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Stay productive in isolation by busying yourself with the best free online courses, educational podcasts and tips for achieving goals and starting a business.
Isolation brings a host of challenges and new demands on time (just ask the parent who is spinning the plates of homeschooling and remote working simultaneously) but there are a few pockets of time we’ve managed to reclaim as ours. During the era of COVID-19 (coronavirus), there’s no commute – which, for the average Australian, constitutes 66 minutes a day – as well as no external socialising or outdoor pursuits. How will you keep yourself busy so that when you come out the other side of social distancing and isolation you have increased your skill base? We have a few ideas.
Stay busy while you work from home by swapping your storytelling podcasts for options that double as education. Harvard Business Review’s IdeaCast, where prominent business leaders and managers discuss topics as wide-reaching as effective hiring and harnessing innovation, is a great place to start, as well as The $100 MBA Show, which zeros in on the specifics of running a business, from building prototypes to how to balance deadlines with quality output.
Additionally, the ever-enriching TED remains the same encyclopaedic hub of ideas but with a few new offerings; you can now watch TED Connects talks live, daily, with the aim of inspiring hope in these uncertain times, or host or join a TED Circle, which is like a book club for TED talks, allowing you to chat with others about any interesting concepts speakers raise.
There’s always room to make improvements professionally but until now you mightn’t have had the time. While you stay home, use this time productively to upskill. Sit down and consider growth areas for you or your business; are you as effective at online marketing as you would like to be? Is your website as functional as it could be? Could you learn more about the accounting and finance side of things?
Keep busy while in isolation with a raft of education sources offering virtual education for free. Open Culture gathers the best free online courses covering everything from behavioural finance to blockchain, with educators as prestigious as Oxford, Stanford, Harvard and Yale universities, while Coursera collates classes from leading companies such as Google and IBM, at no charge.
Statistics vary with just how much more successful you’ll be at achieving your goals by writing them down but regardless of the number, the takeaway is clear: if you want to reach that target, you should record it.
Now that you have a little more time to dedicate to achieving them, use it to work on professional and business goals for next year. Outlining these objectives is just the first step, however. A study by the Dominican University of California not only found that writing your goals down made them statistically more likely to happen but that detailing specific steps to reaching said goals can be beneficial. Committing to sending a weekly update to a friend or mentor as a progress report is the most effective strategy to help you finally tackle long-held personal goals.
If you’ve been sitting on a great business idea, now’s the time to start laying the groundwork for getting it off the ground. First steps could include creating a website, landing on a mission statement, looping in friends and family to give formalised feedback on your idea (as a kind of preliminary market research), using social media, or, crucially, writing a business plan. Tips on starting are plentiful online or, if you like a concrete guide, dive into a step-by-step book such as The Lean Startup by entrepreneur Eric Ries.