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5 Online Courses Knowledge Lovers Can’t Miss

5 Online Courses Knowledge Lovers Can’t Miss

As Peter Drucker put it, “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” Knowledge is more than memory. Memories can come back to us unbidden; knowledge can’t. We control knowledge; we use it as a tool to solve problems. Through knowledge, we come to understand problems are a good thing: they prompt solutions. A problem’s not a problem unless you make it one. Our quest for mind expansion, for using more of the brain than the 10 percent we have evolved to employ, is a quest to better the world. We’re not seeking knowledge as a vacuous, abstract exercise. Nor are we seeking to feed our narcissism. We don’t want power. We’re seeking knowledge because now, with the 21st Century screaming towards the quarter mark, and a means of communicating with the world at our fingertips, we’re more equipped than ever to improve the situation on a global scale. So here are 5 online courses you can take online to increase your knowledge quotient in a diverse array of subjects. And, who knows, with all that knowledge you may just land an excellent job.

Excel University  

excel university
     

    Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” No wonder the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) profession is certain to fetch you a reliable income. Excel University offers online courses available either online or in book form, and it’s anything if not thorough. Thoroughness earns Excel University accolades as an online resource: if you’re an accountant, you can use it to learn shortcuts and tricks, continuing your professional education. If you aren’t an accountant and just want to learn how to use the ubiquitous Excel program more efficiently, you can take the “lite” version. Also, the site provides a free evaluation course, so you can sample before you buy.

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    Adventures in Writing

    Adventures in Writing

      Anyone who values knowledge knows the value of being well-rounded. After you take Excel University, Adventures in Writing will provide a nice contrast. Stanford has an innovative approach with this one. The creative, graphic novel-style interface models what the writing instructors are trying to teach you. That is, you’ve got to know your readers and find the best way to present information to them. Adventures in Writing wins by recognizing the value of goal-oriented, empathetic writing.

      User Experience Design Training

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      UX design

        Learning website and app design will make you indispensable in today’s connected world. It’s extremely helpful to be able to ask your teacher a question in real-time and receive the answer as soon as they know it. This is one of the valuable features of AGI’s UX Design Training. Another value is the instructors. These are the articulate, knowledgeable authors of the Dummies and Digital Classroom books. AGI puts a premium on usability. You can request a headset to communicate with your instructor, or simply use your computer’s microphone. Just be aware this course is not self-paced.

        Big Data

        Big Data

          As the name implies, this one’s huge. Big data is not just a buzzword in the work-world—it’s the exponential increase and availability of data in our world. UC San Diego and Splunk hit the gigantic nail on the head by providing an inexpensive course to sort out what to do with all the raw data. Props to this course for not just explaining the subject. You’ll be reasonably challenged to apply what you learn with the Capstone Project.

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          Science and Cooking

          Science and cooking

            How innovative is this?

            You can either join the ongoing, live course, or access an archived version. You’ll not only learn recipes you can make in your own home, you’ll learn about the science behind why great meals taste how they taste. Kudos to Harvard for recognizing the online format affords mobility in learning. By this, I mean you learn from the chef in their kitchen and the scientist in the classroom. The final touch that deserves cheers: each week, you do an experiment in your own kitchen, a fine way of applying the material to your life.

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            Featured photo credit: University of Salford via flickr.com

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            Dan Matthews, CPRP

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            Last Updated on May 7, 2021

            Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

            Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

            I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

            Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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            Relocate your alarm clock.

            Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

            Scrap the snooze.

            The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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            Change up your buzzer

            If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

            Make a puzzle

            If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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            Get into a routine

            Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

            Have a reason

            Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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            As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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