10 simple but effective CPD(continuous personal development) ideas

The key ingredient to successful CPD(continuous personal development) is having a growth mindset. You need an attitude that says ‘I’m going to do things to continually get better’. In some cultures however, CPD is looked at, and even presented (though not necessarily intentionally), as a bit of a chore. In that situation, do what you can to change the culture you are into a more positive and productive one or, simply put, do what you need to and get out when you can. A culture that doesn’t embrace CPD is only going to slow you down and hold you back. CPD is your friend and not your enemy.

Coming up with CPD ideas can be a challenge. Some employers will want you to pursue things that mean you are going to perform better in your role. But a key component of performance is doing things that you want to do in a way that you believe in. Here are some CPD ideas that can keep everyone happy.

Learn or start learning a new language

If you are reading this you probably speak English. But can you communicate in another language? Think of all the opportunities you may have open up to you if you can speak another language.

In addition to that, think outside the box a little bit. Isn’t computer programming technically a language? Isn’t music technically a language? For that matter, isn’t dance or painting technically a language?

A language is a way of interpreting, processing, and expressing information. If you’ve done it with one you can do it in another. The more versatile a communicator you are the better things are likely to become.

person holding sliced vegetable
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Look how to cook something new

Food is good. Eating is good. Cooking is… good. It’s a really complicated skill that many people may take for granted. Not only that but it can take up quite a large portion of your day. Also, what you eat has a significant impact on how you perform on a day to day. So, having better control and management over what you put in your body can only be a good thing.

Spend time visiting a different organisation (Maybe even a competitor)

If you are only relying on yourself for inspiration and motivation all the time then that can be a lot to ask of yourself. Why not reach out to an organisation you are interested in working in or just learning more about? Get a telephone number, get an address or an email and send them a message saying that if they could accommodate you it would be a pleasure to come and see how they do things.

It’s a great chance to network and meet new people. You’ll probably learn something new. If nothing else you’ll be able to confirm that the way you are doing things is the best way or could be done differently or better. You might even be able visit somewhere that you consider to be a ‘competitor’. Then you could really surprise yourself, especially if you find a way to collaborate and work together.

Spend time shadowing someone in a different role or in a different department

Whether your team and organisation is big or small shadowing someone else is more often than not going to be beneficial. You’ll be able to see how what you do impacts what a colleague does and vice versa. It can also sometimes really improve productivity and team chemistry.

Arrange a social event

Not everyone always feels like being social. But human beings are social creatures. A lot of the time people spend a lot of time together with people from work at work. Sometimes we spend more time with people at work than we do with our actual families. This is why it’s important to spend time with people outside of work. So that people can see a different side to you. So that you can take full advantage of the opportunity to talk about non-work related things.

You never know, colleagues might even be able to meet your friends or family. Ultimately, using your ability to bring others together is going to serve you well in the long run.

woman in white shirt and gray denim jeans standing in front of wall with posters
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Do something creative like art, dance, music, or acting

Progress and development is related to creativity. If you don’t feel or recognise how you are creative then how can you be creative? Everyone in any job requires the ability to be creative somehow. Whether it’s dealing with complaints, supporting customers, making products, providing a service, or even doing the finances all these things require creativity.

The easiest way to get creative is to do something creative that won’t cause any problems if it goes ‘wrong’. Being creative is as much about self-discovery and learning as it is about creating a masterpiece. Once you’ve developed your ability to be creative in one discipline or environment then you’ll have a much better chance of transferring it into another one like your job.

Do an honest and thorough self-assessment (and seek feedback)

Be harsh on yourself. But be realistic. Can you do things better? Could your habits and practices be better? Do you listen to the feedback and opinion of others?

Try and identify as many components about who you are and what you do and explore whether or not if they were different things would be better. Then once you’ve done that, do what you can to improve yourself.

Read a book / Write a book (Or an audio book or podcast)

It doesn’t have to be an international bestseller. It doesn’t even have to be a novel. But the process of churning out your ideas into something else that others can read will really test your skills, knowledge, and abilities.

If writing isn’t your thing, then maybe talking is? If so, try making an audio book or a podcast.

Watch some tutorials on YouTube

Read that title again. It doesn’t say watch YouTube. It says ‘watch some tutorials on YouTube’. Don’t just find time to watch a bunch of mind-numbing videos that aren’t going to test you or encourage you to learn something new. Identify something you want to learn or get better at and study it and practice it. If it directly helps you in your job hunt or current role then great. If it doesn’t, then do it anyway. Healthy habits create healthy habits. In time you’ll find the things that will directly help you more at work.

overhead shot of a man working
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Review your finances and your assets

Finally, something that is often massively overlooked by many. Reviewing your finances and assets. Your livelihood and well being is very likely directly linked to how well you manage your cash flow and assets(unless you are a survival skills specialist).

What money do you have coming in? What money do you have going out? Can you find better deals for the services and products you use and consume? What assets do you have? Are they efficient and cost effective? Could you change them for something else that means you would be in a more comfortable financial situation?

Many people often work hard and earn lots of money. But their lack of money management skills leaves them feeling stressed and struggling. That stress is going to impact performance. Address what you need in order to survive and then you can address what you need to do in order to thrive.


Born in Wolverhampton. Raised in Wolverhampton and Exmouth. Educated in Wolverhampton, Exmouth, and Kingston. Living in Exeter.

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