This year, my goal was to be more focused and that included professional skill development. I thought I’d update everyone on how that’s going and share what I’ve been working on.
Because I’m someone who likes to keep track of things and I need to visually observe progress, I knew I had to create a system that laid it all out. Airtable has many uses for me and this is one where the professional development tracker would shine.
If you’ve never used Airtable before, it’s basically a fancy spreadsheet. You can link between tabs, add different views within a tab, and group/sort/color to your heart’s content.
How to copy the Airtable template
Use this link to sign up for an account. This is an affiliate link: if you click on it and verify your email address, I receive $10 in credit. It’s forever free to use. If you want additional features (I did not use them in this template), you’ll need to pay for a plan.
Use this link to view the template or click through the embed below.
How I use this Airtable
To use this, I’ll walk you through a few important parts. I already do professional development throughout my week. It could be something as simple as looking up some information. Or, every other week, sorting through my articles to put together my coffee marketing newsletter. What I decided to put in here is everything I wasn’t familiar with or wanted to learn more about. Things that would take more than 10 minutes to read, digest, and/or understand.
If you do not usually do focus on professional development, then you might find it useful to put a lot of info into the table. That’s okay, too! If you’re into tracking everything, you might find this template (not by me) more useful.
When I come across something I think would be useful in my professional development, I add a new line in the appropriate category. If the category doesn’t exist yet, I add a new one.
I’ve set aside two hours each week to deliberately work on professional development. Every week, I look at the table to see what I’d like to work on.
For those that I think are higher priority, I’ll mark their status as “next.” I added “ongoing” for items that will take a while, like my weekly photo challenge. To easily view my accomplishments, I’ll switch the Names tab to the Kanban view and see what’s next and what I’ve done.
Tips on using for personal professional development
So here are some hot tips for this specific template.
- If you click “Copy Base,” it’ll copy the entire sheet, all the tabs, and even content if you’d like. When using templates, I find it easier to copy over content even if I’ll end up deleting it all later.
- Type: The topic that the content is. For me, I identified the different topics I wanted to focus on learning. I really want to emphasize here that you do not need to separate coffee out into different categories. You also don’t have to put every piece of content you consume in here.
- Rating: This is currently set at a maximum of five stars but you can change this. I thought it’d be a nice reminder to myself what I thought about the item. Things aren’t always going to be interesting or helpful.
- The Format and Type tabs automatically calculate how many of each format and type are listed in the first tab. Just some fun stats.
The Names tab dropdown has four different views. There’s the grid by type view, where I usually start and enter info. But there’s also a view by Kanban if I want to move my cards easily from “haven’t started” status to “working on.” And if you like simplicity, I created a form view that you can then generate a link from. Bookmark the link and you can easily fill it out every time you come across some new content. Or, share the link and have others send you things to read.
Customize the Airtable to your liking
There are many ways to customize this for yourself. If you have time constraints, add a column for time. Add your estimate on how much each piece of content can take. This way, you’ll be able to plan out your future skill-building sessions. One course might take three sessions.
Add writers, brands, or podcast titles. Connect them to a new tab so you can easily see if you’re enjoying (or favoring) one person’s writing over others.
Add staff members to tabs. Make it a staff tracker! Add a new tab, add your staff as the first column, link it up to the first tab, and start tracking who has read what.
Airtable has some excellent uses and I’m excited to share this template with you! I hope you’re able to find it useful in your own professional development tracking. Email me or tweet me @thejennchen if you have additional questions or suggestions!