Personal Development for Busy People

One of the number one reasons we don’t follow through on something is because of the time commitment it takes to get it done. We’re all busy people, so when it comes to working out, reading that book the internet is raving about, or starting up a new hobby that you think looks interesting, the number one justification is “I don’t have time for that!”

I consider myself “busy people.” Until recently I was working 2 jobs (1 full/1 part time), helping my dad with housework at his place once a week, working out regularly, and trying to have a healthy pregnancy. When I was juggling all of those things, I did still manage to find time to incorporate personal development in my schedule. Here’s how:

Listening to podcasts. Podcasts are a great way for on-the-goers to work some personal development into their day. You can listen on your commute if you’re driving, taking the bus/train, or even walking. I also like to catch up on podcasts when I’m doing chores like dishes or folding laundry. Listening to a few episodes of “Side Hustle School” makes things feel less tedious.

Reading. Probably one of the most difficult personal development mediums for me to follow through with is a book. It’s the easiest one for me to bail out on at the end of the day when I start winding down. Do I really want to read this book that’s going to make me think more after a day of thinking, or should I just watch South Park and completely veg out? Knowing that this is the easiest way for me to self-sabotage, I started bringing my book to the gym after work and reading on the elliptical. Some days I will set my alarm 15 minutes early and spend that time reading before doing my morning routine. If audio books are your thing, you can also listen to personal development books using the same tips from the podcast section above.

Please appreciate that it was very difficult to snap a picture of me reading while also maintaining balance on the elliptical.

Online Learning. To me, online learning is anything from signing up for a 30 day course of some sort, following a certain blog/topic, or enrolling in an online class. These all have varying levels of commitment, but regardless you’ll want to have an internet connection and a computer/tablet/phone so you can participate. The next is creating the time to get online solely for personal development reasons (i.e. not Facebook). For an online course, you’ll obviously need more time than reading someone else’s blog posts, which you can do standing in line for groceries or on the bike at the gym.

Asking Other People. If you’re at a loss for what podcast to listen to or what book to read next, ask someone you know who is into that sort of thing. All of the podcasts I listen to were recommended to me by someone else. When I was looking into things like personal fitness certification and starting a blog for fun/just because, I asked for recommendations for books to read and started paying more attention to different techniques/plugins used on my favorite bloggers’ websites.

What do all of these things have in common?

No matter how you decide to get your personal development fix, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.

  • Know your weaknesses. For me, that’s the desire to wind down at the end of the day and watch something brainless on t.v. Knowing this, I incorporate personal development time into a workout, while I’m doing chores, or by setting my alarm earlier in the morning.
  • Find something you’re genuinely interested in. If you’re already a busy person, it’s going to be even harder to motivate when you’re dedicating time to something you have “meh” feelings about. Find something that you want to pursue and it’s amazing how much harder you’ll work to make time for it.
  • Make the time. Speaking of making time, one of my favorite time related quotes is “You have just as many hours in the day as Beyonce.” Even if it’s not an ideal amount of time, spending 10 minutes on something every day is better than spending no minutes. You can also think of personal development as a way of shortcutting your learning time because you’re learning from an expert and that will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Be Organized. One of the best tips I’ve heard from Side Hustle School was that if you’re a busy person trying to work a side hustle, organization is key. If you only have half an hour of time set aside to work on a project, have an agenda before you sit down so you can get right to it instead of spending 5-10 of those minutes hemming and hawing about where to start. Making lists at the end of a work day or as you go to bed can be a great way to have ‘what’s next’ ready to go for next time.
  • Make yourself accountable. When you’re busy, it can be easy to just say “Eh, there’s always tomorrow.” The problem is when you keep pushing things to tomorrow you’ll never get them done. Find a way to make yourself accountable for personal development- if it’s a matter of paying for something because that makes you feel accountable, then consider signing up for an online course. If you’re more accountable when it comes to other people, find a friend who also needs some accountability help and make it a weekly check-in. Click here for the blog we wrote about accountability partners if this is going to be part of your lifestyle.

More reading when I couldn’t fall back to sleep on Saturday morning. Great way to start the day!

No matter what type of personal development you’re trying to pursue, there is always a way to fit it into your schedule! Try some of the tips mentioned above and find out what motivates you.

If you have any tricks for fitting personal development into a busy schedule, or recommendations for books/podcasts/etc, please comment or send us a message!

Our online course, Internet Marketing For Artists, is online and ready for you! For $30 and 30 days, you can learn the basics of online marketing, search engine optimization, and business marketing best practices for your artistic business… all in 15 minutes a day or less. Click here to learn more or sign up:


Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Self Taught Vs. Taking A Class

This blog posts, as many do, started with an interaction on Facebook. Below (orange) is a woman who needs help and in blue is one of my friends responding to her:


So I am teaching a website class in my hometown (Fort Kent Maine) in January.

Later on in the thread (I jump in and tell her to come to the class because it’s not expensive and very good):


Now I am proof you can take ‘self taught’ to another level. I have three bachelors degrees (that’s another story) but none of them are in communications, marketing, or web design. But even I take classes, seminars, and workshops from others in my field for the following three reasons:

I don’t know what I don’t know.

The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know about a topic. That’s why most people feel dumber their senior year of college than they did their freshman year. They definitely know more… but they are now aware of what they don’t know.

Our orange friend above is aware there are gaps in her knowledge. But she is unsure of what they are since her learning didn’t have a syllabus, she’s learned things as she’s needed to know them, not necessarily how they relate to each other. A good class or book gives you a great general outline and show you what you ought to know.

Getting a vocabulary.

Based on the item above, a good course teaches you a new vocabulary required for your field.

Have you ever tried to do a Google search with a general topic:


Versus a specific topic:


Note the second screenshot had ads that I covered up. The first one did not. In other words, people who did the second query tend to be better customers (and are reached out to more by businesses) than people who ask the very general question.

A class can give you the words you need to do better web searches, can give you book titles the instructor has read (versus reviews from know-it-alls on Amazon), can tell you what products they use daily (not because they are paid to by a website but because they genuinely like them)… and all this can better help yourself in the future.

Seeing someone else’s reasoning/point of view.

Recently, I went to a very basic social media seminar put on by another marketer (Nancy Marshall of Nancy Marshall Communications). And guess what? I learned some things. Because not only is Nancy a great speaker but she’s been doing PR for almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Seeing another point of view, different examples, etc. gives me some much needed other perspective on what I’m doing.

Taking a class, even on a topic you think you know a lot about, will give you new ideas and ways of looking at information. And you’ll likely meet people in the class you can either help out ($) or you can get other people’s opinions (both the instructor and people in the class) about what you are working on.

Even the self taught need to be taught by someone else once in awhile… so if you haven’t taken a class in awhile, I encourage you to do one. It makes you remember what it’s like to learn new topics and helps you do whatever you are trying to do better.

Those who can, teach. And those who can are also taught.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.