By Erin Pittman
If you’re like many people, you’re finding yourself with more time on your hands these days. Without concerts, pools and other large summer gatherings, your couch may be calling your name more and more. Instead of bingeing another Netflix original, why not invest in yourself by completing a free or low-cost
online skills program? Whether you’re looking to improve software skills, focus time or organizational skills, you can find affordable and effective courses online. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Master Microsoft Office
Have you had enough of Microsoft Word’s elusive formatting jamming up your day? Want to know how to turn drab Excel sheets into something more presentation-worthy? A number of low-cost websites offer program-specific classes to help you become more proficient in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, 365 administration and more. Take a look at Udemy.com, where individual class prices rival the cost of a weekday lunch. They offer beginner to advanced levels, so there’s a starting point for everyone. Become the master of Office in your office.
Begin Bullet Journaling
Are you always looking for that little slip of paper you wrote something down on? Or maybe you’re searching for the number for Dave who worked with you on a project last year. If you need to get organized, bullet journaling may encompass everything you’re looking for. With this planner system design by Ryder Carroll, you’ll learn to index your important information, split tasks into dailies and monthlies, and master the benefits of keeping handwritten notes. All you need to start planning and organizing is a blank journal (many prefer dot grid pages) and a pen. Find a place for everything and learn the system for free at bulletjournal.com. Want a more in-depth explanation? Try a course from Skillshare.com with their 14-day free trial.
Tackle Your Typing
If you’re a closet hunt-and-peck typist, use your time to work more efficiently by enrolling in a typing class. Many free or affordable online courses can teach you to type the right way and increase your speed to 60 words per minute or more. Learn how to use the home row to properly position your fingers for typing success. Check out Typsey.com for an inexpensive family account with a money-back guarantee or try TypingClub.com for a free interactive method to learn touch typing.
Take on Time Management
There’s a lot going on in the world these days. It can be easy to look up at the clock and realize you’ve been daydreaming (or day stressing) for an hour. Get a handle on your time by learning a new time-management system. One of the most popular is Getting Things Done, created by David Allen. You can pick up a copy of his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity at your favorite retailer and read up on it or find a class online. LinkedIn Learning offers a course and a free month for you to try it out.
If you’re not tapping into the power of Adobe beyond using Acrobat to read PDFs, you’re missing out — and so is your resume. Adding Adobe programs to your fleet of skills is a great way to make yourself more marketable. Whether you’re just dabbling in graphic design and want to learn InDesign or you’re a budding photographer interested in using the power of LightRoom and Photoshop to ramp up your images, Adobe is where it’s at. Maybe you want to master more than one of these powerhouses. Try an affordable essentials or master class from StackSocial.com or watch countless hours of detailed tutorials on LinkedIn Learning.
Ramp up Your Resume
Once you’ve mastered all these new skills, your resume is sure to need an upgrade. This is a dreaded task for many, but you’re in luck — there’s a course for that too! Check out Coursera.com’s Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters or How to Write a Resume courses. You’ll get a seven-day free trial to test out the course of your choice and subscription options after the trial.
Take some time to browse the resources listed above. Each website offers a variety of skill-based courses. Many also offer lifestyle and hobby classes as well, so you can fill your time and add fun to your life. Don’t just sit back and let 2020 beat you down; arm yourself with new skills that will positively propel you into 2021 and beyond.
Erin Pittman is the Editor in Chief of Prince William Living. She’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, but a lover of words her entire life. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her curled up with a book in her hand and her yellow Lab, Wilson, in her lap. Contact Erin at [email protected].