How to prioritise personal development at work

How to prioritise personal development at work

Posted byAlex Hepworth on

career growth

We all know that learning is important, but it can be hard to carve out time for it around everything else you need to get done.

But it’s easier than you might think to prioritise personal development at work — it’s all about building the right habits.

In this blog, we explain what personal development actually is, why it matters and how you can build a personal development habit.

What is personal development?

Essentially, personal development means improving yourself. It’s about setting a goal, working towards it and learning new things. Personal development isn’t necessarily work-related — it can be anything from improving your yoga practice to developing your cooking skills.

But in this article we’re focusing on the personal development that contributes to your career progression, the stuff that enables you to do a better job and market yourself in the best possible ways.

Why you need to prioritise your personal development at work

I get it. Everything’s important. And it can be hard to carve out time for personal development when you’ve got projects to deliver and KPIs to hit. Perhaps you view personal development as a nice to have. But, if you want to make real progress in the workplace, personal development needs to be a non-negotiable.

Here’s why you should be prioritising your personal development:

  • It’ll boost your confidence
  • It’ll increase your self-awareness
  • It’ll help you do a better job, fulfil your potential and achieve your goals at work.

How to prioritise personal development at work

Set goals

Start with a goal — it might be to learn how to do something specific, like creating a report in Google Analytics, or to master a skill. Then write down all the tasks you’ll need to complete to reach that goal, and set realistic deadlines.


Steve Jobs once said; ‘Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.’ And it’s true. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals — try to limit yourself to three — then break them down into bite size tasks.

When you’re ready to focus on your personal development goals, remove as many distractions as you can. Mark the time in your calendar and update your status so people know you’re busy. Let your boss know what your goals are and when you’ll be focusing on them — that way you won’t be worried about what they might think you’re doing (or not doing) and they can offer you support.

Establish a routine

It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. Schedule time every day to work consistently towards your goals — don’t relegate them to your eternal to-do list. Start small, and go at your own pace. Once you’ve established the habit, it’ll be far harder to break.

Use your learning budget

It’s there for a reason. Buy the book, enrol in the course, attend the conference.

Read more: How to use your engineering learning budget in 2022 >

Read more: How to spend your design learning budget in 2022 >

Measure your achievements

Measure your progress as you go, and flex your plan if you need to. Don’t be afraid to move the goalposts, or switch out a goal altogether if it’s no longer serving you.

And don’t forget to reward yourself when you hit a goal.

Progression can help

It’s easier to prioritise personal development at work with Progression. Follow these steps:

1. Work with your manager to create a career ladder for your role

Screenshot of a career ladder in Progression

With Progression, you can create a beautiful career framework in minutes, drawing from our extensive library of templates. Then, populate your framework with the skills needed to achieve each level of your role. It’ll make it so much easier to work out where you need to focus your personal development energy.

Find out more about Frameworks >

2. Identify areas of focus

Screenshot of Focus Skills in Progression

Once you’ve got your framework sorted, have a chat with your manager about how you’re progressing. Which skills do you need to focus on to ace your role and move up the ladder? Set these as your Focus Skills in Progression — you can choose up to three. You’ll see them right at the top of your Progression dashboard every time you log in, as well as a snapshot of your progress.

3. List out your tasks

Screenshot of Actions in Progression

Once you’ve worked out your Focus Skills, have a think about the tasks you’ll need to complete to master them. These are your Actions. You can add deadlines to each of your Actions, and mark them as complete when they’re done.

4. Add Wins

Screenshot of adding a Win in Progression

Every time you take a step towards your goal, add it as a Win. You can associate each Win with one or more of your Focus Skills to evidence your progress. Your manager and teammates can add Wins for you too.

Explore our career growth tracking tools >

5. Look back

Screenshot of a Check-in in Progression

All of your progress is captured in Progression. So when you’re ready to review how you’re doing with your boss, it’s super easy to look back. For something more formal, start a Check-in with your manager — we recommend doing one every three months.

Learn more about Check-ins >

6. Create a career habit

By using Progression regularly to plan, focus and reflect on your work, progress and aspirations, you can develop a powerful career habit, ace your personal development goals and own your career. Neat, huh?

Learn more about Progression → 

Talk to us →

Picture of Alex Hepworth

Posted by Alex Hepworth

Content Writer at Progression

Alex on LinkedIn

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