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You Need To Visit These 20 Websites If You Want To Learn New Skills

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You Need To Visit These 20 Websites If You Want To Learn New Skills

Are you still trying to think of a clever goal to work toward this year? How about challenging yourself to learn a new skill? Or even better, several!

Just imagine, by the end of the year you could be coding your own website, conversing in Mandarin, networking with ease, publishing your first book, or properly using that DSLR camera. You don’t have to leave your couch, much less take a student loan, to learn these and thousands of other skills from some of the best teachers and educational institutions in the world.

Whatever you can dream of learning, these 20 websites can probably teach it to you — maybe even for free. So, what are you waiting for? Make this year one of personal development!

Coursera

With more than 1,500 courses to choose from, Coursera can bring you new skills in practically any field a university offers — business, social sciences, math, life sciences, and humanities, to name a few. Coursera partners with 140 educational institutions across the globe to provide video lectures and interactive quizzes. You also get peer-graded assessments and social support from other learners. Some courses are free, while others cost up to $400 (this fee includes an official Certificate of Completion).

Skillshare

With an emphasis on “learn by doing,” Skillshare offers more than 2,500 self-paced classes spanning creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and technology. More than 200 classes are free, but if you want to unlock the rest, you can either pay per course or become a member for just $10 per month (after a two-week free trial). Skillshare encourages students to learn by uploading and collaborating on projects. While industry leaders like Seth Godin have taught many of Skillshare’s courses, the opportunity to become a teacher is now open to everyone.

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Cody

Cody’s mission is to combine the power of physical movement, technology, and community to help you become your best self. While the emphasis is on yoga and weight training, Cody also offers high-quality video plans for weightlifting and meditation. Plans are available for all levels, including “Gymnastics Core Virtuosity,” “FitFlow,” and “Power of Ceremony”. You can purchase discounted bundles or single plans, most priced at $39.99.

Udacity

Developed with industry giants such as Google, AT&T, Facebook, Salesforce, and Cloudera, Udacity offers hands-on “nanodegree” programs and credentials to help people become web developers, data analysts, and mobile developers. Each Udacity course includes several units with closed-caption video lectures and quizzes to help students understand concepts and reinforce ideas. Udacity programs cost $200 per month and vary in duration.

Lynda

A 20-year veteran in online learning, Lynda has amassed a library of 4000+ video-based online learning courses. Created by a pool of curated authors, the courses teach technical skills for developers, designers, educators, photographers, and marketers, as well as soft skills for business professionals. Unlimited access to all course content will run you about $25 per month after a 10-day free trial.

Udemy

With 35,000 courses and 19,000 instructors, Udemy is the 800-pound gorilla in the online learning space. Courses are offered across a breadth of categories, including business and entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, music, and technology. Udemy offers both paid and free courses, depending on the instructor, but most courses are priced between $29 and $299.

CreativeLive

As the name suggests, CreativeLive broadcasts live workshops with creative experts from around the world on topics such as photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software development. The site offers more than 600 classes that you can purchase à la carte for about $100 to $200 each. Or, you can watch unlimited live broadcasts for free. Each class includes dozens of lessons and bonus reading materials.

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Treehouse

Treehouse is where beginners and intermediate coders can learn or expand their web development and/or design skills. Treehouse has different tracks depending on your interests — you can start down the ruby web development track and detour into web design without missing a beat. With more than 1,000 high-quality videos, Treehouse is a great investment for beginners. Pricing starts at $25 per month.

Curious

The Curious model — bite-sized sections, attachments, and exercises — is based on the premise that people who “stretch their brain” for a few minutes a day are happier, more successful, and live longer. Curious offers more than 20,000 lessons: You can learn to tie camping knots, master card tricks, train a dog, bake a wedding cake, even develop an awesome memory. The lessons are accessible on any device, including Roku. After a lengthy “CQ Interview” to generate your personal “learning wheel,” you start a 30-day free trial and then pay $89.99 for a year of unlimited access. Curious says 70% of subscription fees are channeled back to the 1,700 teachers who provide the content.

Learnist

Often referred to as the Pinterest of online learning, Learnist is a crowd-sourced learning platform that features “learnboards” — images, videos, and text on topics such as technology, arts, crafts, history, and cooking. Learn to make latte art, win at Yahtzee, nail a job interview, or pack a suitcase like a flight attendant! Though most of the content is user-generated and free, Learnist now offers 99-cent premium boards created by experts.

