10 Of The Most Useful Skills To Learn In 2020
Published Oct 12, 2020
24 hours: that is how much time we have in a day. So, what if you spent just one of those hours learning a new skill? Well, studies show that having new skills to learn keeps the mind healthy and sharp. The research piece suggested that mentally challenging activities improve cognitive function, specifically memory.
But aside from the health implications, new skills open up a whole new world of possibilities for us. Besides improving your employability, having new skills to showcase makes you an exciting and interesting person to be around. They help you socialize and expand your network. And to help you out, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of 10 useful skills you should learn before the year ends.
10 Useful Skills to learn before 2020 ends
Learning to learn
Yes, you read that right. Before learning any new skills, probably the most important one you should know is learning itself. I know it seems odd, learning to learn, but our brains process information in a specific way. While you could take your own approach to gather skills in a particular subject, there’s an ideal method of learning something.
With the entire landscape of business and technology constantly changing before our very eyes, the greatest skill to have is learning. Being able to learn anything quickly makes you adaptable and indispensable in a world of flux. According to a famous business theorist Arie de Geus, “The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”
Coursera offers a free course entitled, “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects.” And to further understand how our brains work to learn things, here’s a book entitled “How We Learn” by Benedict Carey.
Before unlocking other skills, undoubtedly, the most crucial and challenging skill is self-management. Many people are alive, but they aren’t really living. What I mean by this is that most people, including myself, are slaves to something. Managing yourself will need to be a consistent effort of continuous learning.
Some material to help you with this:
How To Manage Your Finances
Conventional schools and institutions teach us all about math, chemistry, and physics, but many fail to teach about an incredibly central part of our lives: money. It’s no secret that we need money. Unless you’re entirely sustainable living off the land, money is a vital resource needed to keep us alive.
I can’t say that I’m an expert at this either, but it’s an extremely vital skill to have if you want to be financially free in the future. Many online resources offer spreadsheet templates that you might want to adopt, as they’re tried and tested tools in this field.
Basic Digital Media Production
Have you noticed while scrolling through your favorite social media platform that ads are plastered everywhere across your timeline? That’s because companies, brands, and startups know where they should be spending their money. With over 3 billion of the world population on social media, it’s no wonder we see this shift towards social media marketing.
That being said, basic digital media production is rapidly becoming a highly attractive skill to have for companies. Even if you don’t plan to become a professional photographer or video editor, these skills can be useful for you personally. Learn some basic photography, videography, and media editing. Adobe Photoshop and Premiere are some of the best platforms for you to learn.
I would have said learn to program, but coding isn’t for everyone. Some people are naturally-inclined coders, while others are not. And that’s okay because companies don’t just need coders. They need people who understand how to manage and oversee their online businesses. They need people who have ideas on how to market or sell a product online.
Digital literacy doesn’t necessarily entail being a code master, but it requires you to understand the basics of working with a computer. With most businesses going online and digital, having the computer know-how is virtually a requirement.
Here are ways for you to become more digitally literate:
After achieving digital literacy, you’ll want to have a basic grasp of digital marketing. If you’re working for any company in 2020, then chances are they’re employing some digital marketing strategy in one way or another. And that’s no surprise because almost everyone is online!
Digital marketing is the present and the future of marketing. Now, you have terms like social media marketing, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing, where they were nearly non-existent more than a decade ago. With the majority of companies going digital, so should you. Having a comprehensive understanding of how digital marketing works could prove to be an indispensable asset for companies.
Here are some guides to give you a basic overview of digital marketing:
Digital Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide by Neil Patel
Communication is crucial. Whether it’s a casual conversation or in a business email, you have to be able to express yourself exhaustively. It’s both an art and a science, being able to get your point across completely and creatively. Writing helps you find your voice and define who you are. Learning to write makes you a better storyteller, a skill useful not just in business but also in life itself.
Some guides to get you started:
Learning a new language
One of the most effective ways of getting your brain muscles working is by learning a new language. In doing so, you expose your brain to a brand new set of rules and vocabulary, which forces your brain to work harder. Besides its health benefits, learning a new language opens up opportunities for work and travel to foreign countries. Align the language you’re learning with the goals you have in life.
Let’s say you want to move to Italy; therefore, you learn Italian. Or let’s say you enjoy watching anime, so you learn Japanese. Learn a language that isn’t only useful but fun too. There are many platforms online that help you in doing so, including Duolingo and Babbel.
How to Form Good Habits
You’re probably thinking, “how is that a skill?” Habits form because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Once we respond to a situation a certain way, our brains will conceive the idea that that is how it should always be done. Try this as an exercise: cross your arms. You have a natural way of crossing your arms, whether it’s right over left or left over right. Now, try to cross them the opposite way – awkward, isn’t it?
Habits are not easily broken nor developed; they take a lot of time and mindfulness for which. One book that many professionals highly recommend is the one by Stephen Covey entitled, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Life can get frustrating and heavy too often, especially when you don’t have your goals and mental facilities in check. In 2013, it was reported that the average person’s attention span had reduced to 8 seconds. In the day and age we are in today, where we’re constantly bombarded with information, we have to learn to declutter our minds to focus on what’s important.
Without clearly defined goals, we’re just going through the motions, fatigued by brain fog. When you’re able to determine what needs to be done correctly and cast aside the unnecessary clutter in your mind, you’ll be better at prioritizing tasks and feel more invigorated.
Here are some guides to help you achieve mental clarity:
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About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.