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Embrace the Road Ahead: Nurturing Essential Life Skills
Developing essential life skills becomes a transformative journey in a world where adaptability is critical. From effective communication and public speaking finesse to technical expertise and online adeptness, these proficiencies serve as our guiding stars in both the virtual and real worlds. By honing time management, securing data, leveraging technology, and embracing knowledge, we lay the cornerstone for a promising and fulfilling future. So, let’s embark on this empowering quest, enrich our lives, and stride forward armed with invaluable capabilities.
Technical Life Skills for Today
Each generation has a new set of technical life skills needed to keep up with current times.
While only some technical skills need to involve what we consider technology, most today do in one way or another.
Consider this definition of Technical Skill by Investopedia.com
Technical skills are sets of abilities or knowledge used to perform practical tasks in the areas of mechanics, science, mathematics and information technology. In finance, technical skills may also refer to those utilized by investors and analyst who follow the procedures of technical analysis.Oct 1, 2019
As you can see from that description, our technical skills go far beyond the computer keyboard. So let’s look at a few of those skills and what they involve.
1. Time Management Involves Technical life Skills
Time management requires the ability to use a clock and a calendar. Managing our daily and ongoing schedules is an important life skill. A calendar, either printed or an online one, simplifies your life and ensures you get everything done, every day. Of course, you need to be able to pivot when necessary, but learning how to block off time for activities, appointments, and scheduled events makes your life flow so much more smoothly.
In addition, it’s important to plan ahead. Running late causes stress and often creates problems for others, too. Most successful people know how to manage their time to ensure they are usually early or on time and that they fulfill the day’s list.
One saying my kids learned from a 4H county agent still finds itself in use in our lives occasionally. Events and meetings need to be kept to a schedule. When she was driving them, she would caution them with the following saying.
If you are early, you are on-time; if you are on-time, you are late; if you are late, you are left.
Quite simply, she expected everyone to show up a few minutes early so they could have a little cushion of time to load up the van and get organized. If they needed to leave at 8am, they should already be settled into the van before that time. And she told them quite frankly that if they were late, she didn’t wait long for them to arrive.
Of course, if they called and said they were caught in traffic, she was understanding. But her point was well-taken. The county van usually arrived at it’s destination on-time or early.
2. Writing Skills
Surely, not everyone aspires to be a novelist or even a blogger. But basic writing skills, including sentence structure and clear writing expression, make a huge difference in life.
Even if you absolutely hate writing and would rather dig a 100-yard ditch 10 feet deep than write a single-page essay, basic writing remains an essential skill.
Most of our writing is done via a keyboard or other computer means. Handwriting is sometimes needed, too, though, and everyone should have basic writing skills that allow you to write simple sentences and your signature.
But writing, whether by hand or computer, should clearly express your intended thought. Check that spelling, too. With free apps like Grammarly.com. It only takes a few minutes to ensure you write correctly. And the impression it leaves with others lasts a long time!
The above link allows you to use the FREE Grammarly site as long as you choose. You may also upgrade to the premium version if you choose.
3. Public Speaking Skills
This one causes many of us to cower in the corner while some people take to it like a fish takes to water. I’m an introvert and that corner looks pretty comforting.
But being able to share your ideas with others, whether one-on-one or as a speaker to a group, is a skill you can use throughout your life. Our kids learned through the 4H program. They gave short speeches and gave presentations, and demonstrations. When you begin at age 5, the journey is much less of a challenge. Shy or outgoing, they learned to stand up and say what they needed to say.
But public speaking can be learned at any age. You might start with a small church gathering or perhaps at a meeting. Some groups, like the Toastmasters organization, are also dedicated to helping people learn this skill.
Like any skill, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. And your skills improve with practice, too.
4. Effective Communication
Also related to writing and public speaking skills, finding ways to communicate effectively is vital. Communication is a two-way skill. You need to learn to express your needs and thoughts to others in a way that they easily understand what you are saying.
But communication requires listening to others, too. A conversation requires both sides to listen and respond. The adage that you have two ears and only one mouth often needs repeating. Listening increases your effective communication when you speak or write your response. Too many people forget the listening part.
These skills find use within your family, too. Communicating with your spouse, children, and friends creates stronger relationships and friendships. Good communication skills help build successful interactions between people.
5. Technical Life Skills 101
Most of us possess basic computer skills today. It’s become almost necessary. An increasing number of people use smartphones as their only phone.
