Picking up new skills is almost always worthwhile investment. Having a developed skill set can save you time, money, and frustration in so many situations — and if you need something to occupy you during a quick break at work, you'd be surprised how many useful skills you can learn sitting at your desk. You know, things you can practice between meetings or when you need to reset your brain and focus on something else. Sure, it's tempting to spend that time scrolling social media or watching funny cat videos, but practicing a new skill can ultimately feel more fulfilling — and it'll probably be handier in the long run.
Luckily for us, AskReddit is currently discussing this very subject. In a post simply asking, "What is a useful skill you can learn in 10 minutes while sitting at a desk?", redditor empireof3 basically blew up Reddit, garnering a whopping 2,300 responses within a day — and still growing. Of course, a lot of these responses suggest "getting off Reddit and doing your job" as a "useful skill" (har, har), but there are actually a ton of creative and handy suggestions I wouldn't have thought of myself buried in the thread, too. I hand-picked some of the ones that stood out to me the most, but you can read the full thread over at AskReddit.
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1. Become An Excel Wizard
Considering you're already sitting at a desk, why not learn some handy Excel shortcuts? When it comes down to it, there are plenty of tasks we do every day on the computer that we can probably do faster and more efficiently. So next time you're tempted to refresh your Twitter feed again, why not practice some Excel?
2. Brush Up On Your First Aid
Brushing up on your first aid skills could literally help you save a life someday. While you do need to be certified to do certain aspects of first aid safely, it never hurts to review tutorials and guides online to brush up on how to help others (and yourself!) during emergencies. Heck, there is even first aid for your pets!
3. Practice Learning A New Language
OK, let's be real: It takes a lot longer to learn a new language than 10 minutes. But 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, 10 minutes while you're commuting on the subway, and so on add up after a while. Besides, if you want to brush up on language skills you gained in college or are prepping for an upcoming vacation, it doesn't hurt to practice basic vocabulary and sentence structure for a few minutes on a daily basis. After all, you never know when you'll need to ask where the bathroom is, am I right?
4. Get Familiar With Basic Coding
Similar to learning a foreign language, you can't learn all of the nuances of coding in only a few minutes' time. But if you want to familiarize yourself with the foundation of coding, you can build your knowledge of the basics by practicing every day when you have a free moment at your desk. There are all sorts of free coding tutorials online, as well as forums, that can help get you started.
5. Practice Tying Simple Knots
Sure, learning how to tie knots doesn't necessarily sound like the most exciting activity, but you never know when it'll come in handy. Especially if you're a nature junkie or someone who enjoys helping people move (hey, it happens), it can be super useful (and safe!) to know the proper way to tie knots depending on the weight and size of the object.
6. Release Your Artistic Side
Personally, I can't think of many things more useful than learning how to create art. When it comes to relieving stress and anxiety, making art can be a great way to refocus your energies and give yourself a mental break from the situation at hand. And hey, everyone likes receiving origami as a little surprise, right?
7. How To Properly Position Your Fingers On The Keyboard
If you're like me, you learned how to type intuitively — by which I mean, you're a digital native and grew up learning how to do it without having to take an additional course or learn it in a classroom setting. Learning how to properly position your fingers on the keyboard, though — which many self-taught typists don't necessarily do — can help you increase your typing speed and may even be more comfortable than what you've taught yourself.
8. Improve Your Desk Posture
There are many, many health benefits to maintaining good posture, especially when sitting at your desk. Good posture can relieve tension in your neck, shoulders, head, and even your hands and wrists. If you're experiencing symptoms of tech neck, maintaining good posture can be especially important.
9. Learn Shortcuts For Your Computer
Whether you're using a PC or a Mac, it's always useful to brush up on keyboard shortcuts that can be more efficient than doing everything by hand. When you're juggling a lot on your plate, you never know how all the little ways you save time can add up to give you a better, faster result in the end.
10. Familiarize Yourself With The Evacuation Plan
It's perhaps not the most pleasant thing to think about, but it's important to be prepared in case of an emergency, whether at home or in your workplace. It's always a good idea to make sure you're familiar with the protocol for responding to emergencies, how to evacuate your building, who to call, and so forth. Preparing for emergencies and being informed can help save stress and panic in the event anything does happen.
11. Get In Tune With Yourself With Meditation
The beauty of meditation is that you can practice it anywhere, any time, any place. If you're having a rough day at work, it's helpful to know that you can tune everything out and focus on calming yourself and getting back to your own internal center, even if just for 10 minutes at a time. Focusing on your needs is important, and meditation is a fast and effective way to soothe stress.
12. Practice Some Mental Math
Personally, math has never been my strong point, so the thought of doing it when I don't have to is not initially exciting. However, this Redditor has a great point: There are plenty of basic math problems you can solve quickly in your head, which can you save you having to pull out your phone calculator to figure things out on the spot. Besides, we all learned this stuff at one point anyway; what's the harm in reviewing it once in a while? Gotta keep that knowledge fresh!
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