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12 Highly Useful Skills You Can Learn in a Minute

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Everyone loves a good life hack, especially if it’s super quick to pick up.

While one minute may not seem like a lot of time to master a useful skill, you’d be surprised just how much you can actually accomplish in 60 seconds or less.

With the help of a Quora thread on the matter, here are are several handy life skills you can pick up almost instantly:

Start everything with ‘why?’ in mind.

“Always! Not only when it comes to business plans,” says user Charles Faraone. “Start with why for every decision impacting on your life, health, and happiness. Ask yourself why you’re eating foods that might not be healthy for you. Why you’re doing things the way you’re doing them. Why you’re avoiding doing what you know you should be doing. It’s an amazingly simple approach with huge potential payoffs.”

Save ink when printing.

When printing documents, user Veijay Jain suggests simply changing the text from black to gray. This will make little difference to the quality of what you’re printing, and will not only reduce the amount of ink used, but it’ll also increase the printing speed. “Needless to say that by using less ink, you will be slowing down the process filling the mother earth with used cartridges, helping our earth remain greener.”

Stop an impending sneeze.

User Alexander Freiherr offers a few methods for stopping a sneeze. “Squeeze your nose. Catch the part of your nose above the tip and stretch it out as if you are removing your nose out of your face. It should not be painful, but simply stretch out your cartilage, stopping the sneeze.

“Blow your nose. Use tissue and blow your nose when you feel a sneeze coming on. It should clear your sinuses of what caused the sneeze in the first place.

“Pinch your upper lip. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch your upper lip lightly and press it upward toward your nostrils. Your thumb should head toward one nostril and your forefinger toward the other, bunching up your upper lip slightly.

“Use your tongue. Press your tongue behind your two front teeth, where the roof of your mouth meets the gum palate or alveolar ridge. Press hard with your most powerful muscles against your teeth until the tickling sensation dissipates.”

Build muscle at your desk.

Press your hands together as hard as you can, says user Ashwin D. Kini. You should feel pressure in your pectoral, shoulder, and arm muscles. This kind of isometric exercise requires minimal movement, but strengthens muscles.

Save time with computer shortcuts.

User Jhasketan Sahu suggests the following for smoother web browsing:

To open a new Tab: .
To close any open Tab: .
To move from one Tab to another: or.
To reopen a recently closed tab: .
To find specific text in a web page: .
To increase or decrease the size of the text: Hold   and press “+” or “-” respectively.
To open a link in a new tab: Hold and click the link.

Easily change text case in Word.

Highlight the text you want to change the case of and press Shift+F3, writes Suvam Behera. Doing this once will convert the highlighted text to all upper case, twice will convert the text to all lowercase, and three times will capitalise the first letter of each word.

Never prematurely send an email again.

“When you’re writing an email, fill in the addressee last,” says David Spencer. “This way, you will never accidentally click and send a premature email.”

Declutter your mind before bed.

“At the end of the day for one minute summarize your day,” writes Mihalache Catalin. “What you did, what you could do but didn’t because fear or laziness stopped you. Why you did everything in that day. How to improve what you do. Do this always before you sleep and you will have a good night sleep.”

Always know if you’ve taken your daily medication.

For medications you take twice a day, user Madhu Mita suggests flipping the bottle upside-down after you take it in the evening and flipping it right-side up after the morning dose.

For medications you take three times a day, place the bottle on the left side of you (you can do this with a bathroom sink or your desk) in the morning, in front of you at noon, and to the right of you after dinner.

“The pattern doesn’t matter, as long as you’re consistent: move the bottle after you take the dose, and you’ll be able to look back later and see if you’ve taken it.”

Conserve your smartphone battery.

User Ashok Kumar says whenever you are not using internet on your phone through Wifi, turn your Wifi off. When out of range of a network, your phone continually polls for a network, which drains the battery.

Have a more productive day.

“In the morning, when you get to work or school, the first thing you should do is to prioritise your day,” writes user David Palank. “Most people start by checking emails or phone calls. However, prioritising is the most draining on the brain and should be done when your brain is fresh! This is the first step to productivity.”

