6 Easy Ways I Sneaked Self-Development Into My Busy Schedule


Self-development is so vital to our mind, body, and soul balance, and yet it seems to be one of those items that seems to fall by the wayside as “real life” takes priority.

I’ve been using there 6 easy ways to keep my mind sharp without taking up much more of my time. It’s been a great way for me to find the balance my brain needs.

I Listen to Podcasts.

There are many times where our hands are full but our minds are empty (think: folding laundry). There are so many amazing podcasts out there on such a variety of topics that I could spend those 20 minutes actively learning about time management or new tech or scientific breakthroughs or really anything. Not sure what to listen to? Here’s a great list of podcasts that will make you smarter.

We Pause Our TV Shows.

Instead of passively (ie, mindlessly) watching a favorite TV show, why not turn watching TV into an active game? After the first 5 minutes, pause the show and try to guess what will happen later. What clues did you see that led you to think that? Do this again 15 minutes later and see what new clues have arrived. I have to credit my dad with doing this for us when we were younger which we found really annoying but now find interesting. Alternative option: start watching quiz shows like Jeopardy! and you may learn a thing or two as you’re relaxing.

I Participated in an Article Club.

Quality social time with friends is so important for my mental health and a priority for me. And while I am a member of a book club, more often than not this turns into a wine club without much book discussion. That’s because many of us busy ladies simply didn’t have time to read the whole book (or listen to the whole audiobook). So instead, a bunch of us created an article club where you all read and discuss an interesting article. It’s an amazing conversation because everybody can fully participate. Plus, any amount of analytical thinking you can do is great for your brain. Alternative option: start the day after book club listening to audio books so you can keep up with the next book club book.

I Follow Smart People on Social Media.

It’s great to know that my friend went to the gym this morning or that the line at Starbucks was long for a former co-worker today. It’s even better knowing that the Eurozone is crashing and that there’s been a medical breakthrough in cancer treatments. I have a variety of interests so I started following news organizations or experts who place these interesting tidbits right into my social media feeds. I’ve found myself “accidentally” being more informed without having to go out and search for news.

I Play Games That Also Help Me Learn.

Let’s face it, we didn’t exactly grow any brain cells playing Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja (even though they were so fun, amIright?). But I found that I can learn a lot of great vocabulary from playing Words with Friends. I even started to learn how to play Chess on my iPhone. If you’re a fan of gaming anyway, using that time to develop your strategic thinking just seems to make sense for me. I also occasionally play Sudoku and, though I am terrible, attempt a crossword puzzle every now and then. All of these are available as free apps for your phone so you can take your playing conveniently on the go. For more suggestions, here is a list of great education iPad apps for adults.

I Surround Myself in Inspiration.

Sometimes an uplifting reminder is all I need to change my mood and get me motivated again. I made little changes to my environment to make it more inspirational. For example, my sister sent me a really cute encouragement card that said “Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!”. It looks pretty, it has a great message, and it reminds me of a person who is always supportive and on my side. I framed the card and put it on my desk in my bedroom where I can see it every day. I also have a great planner with weeky inspirational quotes, notebooks with fun inspirational slogans on it, and have been known to leave a post-it note on the bathroom mirror as a morning pick-me-up.


In addition to reading this article, I challenge you to actually try out a method that might work for you! Reading this blog post is a great start on your journey – where will your next step in your journey take you? Leave a comment below letting me know what you ended up trying!

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