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10 Resources To Upgrade Your Grammar And Writing Skills

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10 Resources To Upgrade Your Grammar And Writing Skills

English grammar is something that is treasured by everyone. We all want to improve on our grammar skills so that we are able to communicate with some level of mastery. Being able to construct grammatically correct sentences is not only seen as a skill but as a treasure that everyone yearns for. It is because of this that grammar lovers have created online channels that can help an individual enhance their English grammar skills so that they can be fluent when they speak the language. In addition to improving your grammar, the websites can also assist you while improving on your writing skills, so that you can dazzle people with your accurate and correctly constructed sentences.

So here’s a list of ten free online resources that can help an individual improve their English grammar and writing skills.

1. EssayMama’s Essay Writing Guide

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    The writing guide is perfectly suited for young writers and the students. The user community of this site is made up of persons who are just at the beginning of their writing experience and are most likely looking to get some basic information about English grammar and writing.

    With EssayMama’s Essay Writing Guide you can expect to gain a lot of tips and advice that is designed to ultimately help you improve both your grammar and writing skills. You’ll get practical pieces of advice that can help to boost your writing in a structural and grammatical sense. Despite the fact that the advice given is centred on essays, you can use it in any other writing and it will still work wonders.

    2. Grammar Monster

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    Grammar monster

      From the name itself, you cannot expect anything less than exquisite grammar lessons. With this website, the grammar lessons are broken down into easy-to-use chunks so that an individual can be able to digest the content. Are you someone with a smattering of English writing and grammar knowledge and are looking forward to improving on the same? If so, then this is the ideal website that will answer all your needs.

      Even if you are well advanced in your skills, you can still use this website as a platform where you can check your skills to see if indeed you are on the right track. The resource also offers users an opportunity where they get to remind themselves of some concepts that may have slipped them. The best part about this online resource is that it is available for free and can be used by both adults and children.

      3. Guide to Grammar and Writing

      guide to grammar and writing

        The resource material that is available here is great. If you are looking for a much more detailed approach to your English grammar, then you need to use this particular online resource. It guarantees you accurate and helpful information on your grammar and writing skills.

        The most disappointing thing about the resource is that it somehow presents individuals with difficulties in as far as navigation is concerned. This feature has only limited the usage of this resource to only the experienced learners. The fact that it is more or less like reading a book on grammar means that some people may have quite a hard time reading through. However, if you have a few hours within a week to dedicate to this online resource, you are likely to gain a lot more than by using other resources.

        4. The Writing Centre for Writing Studies

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        center for writing studies

          As one of the most advanced online resource available for learners, The Writing Centre for Writing Studies is an ideal match for individuals who are into studying specific English styles and functions. The resource is very detailed and contains materials that are also applicable to the beginners or rather the inexperienced young writers. The resource can allow you to conduct some in-depth research about English concepts, read on the basics of speech, writing and how you can relate the two.

          5. Using English

          usingenglish

            Individuals who have English as their second language are best advised to make the most of this online resource. The resource is particularly ideal when it comes to helping learners test their own skills.

            Perhaps the most standout section in this entire online resource is the English reference section. The resource comes equipped with a list of English Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, Grammar Glossary, and English Irregular Verbs. For someone who is not a native speaker, these reference sections are very important when they are introduced into the language. With Using English, you get an opportunity to learn about things that your tutors are not going to teach you.

            6. Exam Time

            examtime

              The range of quizzes is what makes this website amazing for learners. Apart from that, the rest of the website can be quite annoying. Exam Time was designed for individuals who are known to be good at revising content using quizzes. The website is designed in such a way that most of the problems found in the web page revolve around website loading and sketchy content. In case you are more of a research person, Exam Time will not cut it for you. To make the most of this website, you may opt to use it as a supplementary resource.

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              7. Get Revising

              getrevising

                This website offers assistance to both the young and the older learners. The website is designed in such a way that it starts by providing information and advice to the younger students and the inexperienced group who are known to have limited English skills. From here, it goes all the way up to the persons who are studying English in college and university. The website is a hub in as far as finding new studying ways is concerned and also goes a long way in helping both the young and the old improve their English skills.

                8. Study Guides and Strategies

                studygs

                  Beginners don’t have to bother themselves with this website. Study Guides and Strategies is specifically designed for individuals who are known to have plenty of English writing skills and are now looking to further improve on their skills. The website does not only focus on raw knowledge, it goes a step further and provides the learner with amazing concepts that will ultimately help them improve their learning skills.

                  You can learn a lot form this website which includes providing you with studying help, and helping you with classroom learning. What this resource will do for you is that it will help you become a better learner and a better writer at the same time. It adapts an unusual approach to learning which turns out to be very effective to individuals looking to succeed.

                  9. English Practice

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                  english practice

                    The name itself suggests that you can expect to learn a lot from this website. What this website will do for you is that it will grant you full access to all the English exercises that are ideal when practicing. This is not a place where you get to learn your basic English skills; instead you can use the platform to test and improve them. Only look at this website when you are in a position where you feel like you have learned enough and are ready to get on with the exams or are in a better position of making your first novel totally correct. Use this website to identify your weak spots by testing yourself so that you can be able to improve your grammar.

                    10. A Research Guide

                    a research guide

                      This website is perfectly suited for individuals who know how to write essays and are looking to earn some extra points on the same. The website explains to you the different sections found in an essay and shows you how you can correctly create the different sections. With A Research Guide, you are rest assured that the content you’ll be creating will be in line with what your professor expects from you. In addition to that, the website also contains literature guides that normally have to be paid for.

                      English grammar is something that is cherished and therefore the matter should be addressed with the much needed serious level. Remember that it is only through practice that an individual can be able to perfect their English skills.

                      Featured photo credit: Girl Writing in a Diary via picjumbo.com

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                      Jessica Millis

                      An experienced writer, editor and educator who shares about tips on effective learning.

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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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