Know which side the petrol tank is on without getting out of the car.

“If you look at the little petrol tank indicator on your dashboard (instrument cluster), you should see a tiny arrow next to it,” says user Bharath Raj. “That arrow actually points to the petrol tank (fuel lid) side of your car. Now you’ll never forget where it is again!”

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English: The Language Of Oppression Or Opportunity?

We offer a wide range of courses specifically aimed at professionals who want to enhance their professional English communication skills. Some of our most popular courses are.

Wits Language School

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Having to communicate professionally in English sometimes strikes fear into the hearts of many South Africans irrespective of their gender, age or business field; the mere thought of presenting to a group of colleagues in English or submitting a report to your manager is daunting and nerve wracking. If you are one of the many, do not be embarrassed; you are in good company.

Despite South Africa’s recognition of 12 official languages and its embracing of multilingualism, English continues to be the dominant language within schools and workplaces and competence is considered a pathway to upward mobility and professional opportunities. While it is evident that one requires good English skills to excel academically and professionally, little attention has been paid to improving the English proficiency of South Africans. This may in part be because English is an official language and it is assumed that all South Africans can speak English well. However, the differences in the type of English one is exposed to and the difference between fluency and accuracy are overlooked.

South Africans are unique; we are multilingual, vibrant and dynamic individuals who utilise a wide variety of linguistic resources when we communicate. It is not odd to find us communicating in multiple languages at the same time; we code switch when we cannot remember the correct English word or when we want to express a thought accurately but cannot find an appropriate English word and we do it effortlessly and automatically. These skills set us apart as innovative language users as we mesh and blend languages in our common goal to communicate accurately.

Related: Knowing The Basics Is Not Good Enough Anymore

Unfortunately, these skills do not hold us in good stead in the workplace where standard and ‘proper’ English is required and suddenly we lose confidence and nerve. We become more conscious of how much we do not know and question what we do know. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and paralysed by fear when you have to communicate solely in English and are suddenly evaluated against monolingual, Western, middle class norms. Furthermore, it is easy to assume if we incorporate more complex words and use lengthy phrases as well as adopt an American or British accent, our English language skills will suddenly improve. This is a myth; do not believe it!

In order to communicate effectively and appropriately, one needs to be cognisant of the following factors:  the audience, the purpose of the message, the message itself, the grammatical accuracy of the message and the tone of the message. Simply put, one has to ensure that the meaning of the message is always concise and coherent and is phrased in a manner that can be easily understood by the reader or listener.  Secondly, one has to ensure that the grammatical accuracy of the message is maintained; editing and proofreading are essential in order to win the reader’s or listener’s confidence in what you are communicating.

Here at Wits Language School, we are passionate about improving the language skills of South African second language learners and our courses are especially designed to help you improve your English language skills. We offer a wide range of courses specifically aimed at professionals who want to enhance their professional English communication skills. Some of our most popular courses are:

Communicative Grammar Are you interested in improving your editing skills and English grammar knowledge?

Join our Communicative Grammar course.

English Speaking and Pronunciation Do you want to improve your pronunciation and gain more confidence speaking in English?

Join our English Speaking and Pronunciation course.

Business Writing Are you interested in improving your proposal or minutes writing skills?

Join our Business Writing Skills course

Presentation Skills Do you want to give presentations that are dynamic and interesting?

Join our Presentation Skills course.

Report Writing Do you want to write reports that are coherent and well organised?

Join our Report Writing course.

English for Critical Thinking in Business Are you interested in improving your critical thinking skills and becoming a strategic thinker?

Join our Critical Thinking in Business course.

 

Climb the ladder to success and apply today. Applications for 2019 are now open. Wits Language School, changing lives and opening doors.

Read next: Tips To Becoming Fluent

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“Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses

Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.

Wits Language School

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The Internet is currently abuzz with advertisements for “free” online language courses and online education. While developments in technology have undoubtedly created opportunities for more people to access education, the question still remains as to whether it is actually possible to learn a language solely with the use of an online platform. Whilst there are numerous advantages to using online platforms, there are equally as many disadvantages.

