It’s time to get inspired on how to stay productive “at home” and what exactly you can do about it. There’s never a wrong time to start learning and developing new personal and professional skills, especially now, for the sake of walking out better-prepared after the crisis.
We estimated that on average 40 minutes are saved daily from travelling to and from work. This is iCard’s team average. People travel much Longer in other locations. Londoners, for example, commute approximately 74 minutes each workday – the longest in the country. Many other major cities compete with around to 60 minutes per day – Milan, Paris, Barcelona, to just name a few.
That’s not all the time saved. You’ve likely reduced the amount of exercises, theaters, restaurants, bars and walks with friends. You get the point, you can reclaim this time for yourself. There are a lot of virtual platforms, online resources and distant learning methods you can try out while figuring out how to take out the most of your time, isolated at home.
But let’s take a step back.
What’s your dream?
Before we go into the available options, take a deep breath. What is something you very much wanted to achieve but never had the time? Maybe even your dream? Did you want to learn a new language? Did you want to improve your digital skills to help you be up to speed with technology and your work? Could you go back to this now?
Professional development from home
This section is for those of you who are professionals in your field, you are employed full-time, but you felt you don’t have enough time to develop a new skill. Well, now you do.
The available options for online courses are virtually unlimited and so many are free thanks to online platforms for MOOCs ( Massive Online Open Courses).
The easiest and most accessible way to get new knowledge online is via non-certified courses. They are provided via web and mobile apps that serve you with excellent video learning materials, in a classroom format, with tests available to challenge yourself.
For those of you who want to actually prove this new skill to a potential employer, you can opt to pay and get a certificate (or get one free, depending on the provider).
Professional certificates can vary from a single paid certificate course in Udemy, who offer “the world’s largest selection of courses” via a non-accredited business entity, to Open.edu, who have the so-called “Badged courses” which are free and issued with a unique link to a proof of course and assessment completion.
Coursera and Edx can get you to a professional level quickly, in highly specialised areas such as business, computer science, math, health, science and beyond. Edx offers the so-called Micro-Masters programs for graduate-level for career advancement or a degree path. Along you will find the X Series courses for a deep understanding of a topic.
Maybe you always postponed continuing your higher education? Now maybe the perfect time for that and you can definitely invest it into a next-level education like an online Masters degree. These are usually accredited or well-recognized educational institutions with extensive and competitive admissions processes, available via Edx.org and Coursera.
Both platforms are my personal favourite because they pioneered their proprietary MOOC technology, opening up university knowledgebase to the wide international audience – for free, in collaboration with MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, to name a few. I’ve personally taken online courses towards my bachelor studies at the pilot stages in 2009 at the City University of New York.
A blog post like this should not miss the invaluable source called Khan Academy. Kudos to founder Salman Khan who set out in 2008 to create an immense collection of free video and other learning materials. The website nowadays says: “For every student, every classroom. Real results” and spans topics from pre-school to college admissions. Khan Academy might be equally worthy for yourself and your whole family.
Interesting fact: These platforms use a digital approach to verifying students identity, similar to how we identify users at iCard.
Personal development from home
DANCING gets your fluids moving and emotions up
How many times did you plan to learn dancing with your spouse? You’ve planned to go to a salsa course, but you always had something more important to do, like going to a game, a movie or a hangout. Well, since most games and events have been cancelled, make the time at home worthwhile for your relationship and your new dance moves.
What you can do? You can start with some “Dance lessons for beginners”, before figuring out what moves exactly you want to learn and while playing some good music. It will make you feel better, especially if you move your body up a bit more than usual and stretch those muscles regularly, with your new dance moves.
Grab your partner for a spin and see what happens 🙂
MEDITATION calms your mind and centers you
You just need to accept meditation with an open mind and it will likely work for you. The least you can get is a few minutes of deep breathing, which will enrich your blood with oxygen, ready to burn energy.
Here are some of the promises of meditation:
“Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.”
“Meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Buddhist meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. By engaging with a particular meditation practice you learn the patterns and habits of your mind, and the practice offers a means to cultivate new, more positive ways of being. With regular work and patience these nourishing, focused states of mind can deepen into profoundly peaceful and energised states of mind. Such experiences can have a transformative effect and can lead to a new understanding of life.”
You also got a choice of apps available in Google Play and the App Store, and a huge collection of meditation guides on YouTube.
FITNESS unlocks your energy to maintain your body
Now games are postponed so it’s the perfect time to find another distraction from betting online or playing games to relax with friends. This can be the perfect time to get back in good shape.
You can trust the algorithms to serve you the best videos, or you can always search for something more niche like HIIT workout, cardio at home, abs before breakfast.
NEW LANGUAGES open up new worlds and improve attention
I’ve travelled to many places around the world, as a tourist and for business. My home city is a major tourist destination that exposed me to the interactions of locals and tourists. One thing I’ve learned from travel and observation is that locals love it when a tourist tries to speak their language. It’s funny, cute and warms up hearts.
Even if you only thought of a foreign language as a way to open up career opportunities, now you got the time to sit down and open up those learning materials you’ve accumulated during your anticipation period, or simply grab an interactive app for your phone.
Learning a new language at any age develops the brain: “Researchers found that young adults proficient in two languages performed better on attention tests and had better concentration than those who spoke only one language, irrespective of whether they had learned that second language during infancy, childhood or their teen years.”
New languages help you better immerse into new cultures and understand the world better. Starting with a new language right now can be a good distraction from the stressful news related to the coronavirus, the economic downturn and the time spent mostly indoors. And when things turn back to normal and you select your next vacation destination, you can be ready to talk to foreigners and understand the world a bit better.
The resources for learning a language are immense, so just throwing this google search here for a start. I highly recommend the TED/TedX videos on the results page because they teach you practical brain-hacks on learning a language. I also let you in on an app called Duolingo. It is one of the top-rated language-learning apps in the world with over 100 Million users installed it.
READING offers imaginary travel for your mind
We are all bombarded by articles sharing what the most successful people read but the truth is, a lot of people have forgotten the smell of ink on paper, in between two leather covers of a classic book. Books can be the perfect escape from mundane days between your own walls at home, into picturesque, faraway places painted by words into stories of tears and laughter. Take the next flight to destination LBR (Library) and look around the shelves, maybe a title will just grab you on the spot. Your alternative destination may be GAR (Garage), where you stashed all your books for taking too much space. We are certain you could easily find a great read or two from a friend nearby.
If not, and since public libraries and bookstores are probably closed around where you live right now, you can always order new (and old) titles online for delivery.
Your third reading option is a Kindle device, which lets you buy books online and start reading a new title straight away. Their screens use a technology called “digital ink”, which makes the display look like paper, not like LCD. Kindle readers are very easy on your eyes and their batteries last much longer than laptops and phones.
Do the best with your time at home and know that iCard remains by your side.