Why, right now, an article with skills to learn at home? At this point, I bet you know most of the things about the virus, so I will not spend time with that. Rather, I want to list here how to develop skills at home.
However, if there is one thing I have some experience with, is to be in the middle of a crisis.
I have this strange ability to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I got stranded in Qatar once. Likewise, my wife and I found ourselves in Yerevan during the 2018 Armenian Revolution. And then there are all the civil unrests I witnessed in Argentina, Chile, and Lebanon.
(Not even mentioning the risk of violence in Brazil when I was living there)
Still, all those finished in a few days or weeks. As much as I saw the revolution explode in Armenia, I also saw them celebrate with fireworks when it finished. Meanwhile, the pandemic crisis we are experiencing now is already completing one month.
Here is for you the list of 5 skills to learn at home:
1 – Learn How to Do Deep Work
As Much as we are tempted to compulsively watch the news and scroll our newsfeed, this is a trap. Avoid living in the shallows of the Internet (grabbing the term coined by the author Nicholas Carr in his book with the same name). The time we spend at home is a great opportunity to train the capacity of reaching the maximum cognitive ability of our brains.
Because in today’s world we are inundated by information. Email, texts, and social media notifications constantly beckon us to check our devices and make sure we’re up to date with the latest developments.
But what if I told you that doing so will only distract you from your work?
The practice of deep work is becoming increasingly important in today’s distracted world. The term “deep work” was coined by Cal Newport, a Georgetown University professor who has spent the last few years studying how to be more effective in his life.
His book Deep Work attempts to tackle this new way of living in a distracted world. In his book, he aims at helping people become more effective at their jobs, whether it’s being a student, executive, or entrepreneur.
He does this by identifying the key principles that can help anyone achieve mastery in their field and shares ways on how to apply them. To put it simply, deep work is being able to concentrate without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.
Newport uses chess as an example, ” when playing chess for hours at a time, you need to focus without distraction on the board, strategies, and tactics; any performance review or chat with a friend would kill your game.”
Deep Work is one of these books that every entrepreneur or student should read. It was also Cal Newport that opened my eyes to how Social Media is dangerous for our mental health.
2 – Discover How to Learn Speed Reading
This is one of those meta-skills: Abilities that help you acquire other abilities. With time, they exponentially increase your value.
Speed reading is the process of quickly absorbing written material, such as books and articles. Done correctly, it can cut the time you take to read a piece by half or more.#
It’s not just about reading faster, though. It’s also about reading smarter. This means that you should be able to retain more of what you read.
Speed-reading has been around for decades. And yet a lot of people don’t understand what it is and how to do it.
One reason for this is that many speed-reading training programs out there are a scam, promising results but not delivering them. But if you know what you’re doing, speed reading can make your life much easier by helping you accomplish more in less time.
Another reason is that speed-reading is sometimes confused with skimming, which involves rapidly moving your eyes over text while trying to get the general idea of the material being reviewed. However, there are some very important differences between these two approaches to reading: Skimming primarily relies on peripheral vision and attention span, while speed-reading uses eye movement skills as well as techniques that help you make sense of what you’ve just read faster than ever before.
The book from Justin Hammond, Speed Reading: How to Double (or Triple) Your Reading Speed in Just 1 Hour!, is a good start to learn, effectively, speed reading.
3 – Embark in language learning for Free with LingQ
If you ever went to a language school, you probably remember those endless classes of grammar that you forgot everything after 2 hours. This is why I am an enthusiast of dynamic language learning. This means acquiring a new idiom by practice, without spending time with grammar and rules. Just think about you and your native idiom: How did you learn to speak it? With your parents and little friends talking to you or having grammar lessons when you were 3 years old?
I achieved a conversational level in one of the most difficult languages of Europe (Polish) entirely by this method, using a website called Lingq. Now I am learning Russian there. Give it a try!
Lingq is a language learning app that lets you learn a few sentences at a time for all your favorite topics – from the latest news to sports and entertainment! You can even compare different translations from different sources which feels like you’re really learning from native speakers! It’s a pretty cool concept.
What helped me the most is that Lingq also has an entire library of ebooks (fiction classics, for example), in the language that I wanted to learn. It made the entire process much more interesting.
4 – Enjoy Some of the Best Coursera Courses!
Imagine you went on a machine, back to century XV, when universities and knowledge were accessible only to very few people. There, you told one of those students from the Middle Ages that nowadays, the best universities on the planet give access to some of their best content for free, to anyone, anywhere. He would find you absolutely insane to not grab this opportunity.
Coursera is one of the best online learning platforms that help you develop skills to learn at home in a very short period of time. You can learn anything from Coursera from programming to marketing, and everything else.
It’s a great place to learn about different subjects like data science, programming, and even arts and music. All the courses are taught by leaders in their respective domains and are available for free.
I completed the Game Theory course provided by the University of Stanford and was a ton of mind-sharpening material. A great way when we talk about how to improve your skills.
The best way to learn something new is by doing it and having fun at the same time. Learning by studying alone can be boring and sometimes you lose your interest in what you are trying to study; but when you take an online course via Coursera, you get presented with quizzes and assignments that make your learning experience fun and interactive.
5 – Read This Book
Conclusion: Skills to Learn at Home
If you paid attention to points 1, 2, and 5, you saw I recommended some books for skills to learn at home. There are plenty of good reads waiting for you (actually, there is a social network called Goodreads where people can share their reading lists and reviews. You can find me here). There you can find many other books with ways to develop skills at home.
Intelligence is not built solely on information. You can pick up all the books and courses on the internet, watch every tutorial on Youtube, you won’t get smarter until you start using your brain to process new information. Intelligence comes from skills. Without developing your skills, you will never truly be intelligent. Skills cannot be purchased, cannot be bought, they must be learned by you. No one can learn something for you.
Only by actively seeking out opportunities to use your knowledge will you learn to create solutions based on the problem at hand, with a unique perspective of what you’ve learned along the way.
Last, but not least:
Everyone I know is struggling, be it economically, physically, or both. But it is going to pass.
And just like when the revolution in Armenia finished, there will be fireworks.
When it happens, do not forget to look to the sky and remind the experience you just went through.
If you liked this article with skills to learn at home, check also:
Subscribe to my articles (for free) and receive (also for free) the ebook “The Blueprint for First-Time Business Owners”. 65 pages of essential points, secrets, and hacks for you to launch, manage and expand your own business.
Levi Borba is the founder of expatriateconsultancy.com, creator of the channel Small Business Hacks and the same website for Small Business Owners, and best-selling author. Subscribe to my articles (for free) and receive (also for free) the ebook “The Blueprint for First-Time Business Owners”.