At the very least, basic computer skills include email and searching for basic information. Many doctors and other professionals use email and website portals to communicate with patients and customers.
Especially with the current pandemic, computers help keep people connected with others anywhere in the world. Applications like Zoom even allow us to video chat when we can’t meet in person.
Get to know the basics. They can be a powerful and useful tool to help simplify your life.
Funny Story of Basic Computer Skills
I was meeting with a 4H agent to discuss upcoming events we were planning. We heard another voice in a nearby office shouting, “Oh No!” then the vocal agent came running in to ask if my eldest son was home. Although still a 4H member, he was widely known as a techy expert that others went to for advice.
Without knowing the problem, I told her to call him; I was sure he’d help if he could. Soon, we heard her loudly proclaim that he was fantastic. The problem that he had solved? She had accidentally sent an email she needed to the trash folder and was afraid it was lost forever. He explained that she should open her trash folder and send it back to her inbox. Problem solved.
The lesson? Learn the basics. You will save yourself frustration!
6. Learn to Back up Files (and Remember to Do So)
Speaking of mistakes you can’t undo, this one often comes up in my husband’s computer business. A customer will call and say they had a power failure or a computer crashed. Sometimes, it’s just that an employee hit the wrong key and then another to confirm removing files or making changes (he has a double system to avoid accidents, but people sometimes keep hitting the yes key!)
A current backup can restore their settings and data with minimal loss. But sadly, without a current backup, they probably lost valuable data.
Does it take too much to do a backup? No, it’s an easy process that can be run overnight. But we tend to forget to do them.
If you’ve lost files and data and not had a backup, you probably remember to do the backups for a while afterward. Sadly, the information lost may be a painful reminder.
Consider using a program that automatically saves every few minutes for writers and bloggers. Often, we are so busy writing and keeping our thoughts organized that we forget to save them.
7. Use a Password Protection Tool
Do you use the same password for everything? Is it something easy for you to remember like your pet’s name? Such a method creates the potential for great DANGER!
Your password is a key to each site. Would you want one key that unlocks and starts your car, unlocks your house, and maybe even your safe holding your important documents? And if you did, would you make copies of it and keep a copy in several places, just in case?
That is what you are doing with your passwords. If one is hacked, the criminal can access all your sites. That might include your banking sites, emails, and even private files. Put that way, it sounds ridiculous.
I suggest using a password management tool such as LastPass. It’s my favorite tool and works well for all my sites and computer files.
8. Research Using Multiple Sources
“Google It!” Now a common saying, Google came into existence with its founding in 1998. Before that, our trusty Encyclopedias and libraries drew us in for manual searches.
But, while people today search via Google, the results are not always perfect or reputable. Google does an amazing job at sifting through websites to determine which will be featured on its first page, but with so many other sources, we suggest you use other sources, too. Wikipedia is an open-source forum. Anyone can add his or her own “spin” on information. The people behind Wiki do try to sift out information that is not correct, but it still cannot be held as factual at all times.
WebMD provides useful medical information but may only have some things. So, rather than just Googling a subject or term, learn to do real research when you need more in-depth information.
Yes, that may involve “Googling” and comparing the resulting sites. But go a few steps further. Read through websites and find their information links, too.
9. Those Other Online Tools for Technical Life Skills
With many possible tools and useful sites on the internet, it’s easy to get off on rabbit trails while working or just reading information. It happens all too often to me.
But some of these tools help in many areas of life. My favorites include:
I’ll be adding others in a separate article to explain what each does. In fact, I suggest you make your own list as you navigate the web. Find those that are most useful. Bookmark them or save them to a document for further reference.
In a rapidly changing world, the acquisition of vital life skills becomes paramount. From efficient communication and public speaking finesse to adept technical prowess and smart online practices, these proficiencies are the compass guiding us through both the digital realm and reality. By honing time management, safeguarding data, harnessing technology, and embracing knowledge, we not only build a solid foundation but also embark on a journey towards a prosperous and gratifying future. So, let’s eagerly embrace these skills, enrich our lives, and forge a path illuminated by our newfound capabilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you suggest some essential technical life skills?
Absolutely! Skills like basic coding, digital privacy management, and troubleshooting devices can empower you in the digital age.
Why is learning to troubleshoot devices important?
Knowing how to troubleshoot devices helps you fix common issues, saving time and money. It’s like having your own tech superhero cape!
How can learning basic coding benefit me?
Learning coding basics enhances problem-solving skills, boosts creativity, and opens doors to exciting tech-related opportunities.
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