Achieving Developmental Goals via Your To-Do List

At Envision Partners, I pride myself in helping you to identify strategies and methods of personal development that do not feel like an add-on. No matter what is on your list of developmental activities, being more efficient with your time is on that list somewhere.

Recently, one of my clients developed a very concrete strategy for maximizing his efficiency while incorporating developmental activities into his workweek. I was so excited that I’d like to share that strategy. (Names and lists are modified.)

John keeps this list of developmental goals in his desk. For example,

Give more specific and clear goals for my direct reports

            Increase my network outside of research area

            Create a vision for my team to guide our decisions and strategies

John also keeps a running to-do list of tasks along side his computer. This is probably similar to your strategy for keeping track of tasks. Each Monday morning, immediately after his group meeting, John goes to his office to plan his week.

John begins by sketching out a timeline of tasks based upon importance and urgency of each task.

Monday morning: call Rachel regarding the new data acquisition protocol

Monday afternoon: review data from the most recent lab tests

Tuesday morning: prepare slide set for director of product development

After creating the prioritized task list, John then looks at the developmental goals list in his desk and asks the question,

“Where on my to-do list can I also work on my developmental goals?”


One of the items on John’s development list is to increase his network outside of his own research area. Looking at his to-do list, John thinks that he could network with a colleague in a different research area to give him data for the slide set he is going to work on Tuesday morning. This extra bit of effort will make his presentation stronger, and it will give him a reason to reach out to this individual to whom he has never worked or spoken—a reason to reach out is all John really needs to overcome the fear of networking. In this way, John is not only working on his to-do list (getting his job done), John is working on his developmental goals. Efficient.

Part 2 of this series will be here on Wednesday! Keep an eye out for 5 specific steps to help you create a personal development strategy of your own!