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25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life

25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life

Have you been spending too much of your time on social media recently? Is that making much of your internet usage wasteful? Social media can be so addictive, so much that we spend hours on it without really noticing.

While social media does contribute in healthy discussions and is also our primary source of news and ideas at times, it’s equally likely to encourage us to refrain from learning something useful in our lives. It’s very important to keep our social media usage in check if we want to enrich ourselves with great learning experiences and upgrade our lives.

Here are 25 great websites which you should check if you want to escape from the vicious trap of social media and live a life full of knowledge, joy, and inspiration.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera offers MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on wide range of subjects from hundreds of institutions and renowned professors. You can teach yourself anything from history to programming and learn with a large online community. You can receive a world class education right from your home for free and develop a solid background in a subject area of your interest.

    2. edX

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      edX is another MOOC platform where you can take online courses from the finest universities in the world. It was initiated as a joint venture by MIT and Harvard University. It also offers hundreds of courses in different subject areas, similar to Coursera.

      3. Khan Academy

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        At Khan Academy, you can access a wide-ranging library of interactive content on almost every subject out there. You don’t only learn those subjects through wonderful videos, but you also have chance to practice on the subject regularly and keep track of your learning. It’s a great platform to both learn new things and expand on earlier knowledge.

        4. Udemy

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          Udemy is also a MOOC provider, but unlike academic MOOC providers like Coursera and edX, it focuses on providing real-world skills online. It offers courses on topics from building an ecommerce site and playing guitar to photography. It’s actually a marketplace for online learning, where experts on different subjects offer you lessons, either for free or at a certain price.

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          5. Quora

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            You can learn almost anything on Quora from experts and recognized people, as well as not-so-famous people. This is a question-answer platform where users ask and answer questions. But, unlike other similar sites, the user profiles are authentic and questions and answers are managed according to their uniqueness and relevance.

            6. Stack Overflow

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              Stack Overflow is probably the single most important site for a programmer. If you’re a programmer, or want to learn programming, this site should easily be your best friend. At this question-answer site for programmers, you can ask questions about your computing difficulties and learn from other people’s answers.

              7. Codeacademy

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                At Codeacademy, you can learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, and Python in a very easy and interactive way. It makes programming a fun activity and is very handy for beginners starting at programming. However, the depth it covers is very shallow and this site is helpful only for introductory knowledge of the subject.

                8. Tutorialspoint

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                  Tutorialspoint is another programming and computer science related site on this list, which helps you master different computer-related topics. It provides in-depth knowledge, unlike Codecademy. You can grow on the basic foundation provided by Codeacademy and achieve mastery on anything from Big Data to App Development at Tutorialspoint.

                  9. eHow

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                    eHow teaches you wide array of skills on different topics step-by-step. The content is created by its team of writers, called experts, who create how-to guides on topics from personal hygiene to food recipes. You can learn anything from making a Raspberry Pi Alarm clock to making a scarecrow for your garden.

                    10. Wikihow

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                      WikiHow is another how-to site teaching us how to do things in an organized manner, but it has been modeled as a Wiki. At eHow, the staff themselves are paid to create the guides, but at Wikihow, everyone can edit, modify, and delete content. So, it’s not just about learning — you can also teach others the valuable skills you possess.

                      11. HowStuffWorks

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                        HowStuffWorks is another wonderful website to broaden your horizons, providing you with very unique and interesting information on a wide range of topics. It contains articles focusing on issues which haven’t been explored much previously. If you want to move an inch closer to the truth, this is surely the website you should visit often.

                        12. TED

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                          According to TED, its mission is to spread ideas that are worth spreading. It features talks on variety of topics by experts in their fields who share their ideas, visions, and experiences through video talks. These talks are great way to introduce yourself very quickly and effortlessly to new concepts and develop new insights and perspectives.

                          13. Lumosity

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                            Lumosity is a great website to improve your mental faculties like memory, attention, and analytical skills. You can train your brain with fun games, and it also offers you personalized training programs to restructure the training as per your needs and keep track of the progress. Its objective is to make you clever, and it’s quite addictive as well.

                            14. Duolingo

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                              Duolingo is an award-winning platform that helps you learn and master new languages with minimal effort. It provides you advanced skills in several popular languages, such as Spanish, English, German, and French. It makes language learning a very easy and fun process and it’s completely free as well.

