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5 Online Courses Knowledge Lovers Can’t Miss

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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 October 21, 2021

            How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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            How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

            Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

            Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

            The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

            Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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            Program Your Own Algorithms

            Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

            Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

            By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

            How to Form a Ritual

            I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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            Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

            1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
            2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
            3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
            4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

            Ways to Use a Ritual

            Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

            1. Waking Up

            Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

            2. Web Usage

            How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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            3. Reading

            How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

            4. Friendliness

            Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

            5. Working

            One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

            6. Going to the gym

            If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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            7. Exercise

            Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

            8. Sleeping

            Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

            8. Weekly Reviews

            The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

            Final Thoughts

            We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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            More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

             

            Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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