The best skills to learn during quarantine that will make you more hirable as an employee and more independent as a person.
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THE BEST SKILLS TO LEARN DURING QUARANTINE ARE THOSE THAT WILL HELP YOU BECOME MORE HIRABLE AS AN EMPLOYEE OR MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT AS A PERSON ONCE EVERYTHING GOES BACK TO NORMAL.
So, you’ve just found out that your country is in lockdown and you’re not allowed to go to work. Or a member of your family is showing symptoms and, according to your country’s guidance, you have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Suddenly, you’re sitting at home, not physically but mentally grappling with what’s going on around you and the fact that suddenly, your days stretch endlessly before you.
14 days is 336 hours and that’s really a lot of time.
What do you do with all that time you never had before?
My recommendation is to learn a new skill because some skills don’t take a lot of time to learn. It may take you years to master but to grasp the basics? 14 days could be enough.
And who knows, you might even fall in love with these skills so much that you decided to pursue them way past the quarantine.
The skill you choose to learn will obviously be subjective and one that really serves your purpose but if you’re at a loss, I’ve compiled a few skills you should definitely consider into this list.
These are skills that would help you not only progress in your career but could also allow you to jumpstart your way into finally living a blissful life.
How To Be Productive During Quarantine – A post where we share some simple ways you can still be productive during quarantine.
50 Wickedly Productive Things To Do When You Are Bored At Home – A mega list of super productive things you can do when you’re stuck at home bored out of your mind.
How To Work From Home When Quarantined With Children – Practical tips and some ideas that will help you navigate the minefield that is working remotely when kids are at home (and you have no childcare).
The Best Educational Shows For Children You Need To Put On During Quarantine – When things are really dire, we sometimes have to pull out the big guns AKA screens. If you’re going down that route, this post will give you a selection of the best educational shows you could let your children watch.
Six best skills to learn during quarantine that will make you more hirable
This section looks at the best skills to learn during quarantine that will make you valuable as an employee. You know, because this will one day be over.
The world will start spinning again soon. And when that happens, you’ll want to be ready to either go for that new job you’ve always secretly wanted or go for the promotion that you know you deserve.
You just need to be ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way.
Personally, I think that the best skills to learn during quarantine to help you become more hirable are:
1. Those that would have an immediate positive impact on your life or certain aspects of your life (like your career or business);
2. Those that don’t require you to buy anything too expensive to start learning (so, no piano lessons online just now unless you already have a piano and want to become a pianist);
3. Those that you can do from the comfort of your own home because you can’t leave, right?
4. Those that are self-paced so you can do it on your own and when you have time for it.
Fortunately, there are now excellent courses available online and all you really need is a laptop (or another electronic device), a pen and a notebook.
Ready for your life-changing list?
Check them out!
Best career skill #1: Time management
I personally think that this is the king of all skills if your goal is to succeed in life.
Most anything in this life we live can be replaced but time is something so valuable that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
What do you do with the time you have? Wasn’t that the dilemma that brought you here?
14 days? How do you make the most of it?
It will pass rather sooner than you’d expect and what then?
What would you have to show for it afterwards? How do you spend one of your most precious resources?
Time management necessarily involves learning how to track time, how to determine which tasks are important and which aren’t, which ones are urgent and which ones you don’t have to do now (or at all), how to prioritise, how to allocate tasks, how to organise.
Whilst it will take you years to master, getting the basics really only require a few days.
First, you track your time.
Second, you learn how to determine which tasks are important and which aren’t, which are urgent and which aren’t and which you have to do and which ones you can outsource to someone else (preferably, someone with more expertise than you).
Third, you learn how to block your time so you can concentrate your efforts.
Fourth, you allocate the tasks you have on your to-do list onto your blocked schedule.
Fifth, you implement, observe if your routine is working for and adapt or follow to the letter as necessary.
To learn more about time management, check out our resource list below.
How To Have More Free Time Series – Learn how to time track, time block and use time management techniques like the Pomodoro.
This is a series of posts that will teach you, step-by-step, how you can create more free time for all the important things in your life. A must-read for super busy people who can’t seem to do everything they want to do.
