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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

            A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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            Last Updated on July 13, 2020

            How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

            How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

            Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

            If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

            1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

            The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

            Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

            For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

            The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

            2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

            Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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            As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

            Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

            3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

            Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

              This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

              We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

              Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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              When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

              Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

              4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

              Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

              For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

              Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

              5. Make Decisions

              For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

              If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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              If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

              Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

              I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

              This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

              The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

              6. Take Some Form of Action

              Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

              The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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              It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

              Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

              The Bottom Line

              Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

              When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

              More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

              Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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