GMB Fitness

GMB’s mission is to make you better at whatever activities you enjoy. With a curriculum of training programs that build strength, flexibility, and body control, GMB focuses on “movement re-education” and “physical autonomy”. Plans start with foundational movement, move to flexibility and strength, and finally shift to specific skills like using gymnastic rings and parallettes. GMB also offers an extensive library of free science-based articles and tutorials. Pricing varies, but you can purchase training plans individually or in bundles. Unlimited access costs $995.

America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School

Sharpen your knife skills, discover what your slow cooker can really do. Become a master griller, or learn to roast vegetables with America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School. Based on the recipes featured in Cook’s illustrated magazine, this well-established online cooking school offers a catalog of more than 200 courses, including Cooking Basics, Recipe Lessons, Technique Lessons, and In-Depth Courses. Membership also comes with access to the instructors for personalized guidance and support. Membership costs $19.95 per month or $179.95 for a year of unlimited access.

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Guides.co

A marketplace for how-to content on life, work, and small business, Guides.co features hundreds of “guides”. Examples include: ”How to Get Your First 1,000 Customers,” “The Ultimate Kitchen Organizer,” and so on. Structured like a book, the guides feature easy-to-navigate sections, interactive content, and discussion forums on each page. Guides can be updated by the author at any time, so unlike with a book, the content can stay current. Guides.co allows companies to create branded mini-sites to replace existing white papers, e-books, and how-to content. Guide pricing ranges from free (the majority) to $200.

Code.org

A non-profit organization and website, Code.org is on a mission to get adults and children alike interested in coding and computer science.The website includes free coding lessons for beginners. For those who want to dive more deeply into subjects such as javascript and iPad development, Code.org offers curated collections of the best learning resources from partners such as Grock Learning and Kahn Academy.

Duolingo

Do you understand Spanish but stumble when you try to speak it? Want to learn Italian before your trip to Rome? With Duolingo, you can learn 15 different languages in fun, bite-sized lessons. All it takes is 5 to 20 minutes a day. If you’re not a complete beginner, you can take a placement test to determine your starting point. Duolingo has yet to add Asian languages, but it is ad-free and offers all courses free of charge. Taking a test for an official Duolingo certificate of English fluency costs $20. Other language certifications will be added in the future.

Kahn Academy

Providing free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, the nonprofit Kahn Academy offers practice exercises and instructional videos in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, and economics, including prep for tests like the SAT, GMAT and MCAT. Catering to learners of all ages, Kahn Academy features online tools for parents and teachers who wish to monitor their child’s or student’s progress to see where they may need offline coaching support. Every Kahn Academy class is free; donations are welcomed and encouraged from those who can afford to contribute.

Drawspace

Internationally respected as one of the largest and most comprehensive art education websites, Drawspace is where you can master shading techniques, learn to sketch people and animals, create cartoons, or try your hand at acrylic painting. About 15% of the 428 lessons on Drawspace are free. An annual, unlimited membership costs about $150.

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edX

A nonprofit, open-source learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX offers nearly 200 wildly diverse courses. Want to learn Mandarin, accounting basics, supply chain management, or how to write a novel? You can do it at no cost, though a small donation is suggested. If you want an official certificate of achievement to add to your LinkedIn profile, you’ll pay about $50 per course.

Rouxbe Cooking School

Rouxbe is a members-only culinary community for motivated home and professional cooks. Offering instructor-guided certification courses for all levels, Rouxbe believes the most effective way to learn to cook is to understand the techniques behind recipes. A one-time initiation fee of $299.95 provides students with full access to site. In addition, students are charged $4.95 monthly for as long as they want access to Rouxbe’s content and service. Rouxbe’s online professional certification courses cost about $1,500, have a limited number of seats, and are designed for serious cooks and aspiring culinary professionals.

Highbrow

Born from a desire to help people gain new knowledge in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee, Highbrow emails you 5-minute lessons each day for ten days. You can choose from 56 free courses, taking one at a time. Anyone can create a Highbrow email course, so the topics are eclectic, ranging from “Superfoods You Should Know About” to “The Science of Happiness” to “A Brief History of Architecture.”

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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