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Last Updated on January 17, 2018

19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way

19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way

It’s almost unbelievable that in this day and age almost everyone is carrying around a library of knowledge, richer in resources than that of the Library of Alexandria. So it comes as no surprise that many want to utilise this resource, the internet, to become a better, smarter, productive being!

With this in mind, 19 of the top websites that will make you a smart person, in every way, has been compiled for you.

Academic

1. Smarterer

Want to test your writing ability? Prove your programming skills? Show people that you’re an Excel genius? Using Smarterer, you can take tests that provide you with a ‘qualification’ that you can show to employers when they need proof of your abilities!

2. UniversityWebinars

If you’re a fan of TED Talks, this is basically the TED Talks of the university world. With live webinars, and a huge library of past webinars and other educational videos, you cannot go wrong with this one.

3. Memrise

Flash cards, mixed with the addictive nature of gaming. This one is great for those looking to improve their overall general knowledge, while having fun. It’s available in a multitude of languages!

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    4. Project Gutenberg

    Don’t have the time or money to read a book, but still manage to sit and read on the internet for an obscene amount of time every day? No more excuses, Project Gutenberg is a catalog of books that you can read, online, right now, without cost. Get reading!

    5. Treehouse

    Treehouse basically has something for everyone. From web development to entrepreneurial tips, you’ll never come away from Treehouse without having learnt something. The only downside is that it costs at least $25 a month after the free trial, but investing in your education is never a bad idea.

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      6. OpenCulture

      A vast compendium of educational resources, on literally hundreds of different topics. From online courses to ebooks, you can find it all on OpenCulture. It’s one of the only websites you’ll ever need on education.

      7. Udacity

      Udacity is almost like the vocational learning place of the Internet. Real people teaching you real technical skills that are needed by real tech companies, with hands-on projects instead of boring old lectures. It’s hard for this one to fail to please.

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        8. Creative Live

        Classes streamed live. Some cost, others are free, but all are worth watching! These aren’t your average classes either, they’re real practical classes that will give you real usable skills. (There’s even a section for those looking to make more money!)

        9. Future Learn

        Future Learn is a site that offers free courses, in categories such as Law, Psychology, Teaching and many more. Partnered with some of the finest universities that the UK has to offer, you can be guaranteed that the content of the course will always be high quality.

        10. Coursera

        This is similar to Future Learn, though maybe with a bit more variety. With over 800 courses, and 10,000 current students, the statistics speak for themselves. The courses are always informative, and you get a real qualification at the end of them!

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          11. BBC Languages

          Arguably one of the most well-known and most supported platforms for learning a foreign language. With simple step-by-step interactive guides on learning another language, you’ll be speaking a new language in absolutely no time!

          12. University of Reddit

          You’ve probably heard of Reddit, but have you heard that Reddit created a new site where Redditers could teach each other? Pretty much any subject you can think of is covered here, because they’re all people just like you, teaching what they know!

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          Creativity

          13. Drawspace

          So you’ve always wanted to draw, but have never known where to start? Drawspace is here to rescue you, and get you expressing in the artistic format that you’ve always desired! Easy, comprehensive, guides that will get you drawing in seconds.

          drawsp

            DIY

            14. HackADay

            The name says it all. Every day a new hack is posted, with topics varying from things like fixing faulty Apple chargers to learning to build movie props – you can find it all here. Good for those who like to dabble in a multitude of hobbies!

            15. Do It Yourself

            Do It Yourself offers you a overwhelming amount of free DIY projects that you can do, in a simple and easy to read (and do) format. It’s time to become the handyman or -woman that you’ve always dreamed of being!

            16. Instructables

            Community driven step-by-step instructions on how to do pretty much anything. It’s impossible to have a look on Instructables without coming away having learnt how to do something new and useful. Check it out, it won’t disappoint.

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              Other

              17. UnplugTheTV

              A site that’ll give you a random video to watch, that’ll benefit your mind, instead of watching TV. A neat idea, and the execution seems to match. The content is not always guaranteed to be the best, but it’s always guaranteed to be better than mindless TV.

              Screenshot 2014-11-01 22.17.58

                18. AboveTopSecret

                Alternative news sources are a wealth of information, if you can get past the bias. Don’t limit yourself to seeing the worldly events from a single perspective, explore other options. Check out the sources, draw your own conclusions.

                19. Divine Society

                A site similar to AboveTopSecret, where a multitude of interesting articles from all over the web are posted. Everything from politics to religion is covered here, so it’s worth exploring a few of the articles they have to offer.

                So there you have it, 19 sites that will make you smarter in a variety of ways. If you have any that you think belong on this list, don’t be afraid to share them in the comments below!

                Featured photo credit: Teo Siew Yong via yourpresenceheals.com

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                Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

                Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

                The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

                It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

                To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

                So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

                1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

                We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

                Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

                Stop focusing on the material objects

                Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

                Plan gifts in advance

                We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

                Suggest a better way

                If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

                Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

                You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

                Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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                2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

                It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

                If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

                How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

                Here’s what you can do:

                Set a healthier pattern

                For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

                Get a fitness watch

                Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

                Find a physical activity that you enjoy

                Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

                Try intermittent fasting

                This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

                Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

                You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

                3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

                In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

                But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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                These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

                Leave bigger intervals between meetings

                If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

                Plan time to relax

                As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

                Try to be a little pessimistic

                We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

                Try waking up earlier

                Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

                Plan your day the day before

                Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

                Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

                If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

                4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

                If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

                Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

                Binge-watching TV series

                Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

                You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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                Running on coffee

                Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

                As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

                Procrastination

                Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

                Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

                If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

                Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

                5. Stop over-consuming

                We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

                Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

                • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
                • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
                • Can I rent it?
                • Can I make it myself?
                • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

                For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

                Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

                6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

                Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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                But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

                Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

                Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

                For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

                Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

                Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

                Set your phone on flight mode

                When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

                Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

                You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

                The Bottom Line

                As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

                But this year, promise yourself this:

                Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

                Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

                Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

                Reference

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