20 Skills to Learn Instead of Watching TV

How many hours a day do you spend watching TV? The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day – that’s nearly 2,000 hours a year! While some television programs are educational, most aren’t improving your superhero mind or physique. In fact, all that sitting is killing us – especially since we sit at the office and on our commute, too. But don’t let your unproductive hours on the couch become your Achilles heel. You never see Batman watching TV – he is always studying and working in the Batcave. Stop complaining that you don’t have any time and learn a useful skill with your extra 2,000 hours a year. Most of these skills will take even less time!

1. Basic First Aid Skills.

Do you know what to do if your daughter chokes at dinner? What if your grandmother has a stroke? Over 70% of cardiac arrests occur when a family member is present, but just 6.4% of victims survive because someone nearby knows CPR. Learning CPR and the Heimlich maneuver could save the life of someone you love. You can learn these skills on YouTube, but it’s best if you take a Red Cross course from certified professionals. Want to up your game? Try getting an EMT certification – it’s a great life skill and could even spark a career change.

2. Cooking Skills.

Learning to cook is a delicious endeavor that can save your health and your wallet. If you’re already a cooking whiz, venture into baking or master a foreign cuisine. If not, grab a classic cookbook like The Joy of Cooking and get in the kitchen. Learn a recipe for each meal and dessert, plus something delicious to impress a date.

3. How to Drink.

While you’re in the kitchen, crack open that liquor cabinet! If you drink, knowing how to make a classic cocktail like a martini is an easy weekend luxury that won’t cost you $16/drink. Like your drinks lighter? Take a wine appreciation course, or pick up a wine encyclopedia.

4. How to Read Faster.

Learning how to speed-read improves your focus, brain health and productivity. Take a course at KwikLearning! You can also use software like Spritz, which shows you the words at up to 1,000 words per minute.

5. Public Speaking.

Whether you’re giving a wedding toast or presenting to your boss, you will need to present publicly at some point in your life. Learning to public speak before you need the skill can improve your life in countless ways, especially since 93% of how persuasive you are has nothing to do with the words you say. Try joining Toastmasters, an international organization that teaches you how to become a competent speaker as well as providing several other benefits.

6. Basic Psychology

Never took Psychology 101 at university? You’re missing out! Knowing even basic psychology principle allows you to ‘hack your brain’ and will change how you view the world. Start out with 10 Useful Psychology Studies Worth Remembering, then try out a free online college course like the ones available here.

7. Body Language. 

No matter how hard you try to hide your emotions in polite society, you’re constantly leaking how you really feel through body language. Most of studying body language involves tuning into the cues your unconscious mind is already picking up. But you can learn how to read micro-expressions, which last just 1/25th of a second but are impossible to fake – try this training program by Paul Ekman, who discovered them. You could also try filming yourself performing everyday activities to see what impression you’re giving off. Learn what behaviors to watch for here.

8. Coding Skills

Contrary to popular belief, not everybody needs to learn how to code. But it could aid your long-term career goals and will give you a better grasp of understanding technology. If you’re interested, check out a free program like Codecademy.

9. How to Clean Your House Properly.

So many people struggle to keep their space livable – by which we mean clean, organized and not overflowing with stuff. Clean instead of watching TV for an hour each day, and free up your weekend mornings for more fun activities. Organize regularly and you’ll never have to spring clean again! Check out Unf**k Your Habitat for help that’s actually feasible to follow. WARNING: If you are uncomfortable with explicit language, this website is not for you.

10. How to Budget Properly.

You might think you know how to budget properly, but it’s always a good idea to review your finances. Do you know how to improve your credit score? Do you know how to get out of debt? Do you invest smartly? Are you saving enough money? A recent Business Insider article calculated a scenario where two people saved money at similar rates, except one started 10 years earlier. The one who started saving at 25 saved double the money of the one who started at 35. How you manage your money now will affect your future for decades to come. Make sure you’re doing it right by consulting with your accountant or using an online resource like LearnVest.

11. Learn a New Language.

Learning a new language is a great way to pad your résumé and not as hard to learn as many people think. Learn how to do it smartly here. Not sure what to learn? Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic are projected to be economically useful. Try French or Italian to gain access to their rich literature and artistic trove. You could also learn the language of your ethnicity, if you don’t know it.

12. Learn a New Instrument.

Music is great for your mood. So why not learn an instrument, now that you’re at an age where you’ll actually practice? You can get decently priced used instruments from Craigslist, and learn from YouTube lessons or one or two cheap introductory books. And if you get good enough, it’s a great way to seduce a romantic partner.

13. How to Cover Your Tracks on the Internet.

In 2013, we learned that several government entities and large companies are using the internet to pry into your personal data. So it’s more important than ever to learn how to use the Internet safely, a skill that goes way beyond the basics. Do you know how to protect yourself? You need to learn. The Internet is full of resources to help you do so, but this article is a good place to start.