                              15. Instructables

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                                Instructables is another wonderful site you should definitely choose over social media, which teaches you to create things. It offers you fun videos and instructions to build just about everything that you can imagine, from a cardboard batman cowl to water balloon mortar. You can also share what you can make with other people.

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                                16. Digital Photography School

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                                  Digital Photography School is probably the most important photography blog out there, which offers plenty of tutorials to improve your photography skills. It doesn’t matter if you’ve years of experience under your belt or you’re just starting out, this site will surely help you grow as a photographer. It also provides you the opportunity to connect with a community of fellow photographers.

                                  17. All Recipes

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                                    At All Recipes, you can find recipes for almost all kind of dishes. You can even enter ingredients and find possible dishes you can cook with your available list of ingredients. There are very easy and quick-to-cook recipes as well, so you can satisfy your palate in a short time and without much hastle. This one is definitely the site to help you embark on a cooking adventure.

                                    18. Spreeder

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                                      Reading quickly is an ability desired by many of us but also one which very few of us possess. Spreeder is there to help us achieve exactly that. It is an online speed-reading software that aims to help us improve our reading speed, and comprehension capabilities as well, and is completely free.

                                      19. Project Gutenberg

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                                        Project Gutenberg offers you more than 50,000 eBooks, all for free. You can download these books in ePUB, Kindle, or PDF formats, or you can even read them online. This site is completely legal as well, since the books available are ones with copyrights that have expired or that have been made free for non-commercial use by the publishers.

                                        20. Investopedia

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                                          Investopedia is your ultimate finance guru that teaches you everything you need to know about financial trends and also helps you to keep your own personal finance in their best shape. With this site, you can teach yourself about investments, share markets, liquidity, accounts, and much more. There are abundant tutorials and videos to help you with that as well.

                                          21. Curious

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                                            Curious provides you with more than 17,000 lessons in almost any topic. As the site states, its mission is to help you learn something new every day and you can start it for free, but you have to pay certain amount to get unauthorized access.  You can learn from the world’s best teachers in topics spanning across humanities, STEM, music, relationships, and more.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Memrise helps you learn new things in small chunks. It offers small-sized learning packages in a wide range of topics, from language learning, arts and literature, history, and geography to math and science. The lessons are additive in nature, meaning you learn small packages at a time and build upon earlier packages to learn advanced skills.

                                              23. Zen Habits

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                                                Zen Habits is one of the best motivational blogs on the web, which aims to help you find simplicity amidst the chaos of your daily life. It helps you get rid of the mess and focus on the things that are important and that matter the most to you. The site’s design also embodies its principle, as it’s minimalistic and publishes only the best and most meaningful articles.

                                                24. Brain Pickings

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                                                  Brain Pickings is not just another productivity blog in the crowd out there, it’s one of the most soulful and inspiring blogs on the web. It features thoughtful and analytical articles on topics related to literature, spirituality, creativity, and personal growth. Its focus is on things that truly help us grow and things that really matter, and the blog’s not very hard to keep up with either, as it posts few but powerful articles.

                                                  25. Psychology Today

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                                                    Psychology Today teaches you about various facets of human psychology, helping you to understand the ways in which people behave. Its rich pool of articles help you fathom different aspects of human life, such as relationships, neuroscience, addiction, motivation, amongst others. You can benefit by applying these principles to the betterment of your life.

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                                                    Nabin Paudyal

                                                    Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                                                    Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                                                    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                                                    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                                                    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                                                    I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                                                    I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                                                    Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                                                    How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                                                    Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                                                    Create a Positive Experience

                                                    Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                                                    When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                                                    What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                                                    Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                                                    As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                                                    Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                                                    Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                                                    Help Leadership Skills

                                                    It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                                                    Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                                                    As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                                                    Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                                                    If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                                                    Build Better Teams

                                                    Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                                                    In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                                                    If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                                                    When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                                                    Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                                                    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                                                    There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                                                    Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                                                    1. Listen

                                                    Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                                                    Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                                                    People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                                                    Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                                                    Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                                                    2. Know Your Audience

                                                    Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                                                    Here is a good way to think about it:

                                                    Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                                                    You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                                                    3. Minimize

                                                    I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                                                    He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                                                    Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                                                    State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                                                    The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                                                    4. Over Communicate

                                                    So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                                                    What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                                                    Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                                                    Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                                                    Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                                                    There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                                                    5. Body Language

                                                    The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                                                    When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                                                    In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                                                    When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                                                    Conclusion

                                                    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                                                    Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                                                    There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                                                    Now go communicate your way to success.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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