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5 Job-Boosting Skills You Can Learn In A Weekend

These low-commitment, high-return activities will make you better at your job.

5 Job-Boosting Skills You Can Learn In A Weekend
[Photo: Flickr user Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office]

Need a few ideas for putting this weekend to good use–while having fun and relaxing before Monday comes again?

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Try these activities that will make you feel accomplished and productive, while boosting your resume and impressing your boss.

Attend A Writers’ Workshop

Whether you already consider yourself the writerly type or not, try stretching yourself with a writer’s workshop or self-guided writing exercises. Getting together with others who want to improve their writing is a good networking tool, and you’ll leave feeling inspired with a few new tools to try on your own.

We’ve covered how writing exercises can change your life. They help you work through problems, put negative memories behind you, help find a sense of purpose, and picture your best self. Read on for a few world-rocking writing exercises to try this weekend. In NYC, Gotham Writers’ Workshops meet all over the city for write-ins and more formal classes; some universities also offer writing classes online for free.

Learn To Code A Basic Website

We’ve seen a “non-nerd” learn to code in a day. Is it possible to learn to code in a weekend?

Becoming a skilled programmers takes many hundred hours of practice, but you can start getting the feel for very basic web design in a few hours. Whether you’re trying to optimize your website or investing in a future career, learning to read and alter HTML, JavaScript, or CSS opens up a new world of potential for your online presence.

Take a few lessons from Codecademy, Dash by General Assembly, or Coursera for free.

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Volunteer Locally

Need an excuse to get your hands dirty on a Saturday morning, or a low-commitment way to boost your resume? Volunteering is a win-win for everyone involved. It makes us healthier, happier, and could even put you on a new career path.

Before you take off to do some good this weekend, ask yourself these questions from Idealist.org editor Allison Jones, to get the most out of your time:

What do I want to give? Build on your own strengths, or pick something outside of your comfort zone you want to work on while helping others.

What do I want to get out of it? Will getting hands-on experience with fundraising or social media outreach make you better at your job–or will simply de-stressing with a kids’ art class be more valuable come Monday?

Who and what is out there? Explore your options and ask around within your own network to find the right fit for you.

Learn The Basics Of A New Language

This one might take more than a weekend to become fluent, but learning the basics of a new language has several benefits to your workweek.

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If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll likely want to reach a new market at some point; picking up the basics of a popular second language can help if you ever want to do business overseas. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the language and cultural social cues of your new clients shows respect, at the very least. At most, it could help you avoid a cultural misstep that costs you customers.

Learning a foreign language also challenges your brain to make new connections in the world. If you’re giving yourself a linguistic workout for a few hours every weekend, you could feel sharper and more attentive to detail in your everyday conversations.

Learn An Instrument

Other than being more fun at parties, playing an instrument makes you better at your job. “Learning how to play a musical instrument and becoming a musician is an exercise in developing good listening skills, experimenting, overcoming repeated failure, self-discipline, and successful collaboration,” writes Panos Panay, a music major turned entrepreneur. Musicianship makes listening and improvising on the spot a natural response, even in a high-pressure situation.

Science backs that up: Playing an instrument teaches your brain to make new connections in patterns and generally improves cognition and motor skills. While you won’t become an expert in a weekend, you can pick up some basics and keep working on your skills over the next few months.

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About the author

Freelance tech, science and culture writer. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.

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