Eat That Frog! – A book that will help you organise each day so you can focus on your critical tasks and accomplish them. A must-have for anyone needing help with discovering which tasks are priority (and with getting these tasks done).
Day Theming – A more advanced way to time block your schedule.
The Best Kept Secret Of The Rich – This pocket-size guide is classic Jim Rohn and offers an easy-to-read account of Time Management that can be finished in a short sitting of 15 to 20 minutes. Perfect for busy people who have absolutely no time to spare, it talks about “major vs. minor, concentration, beware of the phone, thinking on paper, game planning and much more“.
Best career skill #2: Language
Becoming fluent in a completely new language will definitely add value to you and you might find that you’re suddenly much more in demand.
Unfortunately, you’ll need more than 14 days to master it.
Fortunately, you don’t actually necessarily need native fluency. You just need enough to get by so that when the world’s gone back to normal and the travel ban’s been lifted, you can go to the country where your chosen language is spoken natively and be able to talk to locals.
As someone who has travelled to so many different countries, I can tell you that trying to speak in the local language is always appreciated.
You might end up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, that’s true. But if you can react with grace and self-deprecating humour when that happens, then it could be a great and unforgettable experience for you.
Obviously, if you’re quarantined, then you’ll have to do all your language learning at home, at least for the foreseeable future.
But luckily, you can do quite a lot of language learning online and some of them for free.
My current favourite is Duolingo and I recommend that you check it out.
For more information on language learning, look at the resources below:
Duolingo – A free language learning app that delivers bite-sized lessons incorporated into a fun game. It’s currently available in 35 languages.
How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour – Especially relevant if you want to learn a language but you’re worried about the 7 or 14-day limit. You can lean a language in an hour and no, it won’t kill you.
12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time – Another post that gives you excellent tips that will help you learn foreign languages fast. Guess what, the writer also recommends Duolingo. 🙂
Best career skill #3: Coding
If the current pandemic has made you think that it might be sensible to transition to the sort of job you can do remotely should the situation require it, then coding skills will certainly help and is one of the best skills to learn during quarantine.
Whether you’re a freelancer, a blogger, a website designer, a writer or working in any of those jobs or businesses that require your own website, coding skills will make your life a lot easier.
I would go so far as to say that, in this day and age, anyone who wishes to work online could benefit from knowing how to code.
In fact, this is why my first two blogs failed. I got hung up in the design phase and couldn’t make the website look exactly like I wanted. I spent gruelling hours trying to make it right but my coding skills were at zero and I couldn’t even get the fonts to look the way I wanted them to.
So, I shelved the project and then promptly forgot to renew the domain.
Now, coding isn’t a requirement for the most part but if you look at a few job adverts for remote or online opportunities, quite a few of them prefer candidates who are at least familiar with HTML, CSS and PHP or JS.
Terrifying terms, right?
Just a bit.
HTML is actually really easy and is enough to build a website of your own. It’s going to be a crappy website (think Craigslist) but it will be functional and it will be something you made yourself.
CSS is what makes your HTML pretty and again, it need not be too complicated. If you apply yourself to learning this particular skill, you’d be able to use it to make a more aesthetically pleasing website.
And if you get lost or you can’t get something to work, then you have all sorts of communities more than happy to help you (my personal favourite is Stack Overflow).
PHP and JS are computer languages and just like human languages, they take time to master but again, you just need to be proficient enough in the basics.
If you fall in love with coding, then all you need to do is just improve your skill as time passes.
Coding is one of those skills that can only become more in demand. In fact, if you look at the Skills Shortage List in many countries, you’ll find that web developers, programmers and other IT professionals are always on that list. The demand is growing fast.
If you were considering transitioning to this type of work, then use this time to learn how to code.
Codecademy – Learn how to code for free. This is the site that introduced me to the wonderful world of coding.
PHP for Beginners – Become a PHP Master – CMS Project – An excellent paid course from Udemy that focuses on PHP, the language that WordPress is built on.
Best career skill #4: Digital marketing
If I were given the chance to go back in time to when I was trying to decide what I was going to take when I go to university, I’d go back and choose this one.