14. Microsoft Office Suite.

Sure, you know how to work on a document without losing all your data. But do you really know how to work Microsoft Office? Lots of people put Microsoft Excel as a skill on your résumé, but they don’t know how to use it well. Learn the graph functions and the macros, and you’ll become an Excel wizard who is indispensable to your office. Learning how to design great Powerpoints will also take your presentation skills to the next level and could even garner you a promotion.

15. Adobe Creative Suite.

Can you use Photoshop? What about Dreamweaver, Illustrator or InDesign? Learning one or all of these Adobe programs is an indispensable skill for creative professionals, and could help your career and personal life in ways you never imagined. Try  a course on Lynda.

16. How to Make Great Videos.

In today’s digital age, you must know how to market yourself. One great way to do that is by learning how to make great, engaging videos. It’s also a fun way to document the important times in your life with your family and friends. Making good videos can be as simple as shooting them with your phone and editing them on YouTube, to buying a $500 camera and adding fancy effects with Final Cut X. If you want to take a course, Udemy has them for all different levels.

17. How to Take Great Photos.

Would you like to take photos that are Instagram-worthy even before you add a filter? Want to document your next vacation well, and not have to explain why the Coliseum is so blurry? Learn how to take great photos! Even learning the basics of lighting and composition can up your Instagram cred immensely. If you get serious about it and buy a DSLR camera, you can substitute for a professional photographer in a pinch. You could even start a side business taking portraits or  engagement photos for friends.

18. Improve Your Memory.

If senior moments are coming too early for you, it might be time to spend a little effort working on your memory. Remember, you have to use your brain to keep your mind sharp. Try a KwikLearning program or one of these simple tips.

19. How to Do Mental Math

When are we ever going to use this in real life? That was a legitimate complaint in algebra class, but basic math skills are far more commonly used than your elementary-school self expected. But when was the last time you calculated the tip or how much your friend owed you without turning to your smartphone? Save your battery and re-learn mental math with the Human Calculator.

20. Touch Typing.

Do you still type with two fingers while staring at the keyboard? In today’s technology-driven age, slow typing is a major detriment to productivity. In fact, several employers will test your typing speed before hiring you. Whether you didn’t pay attention in typing class or are more comfortable with pen and paper, learning how to touch-type is actually quite simple. Check out the free lessons at Sense-Lang.

Which of these skills will you learn with your extra 2,000 hours a year? Many will take less than that, so you can learn more than one! Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Photo Credit: flash.pro via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

How many hours a day do you spend watching TV? The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day – that’s nearly 2,000 hours a year! While some television programs are educational, most aren’t improving your superhero mind or physique. In fact, all that sitting is killing us – especially since we sit at the office and on our commute, too. But don’t let your unproductive hours on the couch become your Achilles heel. You never see Batman watching TV – he is always studying and working in the Batcave. Stop complaining that you don’t have any time and learn a useful skill with your extra 2,000 hours a year. Most of these skills will take even less time!

1. Basic First Aid Skills.

Do you know what to do if your daughter chokes at dinner? What if your grandmother has a stroke? Over 70% of cardiac arrests occur when a family member is present, but just 6.4% of victims survive because someone nearby knows CPR. Learning CPR and the Heimlich maneuver could save the life of someone you love. You can learn these skills on YouTube, but it’s best if you take a Red Cross course from certified professionals. Want to up your game? Try getting an EMT certification – it’s a great life skill and could even spark a career change.

2. Cooking Skills.

Learning to cook is a delicious endeavor that can save your health and your wallet. If you’re already a cooking whiz, venture into baking or master a foreign cuisine. If not, grab a classic cookbook like The Joy of Cooking and get in the kitchen. Learn a recipe for each meal and dessert, plus something delicious to impress a date.

3. How to Drink.

While you’re in the kitchen, crack open that liquor cabinet! If you drink, knowing how to make a classic cocktail like a martini is an easy weekend luxury that won’t cost you $16/drink. Like your drinks lighter? Take a wine appreciation course, or pick up a wine encyclopedia.

4. How to Read Faster.

Learning how to speed-read improves your focus, brain health and productivity. Take a course at KwikLearning! You can also use software like Spritz, which shows you the words at up to 1,000 words per minute.

5. Public Speaking.

Whether you’re giving a wedding toast or presenting to your boss, you will need to present publicly at some point in your life. Learning to public speak before you need the skill can improve your life in countless ways, especially since 93% of how persuasive you are has nothing to do with the words you say. Try joining Toastmasters, an international organization that teaches you how to become a competent speaker as well as providing several other benefits.

6. Basic Psychology

Never took Psychology 101 at university? You’re missing out! Knowing even basic psychology principle allows you to ‘hack your brain’ and will change how you view the world. Start out with 10 Useful Psychology Studies Worth Remembering, then try out a free online college course like the ones available here.

