three methods have become part of my everyday organization strategy: 1) Google Calendar; 2) Slack; 3) Zoho Sprints
Google Calendar is most useful for tasks that I need to accomplish. To create tasks in Google Calendar, click on CREATE, then TASK, and then input the information relating to the task. Tasks can be scheduled for specific times or you can choose ALL DAY so tasks all are listed at the top of your calendar each day. As priorities change, tasks can be moved from one day to the next. And, of course, it always feels good to check off a task on the list when it has been completed.
Slack is useful for updating team members or other coworkers on items that need to be accomplished. There are task apps that can be linked to Slack that help draw your eye to certain things or group items in a more visually appealing way. However, a basic (and free!) way to set up tasks via Slack is to use PINS. Type a task into the designated channel and/or tag the designated individual responsible for completing the task and post it. Then, click on More Actions and chose Pin to this conversation. Pinned items are much easier to see and they can be separated out so pinned tasks can be grouped and viewed together. items groups together. This can very much help with staying organized.
ZohoSprints is something that we use as a company to keep track of tasks. We divide tasks into Months and then they are prioritized further into August A and August B Sprints. Each Sprint is to be completed in a two-week time period. This helps ensure that each department is moving forward and making progress on important tasks. Sprint tasks can be assigned to different team members so at weekly Department or Team meetings, priorities can be discussed and tasks can be updated.
Develop (and USE!) Systems and Checklists
Systems are critical to keeping organized. For example, for meetings, having an Agenda prepped and ready to go helps keep things on track. I have a standard Agenda template I use for certain meetings. I open them up and revise them prior to each meeting.
For every client call, I follow a process that has been documented and saved so it can be used time and again by me or by anyone else. Prior to each client call, I open the process document, review it, and update it. I make notes on any additional information I may need to provide to this client. And then I take notes during the call. I store the agenda and notes in my Client File and it becomes easily accessible for me and for my team members as they begin to work with new clients.
When anxiety strikes, it can be so helpful, even therapeutic, to brain dump everything into a speadsheet. I have a Google Spreadsheet set up with the following columns:
- Date of Input
- Task Name
- Category (that each relates to from my 20% or 80%)
- Due Date
Inevitably there are times when my head simply cannot hold all the information (and it should not have to) so I go to my Brain Dump Spreadsheet and unload everything from the disorganized mess in my mind and into the document. I create a filter for all columns so I can sort the tasks based on the date the task is due, category, and input date. And when I complete a task, I simply remove the item from the list. I review and update this spreadsheet every day so I can prioritize and stay organized. It is a lifesaver.
I hope these tips have been helpful. As I mentioned earlier, they are simple and straightforward. They are easy enough to implement into your everyday routine. Like anything else, to get the most out of these tools, it takes practice. Add one of these strategies to your routine every week for the next four weeks and see how much more organized you feel!
When you work virtually, it can be hard to get to know the people on your team. At Your Realty Leverage, our staff members live all over the United States and the Philippines. We have “offices” in a variety of cities and states such as St. Petersburg, FL, Clarksville, TN, Durham, NC, and Baltimore, MD. And in the Philippines, our staff works all across the country from Cebu City to Negros to Manila. As the company grows, more people from more states and more cities join the team. Yet when there is no water cooler to gather around and no common area to relax in for break time, it can be challenging to get to know each other and to create meaningful shared experiences.
As we continue to both serve our clients and build our team, we recognize the importance of intentionality in creating opportunities for coworkers to connect in ways beyond department meetings and 411s. There are several things we do at YRL that I personally have enjoyed being a part of and have found value in in terms of getting to know my coworkers in a deeper way. I have made a list of these activities and am sharing them here in the hopes that your virtual team can benefit from them. Remember: being intentional is the key!
- Daily Stand Ups: Each morning, the entire company gathers on Zoom at the same time for a daily check-in meeting. This is a time and space we have intentionally created so that staff members have the opportunity to 1) share what they are thankful for/give gratitude for something in any aspect of their life, 2) offer shout outs to team members who have been helpful in a certain way, have a birthday or noteworthy occasion, 3) make general announcements, and 4) share an activity or information on a designated topic depending on the day of the week. We have created routine around bringing everyone together and starting the day with a common, unified experience. It makes me smile to see all the talking heads pop up on my screen as my coworkers join the Zoom room for our call.
Some Daily Stand Up experiences are simpler than others. We move through the agenda for the day and then continue with our workday. However, there are very special moments that come out of these meetings which help us connect in different ways. We learn about each other’s lifestyles, families, friends, challenging situations, personal growth and development, new ideas, travel experiences, and so much more. It can provide a new perspective on a coworker or situation that resonates with you personally. And it helps create stronger bonds and a greater understanding of everyone on our team.
- One-On-One Meetings: It is common for our team members to schedule a variety of one-on-one meetings each week, typically with the focus on moving a specific project forward or gaining the skills and information needed to complete a given task. While those meetings focus on work, there is an opportunity to get to know each other by interacting in these moments. I encourage everyone to take some time in one-on-one meetings to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues, to ask questions and build rapport with each other. We are so regularly focused on getting the job done that we can forget sometimes the human experience involved in getting us to reach a goal. Take time to learn about and from each other as you interact through your work
- Ice Breakers: At one of our recent Daily Stand Ups, a coworker led the team through an activity that really got us talking and laughing. It was a simple activity requiring that everyone comment on different categories and align ourselves with one side/option or another. Are you a dog person or a cat person? Do you prefer vacationing at the beach or in the mountains? Do you prefer sleeping in or getting up early? We were encouraged to respond via Zoom chat and, as we did, we commented on and went deeper with our answers. It created conversation and laughter, people joked with each other, others asked questions. We all got to be a part of the fun and we really enjoyed it. Incorporating ice breakers into your weekly routine can help contribute to breaking down barriers and aligning people in different ways.
- Happy Hour: On a Friday afternoon after a week of focus and hard work, it can be relaxing and enjoyable to gather with coworkers to debrief and transition into the weekend. Bring your own snack and a refreshing drink. Take off your blazer. Kick off your shoes and put your feet up. Let your hair down. Think about the challenges and the successes from the week. Recognize the accomplishments. Talk about plans for the weekend. And enjoy the company of your coworkers. Simply providing a chance for people to unwind and enjoy each other’s company can help build rapport.
- Culture Committee: Recently, we formed a Culture Committee to establish intention and structure around our company culture. We have not yet reaped the benefits of creating such a group. As time goes on, we will have different activities and there will be more opportunities for people to get to know each other. As the committee develops, I hope to write about how our culture has shifted and strengthened as a result of their work. Stay tuned for further blog posts with updates on being intentional with your team around getting together.