Professional development, like personal development, is an ongoing activity. Many people think of sitting around a classroom or board room when they think of professional development. Listening to a speaker that may or may not be engaging and playing icebreaker games or team building with coworkers. But professional development doesn’t have to happen on the job. You can seek your own professional development opportunities, ones that are fun and creative. Here are five creative ways to build professional development on your own.
- Learn Poker
Poker offers a host of benefits for those that play it regularly, the most prevalent being developing your strategical skills. In a poker game you have to learn to read and analyze other people, determine if they’re bluffing or not, and assess if it’s the right time to take action on a hand that you may be holding. Poker also teaches discipline and the ability to learn from your mistakes, both valuable skills in the workplace.
- Play Strategy Games
Other strategy games that can help keep your brain sharp include solo games like Sudoku, or partner games like Chess. These games sharpen your mind and help you try to think ahead as you plan out your moves and where to place chess pieces or numbers in a grid. Crossword puzzles are another way to sharpen your mind and build your vocabulary.
Hosting game nights or going to game nights, where groups of people play board games together, like Risk, Settlers of Cataan, or even Monopoly, can help you network and meet new people in addition to helping to develop strategy skills.
- Start Meditating
Meditation has proven benefits for both your personal and professional life, helping to manage anxiety and stress. It can help clear your mind, enabling you to think more clearly and perform better on the job. There are many styles of meditation from transcendental to guided meditation. Whether you find a yoga studio to do a meditation class or use an app on your phone for instant mini-meditation breaks, the options are unlimited.
Find something that you’re passionate about and start volunteering. Volunteerism can fuel a passion, provide a sense of purpose, and even add to your marketable skills. Options for volunteering exist in almost every field you can imagine. If you love animals, you can volunteer with the Humane Society or a local animal rescue. If you like to work with kids, organizations like The Boys and Girls Club can be a great place to start. If you prefer working with the elderly or those experiencing medical issues, nursing homes, hospitals, and other medical facilities rely on volunteers for many tasks. You can even parlay your favorite sport into an opportunity to give back. Not only does volunteering look good on your resume, but you get to meet new people.
- Pick up a Creative Hobby
Nurturing your creative side can help you feel more relaxed and provide a way for you to express your feelings. Painting, knitting, and coloring, are all repetitive actions that allow you to relax, which can lead to more productivity in the workplace. Knitting and crocheting also require mathematical thinking which can sharpen your math skills if you work with numbers regularly.
Professional development doesn’t have to mean sitting in a classroom listening to a speaker. You can build professional development on your own by doing things you love and letting those activities help grow your career.