By Sarah Davies
Personal development is crucial not only for you, but also for your children. If you’re not living a life that allows you to explore and realize all of your potential, you’re limiting your future. Building a fruitful future for yourself also means building a fruitful future for your children – they’ll probably be counting on you when it comes time to pay their college tuition, and someone needs to supply them with the necessities until they’re packing up and heading to their dorm.
Personal development is a set of activities that improve awareness and identity, allow us to develop new skills and discover talents, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of our aspirations and dreams.
Even if you’re already busy managing your family and work, with a little bit of determination it’s possible to find ways to incorporate personal development projects into your schedule. Of course, it might take you a long time to reach your goals. However, there are few things more satisfying and valuable than knowing that each day you spend on personal development, you get closer to becoming a better version of yourself.
It might be hard at times to differentiate between what’s most important in the short term and what’s important in the long term, but at the end of the day, every inch of progress you make benefits everyone you love.
Take Some Shortcuts
Simplify all of the things you need to do on a daily basis. By taking as many shortcuts as possible, you’re freeing up more time you can use to read those books and explore those job opportunities.
Get a robotic vacuum. Plan and prepare meals ahead of time. Automate everything you can automate. When you’re a busy parent, every moment counts. Saving twenty minutes per task across three tasks is a whole free hour you can use to focus on bettering yourself.
Develop With Your Children
Personal development encompasses a wide range of growth, including learning and mastering new skills. You might be able to learn these skills and develop strengths with your children. Learning a new language might increase your career opportunities, or at least make you more valuable to potential employers.
There’s no reason why you can’t bring your children on that journey with you. It’s something everyone can do together, and it’s easier to grow in unison when you’re all passionate about the same goal.
Take a Parent Vacation
If you want to take a deep dive into your personal development, this might mean setting your other obligations aside. If you can arrange to have a child free weekend every once in a while, you can devote a large block of time to uninterrupted personal development. Have your spouse do your part of the work for a few days, or send the kids off to spend some time with their grandparents. They get away from you for a while, which promotes their independence and autonomy, and you don’t have to worry about them.
Maximize The Value of Away Time
You’ve likely realized that it’s much easier to accomplish things while your children are at school, even if you still work when they’re at home. Do they have any extracurricular activities? Encourage your children to play a sport, learn an instrument, or even join a drama production. They’ll be growing, and you’ll have a little more time to do some growing of your own.
Just make sure your child selects an activity they’re genuinely interested in – they’ll want to stick with it for the long term, and they’ll be making progress while you’re making progress.
Establish Your Priorities
While personal development is important, the venture shouldn’t overshadow the things that really mean the most to you as a parent. You don’t want to miss school plays or scout troop events because you’re focused too narrowly on the future. Etch out specific times and dates where you definitely need to be with your children, and plan out your personal development activities to avoid overlap. You don’t need to sacrifice much to have it all.
Make Time for Personal Development
Life is both about being there for your kids when they need it most and being there for yourself when you need it most. Your children are an incredibly important part of your life, but they aren’t your entire life. Someday, you’ll want them to be functioning and independent members of society who value their own personal development, and the best thing you can do is lead by example.
Sarah Davies is an education and career blogger who enjoys sharing her tips for self-improvement and development with job-seekers, students, and busy parents. Currently supporting Open Colleges, Sarah might often be found online, listening to motivational podcasts or reading travel blogs. Feel free to follow her on @sarah_davies_au.