As I write this, we’re currently on Day 12 (5? 31? Who knows at this point?) of the Enhanced Community Quarantine. Right now, I’m seeing two very different reactions to this period of mandatory downtime.
On the one hand, it’s business as usual for me and my RemoteStaff colleagues. We still go about our tasks every day and our deadlines remain pretty much the same. It’s all good, though. At a time when so many are worrying about their employment prospects, we remain gainfully employed and enjoy what we do for the most part.
(Okay, so it’s a bit weird to discover that your normal lifestyle is considered “quarantine,” but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have much of a social life.)
On the other hand, there are countless others who are running out of Netflix titles to watch and are bemoaning their expanding waistlines. Isolation is, I suppose, especially hard on active extroverts.
However, this enforced quarantine period does come with a silver lining. Since bars, cinemas, shopping malls, and gyms are currently closed, those of us with means can finally hunker down and work on things we’ve been putting off.
For instance, now happens to be the best time to pick up some useful remote working skills. Whether we like it or not, the nature of work as we know it has and will continue to change drastically. We might as well prepare for the inevitable.
And so, without further ado, here are a handful of key skills that you can pick up at home as we all ride out the quarantine period:
- Time Management.
A seriously underrated skill, knowing how to manage your time is critical if you want to succeed in remote working. Sure, working from home can be liberating, but it also presents a lot of distractions. It can also be quite difficult to focus without the structure that a traditional office provides.
Time management can take years to master, but you can get the basics done in a few days. First, you need to track your time. Find out how much time you spend on certain tasks and list them down. Second, identify which tasks you should spend more time on, which ones to deprioritize, and which ones you can do away with completely or outsource.
Third, block periods of time throughout the day for important tasks and adjust as needed. You can also check out day-theming for a more specific approach.
- How to Get More Followers on Social Media.
Granted, influencers can be sketchy as heck, but any business could use someone who can bring people in. Furthermore, gaining a substantial following online entails serious marketing skills. These include building and defining your brand, identifying your target audience, and coming up with different ways to provide value to them.
Check out Think Media’s Sean Cannell’s tutorial on the subject here:
For reference, the guy has 1.03 million subscribers. Not too shabby, eh?
- Digital Marketing.
Speaking of marketing, it’s arguably the business course that eclipses all others. If you can’t sell your product or service, do you even have a business? Hence, is it really so surprising that the same principle applies in the digital age?
Best of all, digital marketing is useful regardless of your industry or profession. As an employee, a working knowledge of SEO, YouTube, Email and Facebook Marketing will always make you stand out above other candidates. The demand for such skills is growing, and isn’t likely to peter out soon, especially now.
Conversely, the same digital marketing skills will boost your business’ online presence greatly if you decide to put up your own company.
Intrigued? Udemy has a pretty comprehensive course you can try out here.
If you have serious ambitions towards working online, you can’t go wrong with learning how to code. A decent grasp of the most commonly-used programming languages will make your life easier, regardless of what online job you choose to specialize in.
As with digital marketing, coding is a skill that will never go out of style. If you look at the ads or openings for remote jobs online, quite a few of them prefer candidates who are at least familiar with HTML, CSS, PHP, or JS. Also, coding is always on the Skills Shortage List in many countries, so you’d be able to find work anywhere.
Codeacademy is a great site that teaches people how to code for free. Check them out here.
- Video Editing.
Have you ever wondered how your favorite online brands or pages manage to churn out such impressive videos? Well, guess what? You can actually come up with something similar on your phone!
Now, how is this skill relevant to remote work? Well, all online businesses have to compete with everyone’s increasingly short attention span and a kick-@$$ video is one way to attract attention.
TechTeacher Nate has a free Youtube tutorial on iMovie Basics that you can look at below:
- Basic Photoshop.
Again, the ability to create striking visuals are a strategic weapon to have in your digital marketing or remote working arsenal. What better way to start cultivating that than with the basics of Photoshop?
Let’s say you want to launch an online business or offer your skills as a remote worker. Knowing your way around the world’s best imaging and design application certainly won’t hurt.
Good ol’ Udemy has a very reasonably-priced course that can make you an Adobe Certified Associate here.
- Content Writing.
Always wanted to write for a living? You’re in luck. There is always a demand for content writers on various topics. It’s not just about writing articles like this one either. Some clients need writers to write copy for their online stores and their websites. Quite a few also require the same for their social media pages.
You don’t need to be an English major to become a content writer, but it helps to cover the basics. Knowing the difference between writing an article and writing sales copy also helps, along with the skills to do both.
BONUS: How to Stretch Your Lower Back
Yes, seriously. Unless you’ve got one of those fancy standing desks, you’ll probably spend a great deal of time sitting. (Either that or all those Netflix marathons will do a number on your back.)
Prevent lower back pain by learning how to stretch properly. You can thank me later.
Quarantines aren’t fun for anyone, but that shouldn’t stop us from emerging from them as better than we were when they started.