The COVID-19 global pandemic has left a number of us with a lot of time on our hands that can be difficult to fill. Some decided to start a new television series, some have begun to develop business ideas and others have rekindled their interest in old hobbies.

Others have decided to engage in personal development and the acquisition of new skills, as shown by the eightfold increase in online course enrolments. If you’re looking to gain more skills in order to kill the time, gain a greater sense of control or boost your CV during a time of economic uncertainty, here are some ways that you can achieve this.

Here are the best ways to Improve Your Skills

1. Identify the skills that you lack

One of the best ways to figure out how to develop your skills is to sit down with a list and categorize them into ones you feel are your strongest and the ones which need improvement. Figuring out our strengths and weaknesses helps us to understand and improve ourselves in some way. Once you have identified particular skills which you believe require improvement, you can discern what kind of tasks, online courses or experiences you can begin in order to do this.

2. Get to grips with technology

This is a key skill that can be useful in many different careers or environments. There has been a surge in the use of technology during the lockdown, with individuals requiring some knowledge of online meeting applications, chat rooms and emails. Once you have mastered these applications, you could share your knowledge in order to help others. There are also available online programming courses to further develop your IT skills.

3. Enroll in an online course of your choice

You could learn to dance, paint, photograph, cook, start your own business, or even to recite pi to the nearest 50 decimal places. You are not restricted in any way. Find out what you want to learn and start learning today with an online learning platform like Masterclass (you can see Masterclass reviews here). This can help to improve your skills as you are taking charge of your own learning journey, setting your own goals, and achieving them on your own terms. It can be hugely beneficial to learn to be your own motivator.

4. Widen your network

Staying connected with our friends and family is essential for our mental health. The pandemic has made this somewhat harder, yet online video call applications have seen a huge increase in the number of users. Zoom in particular, reported that their userbase has increased from 659,000 users in January to 13 million in April. This is a 2000% increase.

Another way to meet new people and to widen your network is through live online tutoring calls. This way, you can learn something new about any subject that you like whilst also interacting with an online tutor in real time via a learning platform. Stand out from the crowd by using a digital business card for networking. Unlike paper business cards, digital business cards are eco-friendly, interactive, and share more information. Their interactive element will make you more memorable and show you are tech-savvy. You can connect with people from all over the world, meaning that you can further develop your understanding of cultures and your communication or interpersonal skills are likely to improve. These skills are widely sought after by employers.

5. Self-help books or courses

Self help books are often directed towards dealing with pain, improving skills that are likely to increase the chances of success or financial situation and spiritual or personal development. However, due to technological advancement, self-help books have been less and less popular in the last couple of years.

The reason for this decline of popularity are online courses. There are so many online courses, classes and lessons offering similar tuition for self-growth and the achievement of goals. Such courses can enhance social skills, emotional maturity or intelligence and overall self confidence. They also provide tips to boost efficiency within your career and your ability to assert your ideas. Whether it’s decision making, confidence or leadership skills that you wish to develop – these classes are likely to help you.

6. Learn a language

Learning a new language has never been easier than nowadays. Online learning platforms offer second language learning classes for a reasonable price or even for free. Being able to explain, negotiate and interact with clients in another language can increase employability and even lead to a higher salary. Other benefits include the improvement of memory function, ability to multitask and decision making skills.

Learning a new language and interacting with people who speak that language can also increase your understanding of different cultures, which is highly important when it comes to personal development.

7. Take care of your body

Several personal trainers have taken to social media or started virtual training sessions for their clients which are easy to get involved in. During times like these when stress levels can increase, fueling your body with healthy nutrients and regular exercise is paramount. You could practice trampoline yoga, meditation, strength training, cardiovascular exercise or sports training. The possibilities are endless.

You could also use the extra time we have during lockdown to learn how to cook some new recipes and learn about nutrition. Learning about new things such as these increases the density of the white matter in your brain, which improves performance and skills for a number of varying tasks.

8. Gardening and DIY

The Office for National Statistics in the UK reports that there has been a 147% increase in time spent on gardening and DIY tasks during the pandemic. Families have built their own bar or cafe in their back garden, people have painted their houses and cared for their flowers more than ever.

If you feel comfortable with the lifting and manual dexterity that some of these tasks require, you could explore and try out other creative tasks through online courses. These seemingly simple, everyday tasks can improve your skills too!

9. Volunteer for a charity

There are many charities that are struggling as a result of COVID-19 complications. You can help new charities dedicated to supplying those who are shielding with their essential shopping items, you could help charities that are organising protests and demonstrations for the Black Lives Matter movement or any other charity with values that you agree with.

This can help you gain particular skills such as problem-solving, organisation, leadership and time management. It is also a great way to give back to the community and help others in need. However, please remember that the virus is still a threat. Be safe and responsible when around other volunteers.

To conclude, improving your skills is always beneficial for many aspects of life. We have seen the positive physical effects that learning and personal development can have such as improving brain function, whilst also increasing the sense of control and achievement in your life. This does not have to be impeded by the pandemic and the lockdown period. There are several useful technological tools that are often overlooked which can help you too. You can continue to improve your skills, better yourself and increase your employability whilst also filling the free-time that has been imposed on us by the global pandemic.

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