7. Body Language. 

No matter how hard you try to hide your emotions in polite society, you’re constantly leaking how you really feel through body language. Most of studying body language involves tuning into the cues your unconscious mind is already picking up. But you can learn how to read micro-expressions, which last just 1/25th of a second but are impossible to fake – try this training program by Paul Ekman, who discovered them. You could also try filming yourself performing everyday activities to see what impression you’re giving off. Learn what behaviors to watch for here.

8. Coding Skills

Contrary to popular belief, not everybody needs to learn how to code. But it could aid your long-term career goals and will give you a better grasp of understanding technology. If you’re interested, check out a free program like Codecademy.

9. How to Clean Your House Properly.

So many people struggle to keep their space livable – by which we mean clean, organized and not overflowing with stuff. Clean instead of watching TV for an hour each day, and free up your weekend mornings for more fun activities. Organize regularly and you’ll never have to spring clean again! Check out Unf**k Your Habitat for help that’s actually feasible to follow. WARNING: If you are uncomfortable with explicit language, this website is not for you.

10. How to Budget Properly.

You might think you know how to budget properly, but it’s always a good idea to review your finances. Do you know how to improve your credit score? Do you know how to get out of debt? Do you invest smartly? Are you saving enough money? A recent Business Insider article calculated a scenario where two people saved money at similar rates, except one started 10 years earlier. The one who started saving at 25 saved double the money of the one who started at 35. How you manage your money now will affect your future for decades to come. Make sure you’re doing it right by consulting with your accountant or using an online resource like LearnVest.

11. Learn a New Language.

Learning a new language is a great way to pad your résumé and not as hard to learn as many people think. Learn how to do it smartly here. Not sure what to learn? Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic are projected to be economically useful. Try French or Italian to gain access to their rich literature and artistic trove. You could also learn the language of your ethnicity, if you don’t know it.

12. Learn a New Instrument.

Music is great for your mood. So why not learn an instrument, now that you’re at an age where you’ll actually practice? You can get decently priced used instruments from Craigslist, and learn from YouTube lessons or one or two cheap introductory books. And if you get good enough, it’s a great way to seduce a romantic partner.

13. How to Cover Your Tracks on the Internet.

In 2013, we learned that several government entities and large companies are using the internet to pry into your personal data. So it’s more important than ever to learn how to use the Internet safely, a skill that goes way beyond the basics. Do you know how to protect yourself? You need to learn. The Internet is full of resources to help you do so, but this article is a good place to start.

14. Microsoft Office Suite.

Sure, you know how to work on a document without losing all your data. But do you really know how to work Microsoft Office? Lots of people put Microsoft Excel as a skill on your résumé, but they don’t know how to use it well. Learn the graph functions and the macros, and you’ll become an Excel wizard who is indispensable to your office. Learning how to design great Powerpoints will also take your presentation skills to the next level and could even garner you a promotion.

15. Adobe Creative Suite.

Can you use Photoshop? What about Dreamweaver, Illustrator or InDesign? Learning one or all of these Adobe programs is an indispensable skill for creative professionals, and could help your career and personal life in ways you never imagined. Try  a course on Lynda.

16. How to Make Great Videos.

In today’s digital age, you must know how to market yourself. One great way to do that is by learning how to make great, engaging videos. It’s also a fun way to document the important times in your life with your family and friends. Making good videos can be as simple as shooting them with your phone and editing them on YouTube, to buying a $500 camera and adding fancy effects with Final Cut X. If you want to take a course, Udemy has them for all different levels.

17. How to Take Great Photos.

Would you like to take photos that are Instagram-worthy even before you add a filter? Want to document your next vacation well, and not have to explain why the Coliseum is so blurry? Learn how to take great photos! Even learning the basics of lighting and composition can up your Instagram cred immensely. If you get serious about it and buy a DSLR camera, you can substitute for a professional photographer in a pinch. You could even start a side business taking portraits or  engagement photos for friends.

18. Improve Your Memory.

If senior moments are coming too early for you, it might be time to spend a little effort working on your memory. Remember, you have to use your brain to keep your mind sharp. Try a KwikLearning program or one of these simple tips.

19. How to Do Mental Math

When are we ever going to use this in real life? That was a legitimate complaint in algebra class, but basic math skills are far more commonly used than your elementary-school self expected. But when was the last time you calculated the tip or how much your friend owed you without turning to your smartphone? Save your battery and re-learn mental math with the Human Calculator.

20. Touch Typing.

Do you still type with two fingers while staring at the keyboard? In today’s technology-driven age, slow typing is a major detriment to productivity. In fact, several employers will test your typing speed before hiring you. Whether you didn’t pay attention in typing class or are more comfortable with pen and paper, learning how to touch-type is actually quite simple. Check out the free lessons at Sense-Lang.

Which of these skills will you learn with your extra 2,000 hours a year? Many will take less than that, so you can learn more than one! Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Photo Credit: flash.pro via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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