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- 1 Technical Life Skills for Today
- 1.1 1. Time Management involves technical life skills
- 1.2 2. Writing Skills
- 1.3 3. Public Speaking Skills
- 1.4 4. Effective Communication
- 1.5 5. Technical life skills 101
- 1.6 Funny story of basic computer skills
- 1.7 6. Learn to Back Up Files (and remember to do so)
- 1.8 7. Use a Password Protection Tool
- 1.9 8. Research using multiple sources
- 1.10 9. Those other online tools for Technical life skills
Technical Life Skills for Today
Each generation has a new set of technical life skills needed to keep up with current times.
While not every technical skill needs 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
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 to write a single page essay, basic writing remains an essential skill.
Most of our writing anymore 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 be a clear expression of 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 about 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 dedicated to helping people learn this skill, too.
Like any skill, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. And your skills improve with practice, too.
4. Effective Communication
Also related to the 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 listen and respond. The old adage that you have two ears and only one mouth often needs repeating. By listening, you increase your effective communication when you speak or write your response. Too many people forget the listeing part.
These skills find use within your family, too. Communicating with your spouse, your children, and your 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. In fact, an increasing number of people use smartphones as their only phone.
At the very least, we consider basic computer skills to 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 at 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 just call him; I was sure he’d help if he could. Soon, we heard her proclaim, again loudly, 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. All he did was explain 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 comes up all too often in my husband’s computer business. A customer will call up and say they had a power failure or their 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 just keep hitting the yes key!)
A current back up can restore their settings and data with minimal loss. But sadly, without a current back up, they probably lost valuable data.
Does it take too much to do a backup? No, it’s actually 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 to do the backups for a while after. Sadly, the information lost may be a painful reminder.
For writers and bloggers, consider using a program that automatically saves every few minutes. Often, we are so busy writing and keeping our thoughts organized that we forget to save.
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 to have 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 now has access to to all of your sites. That might include your banking sites, your emails, and even private files. Put that way, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
I suggest using a password management tool such as LastPass. It’s my favorite such 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 it’s founding in 1998. Before that, our trusty Encyclopedias and libraries drew us in for manual searches.
But, while people today search via Goggle, the results are not always perfect, nor are they always reputable. Google does an amazing job at sifting through websites to determine which will be featured on it’s 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 not have everything. So, rather than just Googling a subject or term, learn how to do real research when you need more in-depth information.
Yes, that may still involve “Googling” and then comparing the resulting sites. But go a few steps farther. Read through websites and find their information links, too.
9. Those other online tools for Technical life skills
With a plethora of 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.
You might enjoy reading our previous articles on life skills including:
Also, watch for Part 3 of our Life Skills Everyone Should Know series