Personal and Professional Development While Staying in Place

Some people are currently under mandatory stay in place orders and others are staying home out of a sense of social responsibility, but everyone is probably wondering what they are going to do with their newly expanded free time. As great as it’s been to catch up on TV shows and movies eventually, we’ll reach the end of Netflix and the internet. What happens then?

Social distancing is the perfect excuse to try something new, after all, you can’t embarrass yourself in front of strangers! So why not take that first yoga class, learn to draw, or some other activity you’ve been thinking about trying out.

Developing personal and professional skills is a great way to pass the time, engage in critical thought, and learn new things. We put together a list of lectures, courses, and other resources to develop your personal and professional skills, all are free and most of the courses take under 5 weeks to complete. Hope this gives people some ideas! 


It is a great time for some educational pursuits! There are a ton of free online courses that you can enroll in to learn new skills or learn more about a topic that has always interested you. Most courses offer a free version of each class and offer official certificates or additional materials for an additional cost. Here are some resources to find the perfect online class. 

10 Fun (and Free!) Classes You Can Start and Finish This Week

Short Online Courses from Future Learn

Free Online Classes from Coursera

20 Best Free Online Certifications & Courses for 2020

Professional Skills

The internet is filled with lectures regarding enhancing particular professional skills, here are a few that we think are great.

Time Management – Dr. Randy Pausch

Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques – Matt Abrahams

The Science Behind Effective Teams at Google – Prasad Setty

The Adaptable Mind – Tiffany Shlain & Let It Ripple Film Studio

Ted Talks

Remember Ted Talks? They are still a great resource to learn about new things and find some inspiration. Here are a few great ones to get you started.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek

The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown

The Surprising Science of Happiness – Dan Gilbert

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Why We Laugh – Sophie Scott

You Don’t Have to be an Expert to Solve Big Problems – Tapiwa Chiwewe

Dealing with Difficult People – Jay Johnson


What a great time to get creative! Here are a collection of classes and videos dedicated to inspiring the artist in all of us!

Skill Share – Art Classes

Looking For A Way To Engage Your Creativity? Free Online Art Classes Offer A Way


Diving into a great book is an excellent way to pass the time. Luckily there are plenty of opportunities to get free ebooks and audiobooks from a variety of sources.

Apple is Giving Free E-books and Audiobooks to People in the US

Where to Find Free eBooks During the Coronavirus Shutdown


It is important to engage in some physical activity everyday we are staying in place. Here is a great list of resources for free in home exercise courses and a list for exercise breaks for kids.

How To Exercise At Home: The 50 Best Free Online Workout Resources

Kids Exercise Videos: 7 YouTube Channels to Get Kids Moving & Grooving


Now is the perfect time to pick up yoga. It is calming, centering, and a great method of self-care. Starting as a newbie in a class can be intimidating – luckily there are a variety of free classes on different social media platforms. 

Never done yoga before? Start with Yoga for Complete Beginners on YouTube.

Yoga Instructor Courtney Anna is also offering free online classes via Facebook. Courtney works at Full Lotus Yoga, which also has an online virtual schedule with 3-4 classes per day.

Anxious and Stressed? Yoga Comes to the Rescue With These Free Online Classes

We hope this list helps inspire you to take on a new challenge and learn a new skill during our time social distancing. It is important to take advantage of the next few weeks in any way we can, adding to your skillset is a productive and hopefully fun way to find a silver lining in social distance.

Written by Gabe Murillo – Research Manager

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