Marketing is the one course that eclipses all others, in my opinion. I know, it’s probably a strange opinion coming from someone who talks about living the blissful life because marketing is so very practical and a life of bliss borders on the esoteric.
But the truth of the matter is, money can be your greatest downfall or your saving grace. It all depends on whether you have it or you don’t and what you do in either case.
Marketing is something you can use regardless of your profession, which is why I personally think this is one of the best skills to learn during quarantine.
Even when interviewing for a job, knowledge of marketing principles will stand you in good stead.
I personally recommend focusing on digital marketing because that particular skill, like IT skills, is rapidly becoming in demand. And not very many people have it.
This skill, like the other skills on this list, will make you far more hirable, offer you key knowledge that would be useful in any business, including your own if you end up becoming an entrepreneur.
Luckily, you can also learn digital marketing online so you can stay within the comfort of your own home whilst you upskill.
Again, Udemy is your friend here. Type in marketing or digital marketing in the search field and you’ll find the course that suits your needs.
The Complete Digital Marketing Course – 12 Courses in 1 – A hugely interactive course with over 20 hours of training, quizzes and practical steps you can follow. This is one of the most comprehensive digital marketing courses available online. You’ll learn SEO, YouTube Marketing, Facebook Marketing, Google Adwords, Google Analytics and more.
Best career skill #5: Problem-solving and decision-making
Another skill to learn during quarantine that will make you more hirable to future employers and more valuable to your current one is problem-solving and decision-making.
Every single employee ever hired is there for one purpose and one purpose only: to solve a particular problem.
In fact, a lot of the tension that happens between employees and management comes from a mismatch between the problem and the solution. In other words, an error or misunderstanding occurs that means the company either hires the wrong person for the job or the job description doesn’t match the employee’s expectation.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the fact that the ability to look at problems and find a way to solve them and make decisions even under considerable stress (such as during a global pandemic) is a valuable skill now and always.
In short, if you want to ensure that you remain hirable no matter the circumstances, you must learn effective problem-solving and decision-making.
Best career skill #6: Leadership
If you possess this particular skill, you’re almost guaranteed progression in any career and that’s why I added it in the list of the best skills to learn during quarantine that will help you become more hirable.
Leadership is very different from management and requires a certain skillset that isn’t easy to find, even amongst management. As Larry Cuban wrote in 1988, “Leaders are people who shape the goals, motivations, and actions of others. Frequently they initiate change to reach existing and new goals . . . Leadership . . . takes . . . much ingenuity, energy and skill. Managing is maintaining efficiently and effectively current organisational arrangements. While managing well often exhibits leadership skills, the overall function is toward maintenance rather than change.”
In other words, the ability to lead others and affect change is a coveted skill and one that will stand you in good stead wherever you go.
Six things to learn during quarantine that will help you become more independent
In this section, I listed the five things to learn during quarantine that will help you become more independent. And I mean that quite literally.
Now that many of us are living with lockdown, forced or voluntary quarantine etc and having to make do with limited supplies and contact with people whom we normally rely on to do the little things we need that suddenly aren’t so little anymore, it’s become clear that there are some things we need to learn or re-learn so that we’re ready in case something like this happens again.
These are things that will give us back more control over our lives, add value to us as people and allow us to handle crises like this far more confidently.
Things to learn during quarantine #1: Gardening
One of the many reasons people started panic-buying and stockpiling comes from the fear that the current crisis (or any crisis for that matter) could result in food shortage.
This happens every time something goes wrong, whether that calamity is a typhoon, a tornado, wildfire, an earthquake or a pandemic.
Of course, a tsunami could very well wipe out your garden and with it, your source of food but chances are, if you have a garden that supplies the majority of your food, you’ll also know how to preserve the harvest so you never run out (don’t know how to preserve fresh food? Go to the next section).
This particular course will help you grow both fish and vegetables together, which would meet the bulk of your needs food-wise and ease off any panic you may feel about not having enough to eat.