Online platforms are limited in their capacity to support group discussions, as well as the engagement with language facilitators and tutors. Many platforms are also unable to cope with the thousands of students that try to join online discussions. Language learners benefit greatly from human interaction within a classroom. Mark Edmundson (2012), an English professor at the University of Virginia, argued that online education creates a “monologue and not a real dialogue” in the learning environment.

Classroom environments allow learners to express their opinions, participate in debates, and engage in face-to-face interaction with classmates and their instructor.

Related: “Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses

Language facilitators are responsible for explaining material, answering questions and guiding learning based on students’ needs and language levels in real time. From an online perspective, this resource becomes diluted, as often there exists back and forth communication between the student and the facilitator over an extended period of time. Within a classroom environment, learners are immersed in the language and encouraged to speak. Learning takes place in a pro-active way with a balance of learner-facilitator interaction and group work. Language learners receive undivided attention from the facilitator, and the pace and content of the tuition is thus tailored to the learner accordingly.

Two of the benefits of online courses are that they offer flexibility and convenient accessibility; however, they also require a greater amount of self-discipline, reading and time-management skills. Online courses tend to make it easier to procrastinate and they create a sense of isolation. These elements are not conducive to successful language learning. Motivation levels are likely to decrease when using online platforms, as learners have no real external influences to help keep them motivated and inspired.

The quality and accreditation of online language courses is also a concern to most learners, as many online courses lack valid accreditation and certification. It is crucial to enrol in a course that provides legitimate information and that is accredited with a relevant board or organisation. A course that does not provide valid accreditation will serve no purpose or advantage to the learner.

Wits Language School was established in 1997 and forms part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the last 19 years, the school has built a reputation for providing high-quality language services and short learning programmes in a dynamic and international learning environment. Wits Language School endorses interactive teaching styles, uses up-to-date teaching methods, and employs experienced and highly qualified teachers who are mother-tongue speakers to assist all participants in their quest to learn a second language.

Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.

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Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

The changing world of work has disrupted the three elements of the traditional ‘career’: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

Wits Plus

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Vital Stats

Traditionally the concept of a ‘career’ was considered to include three elements:

  1. A career represented our expertise, our profession, and ultimately our identity.
  2. A career was something that built over time and endured. It gave us the opportunity to progress and advance.
  3. A career gave us financial and psychological rewards. It made life meaningful and paid us enough to live well.

The changing world of work has disrupted all three elements: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

A career can now be as long as 60 years; at the same time, due to rapid advancements in technology and the changes that bring about in the workplace, skill sets can become obsolete in as little as five years.

Increasingly, companies need to rethink the way in which careers are managed and learning opportunities are delivered, and many have already begun to overhaul their career models and L&D (Learning and Development) infrastructure in line with the digital age.

Related: Your Investment In Knowledge

Employees’ learning behaviour is also changing. In the past, employees were able to obtain the skills required for their career early on and as a once-off; now, the career itself is a journey of learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and continuous reinvention to remain relevant and to thrive in the changing world of work.

Older employees who studied at a time where most of one’s learning occurred prior to entering the workplace, find themselves working alongside millennials who place greater value on learning and progression rather than on earning potential as a first priority.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey say their organisations are shifting to flexible, open career models that offer enriching assignments, projects, and experiences rather than a static career progression.

However, in today’s fast-paced business world, even if companies are restructuring L&D delivery, no one is going to make you engage in a strategy that is essential to your future success – continuous learning. You will have to take the initiative yourself.

Noted self-help expert W. Clement Stone, in his many writings on this topic, recommended that one spends anywhere from a half-hour to two hours a day in study and thinking time. This tireless dedication, combined with an insatiable curiosity, will equip you to excel in the future world of work. What’s more, learning new skills and knowledge can be fun!

The good news for both companies and for employees is that an explosion of high-quality content and digital delivery models offers employees ready access to continuous learning. The Wits DigitalCampus offers a range of accredited and fully online short courses to support your continuous learning.

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