If you feel guilty for taking a second to read this blog post because you have so much going on at work you're not alone. Nearly 80% of today's workforce report feeling stressed and having too many responsibilities at work. Even though you're busy with to-do items from your boss, you should always keep a spot open in your schedule for personal development. While you may not have the time to run off to an industry conference or take a full class at the local community college, everyone can carve out time in their week for these steps. Show your career some love this week and do one of these four things just for yourself. We know you deserve it.
1) Update Your LinkedIn
You may have noticed that LinkedIn looks a bit different. Spend 5 minutes with this blog post to see what's new with the social site. Want to take it a step further? Consider making small tweaks to your profile. Having an up-to-date, completed page goes a long way, especially considering it might be the very first impression you make for someone. Start by updating your profile picture to a more professional-looking headshot, then try customizing your own URL. These are both easy fixes that make a big difference in how you come across to potential employers, or possible clients. Have some time to take on a complete overhaul? Check out our blog post on optimizing your LinkedIn page.
2) Master a New Skill
Whether you've always wanted to know how to edit those videos of the office renovation, or more about writing excellent emails that don't end up in the trash bin, there's probably a class for that. The best part? Many of them are free. Try looking through Khan Academy or Lynda, to see if something they offer interests you.
Not sure where to start? Try a signing up with a company like, Highbrow. They'll send you a 5-minute educational video covering everything from meditation practices to thought-provoking science questions to your inbox each morning. If you do truly master something, don't forget to add it to you resume, and of course, your LinkedIn profile.
3) Listen to a Podcast
While first we recommend getting away from your desk during lunch, most of us just can't seem to make that happen each day. But, instead of perusing Facebook and high school acquaintance's cat photo for the third time while gnawing on your sandwich, take a look at listening to a podcast. A few we have lined up? How I Built This which covers business success stories like those of Richard Branson and the owner of DryBar. Also, our own Elizabeth Dukes discusses learning from your mistakes in her recent chat with Business Machine.
4) Watch a TED Talk
TED is a non-profit organization that brings together presenters to help share their ideas in the form of short, "talks", and boy are they powerful. You've probably heard of these talks, or even seen a few of our blogs highlighting our favorites. The brightest minds of our time explore their research and share experience on topics that nearly everyone can relate to.
Below you'll find two talks that are well worth the watch. First is Simon Sinek's emotion-filled discussion on being an effective leader, and the latter is Tim Urban's presentation which is sprinkled with humor. They're both under 15-minutes.
BONUS: Take a Walk Before Work
Here's a little extra credit assignment for you. While this isn't a professional development task, it's certainly a personal one! Studies show daily exercise can increase your focus and concentration at work by 10%. Even a 20-minute walk around your office building should do the trick. If you're sitting for the majority of your day, take a few minutes before you hit the grind by enjoying a few minutes outside. It's best to do this in the morning, but during lunch or even before you head home for the day. If 20 minutes seems daunting, try for a 5-minute walk, and gradually increase your time.