Things to learn during quarantine #2: Preserving
A garden is pointless if all your harvest goes to waste because you can’t eat all of it in one sitting. That’s why if you’re going to learn how to grow your own food, it’s essential that you learn how to preserve it so that you always have access to fresh food no matter the season.
This particular training from Udemy will show you exactly what you need to do in order to preserve food at the height of freshness.
I particularly like this one as it doesn’t involve canning. Obviously, you can do that if you want and if you have the expertise for it but I’m personally intimidated by the whole process so haven’t found the courage yet to try it.
But the kind of food preservation discussed in this course is something even I can do and so I recommend to you. If you’re interested in other ways of preserving food, you can look at food dehydrating.
Things to learn during quarantine #3: Cooking
One of the best things to learn during quarantine that will free you from relying on other people, cooking from scratch is a skill that seems to have fallen on the side in this era of readymade meals and takeaway.
But what would you do if neither readymade meals nor takeaway were available but you have fresh ingredients?
What’s the point of a garden that produces all the fresh food you need and a freezer and chiller packed with beautifully preserved produce if you don’t know how to make food out of them?
This course will give you the basics of this skill and I highly recommend this to anyone who’s never cooked before.
Things to learn during quarantine #4: Home Repair
Another thing to learn during quarantine that you may never have considered essential before but is now clearly important is the lost art of home repair.
We’re now so used to phoning a plumber, a joiner, a sparky etc to fix the tiniest problem we encounter at home that a lockdown has caused some panic.
What can you do if you have a tiny leak in your bathroom? It’s certainly not an emergency but how do you know for sure? Would you risk fixing it yourself or leaving it on its own? And if you do phone a plumber, would they even come seeing as it’s not an emergency?
Would you rely on somebody else for something so little? Fortunately, you don’t need to. This course is comprehensive and will give you the basics of home repair and also teach you how to recognise when you do need professional assistance.
Things to learn during quarantine #5: Hairdressing
I didn’t even think this was a necessity until 12 days into our self-isolation and my husband and son started lamenting the fact that they can’t get a haircut.
Eventually, it got to the point that they’ve voted me in as designated hairdresser and will be cutting their hair tomorrow as soon as the newly ordered trimmer arrives. I have no experience with cutting hair except the wispiest of my son’s fringes and I was really worried about how I’d go about doing it.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon this course, which really saved the day.
It’s funny because I’m not at all stressing about my hair but I suppose it’s because I wear it long anyway. Men, on the other hand, may find it a bit stressful that they can’t get their hair cut during the quarantine period (and even beyond).
Things to learn during quarantine #6: Work from home
You’ll still need to earn money despite the fact that your country is in lockdown and so this ended up in my list of things to learn during quarantine.
The truth is, not all jobs can be done remotely.
Plumbing is one such thing. Being a frontline healthcare worker is another.
If you wanted to pivot so that you can still earn despite the fact that you’re now living in your pyjamas at home, then this is the time to do so and this is the course you need to study.
It gives you five different ways you can start a profitable home business that will allow you to weather crises like this. When you own a business (or several) that can withstand something as cataclysmic as this global pandemic, then you will be better able to remain calm despite the chaos around you.
As I wrote above, money can be your saving grace or your downfall. It all depends on whether you have enough it or not and what you do in either case.
Final thoughts on the best skills to learn during quarantine
As I said, the best skills to learn during quarantine need to be those that you can do whilst you’re at home (and don’t require expensive equipment),
those that will have an immediate positive impact on you, those that you can learn the basics of in just a matter of days and those that don’t require much interaction (or if they do, that interaction can be satisfied electronically).
I mean, there’s no sense in trying to learn sparring skills if you live on your own and are quarantined or self-isolated because to really master sparring, you need a sparring partner.
So, use this list to help you generate ideas for the skills you require in your life. Or just go ahead and try them yourself.
I’m currently learning all four myself so I can attest to the usefulness of them all.
PS. I’m not learning them all because I’m overly ambitious. I kinda have no choice. My blogging is better now that I have a good grasp of time management, coding and digital marketing (which is why these three made it into my list of the best skills to learn during quarantine).
The language skill is more personal. I just love languages. 🙂
What about you? Are you already learning any new skills during quarantine?