5 New Skills You Can Learn On Your Lunch Break

FEELING THE SLUMP OF THE WORK WEEK AND THE CALL OF THE WEEKEND? YEAH, US TOO. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHY WE NEED TO SWITCH GEARS, MENTALLY SPEAKING. 

Earlier this week, we published an article about how easy it is to fall into a "living for the weekend" mentality, even when you think you're doing OK. We're all guilty of spending too much time scrolling our Instagram feeds and not enough learning new skills. So we gave ourselves a challenge, and now we're giving it to you:

We dare you to learn one new skill before Monday. 

Lately, the Career Contessa team has been obsessed with Skillshare, an online learning community with 2,500+ classes on every topic imaginable. The best part for us is that it lets you learn at your own pace. We work flex hours here so our schedules can feel erratic at times. Taking courses online makes sense. You can enroll at any hour, on any day, and from anywhere. I even took a class on making the perfect cup of coffee (with Blue Bottle's Director of Training) one Sunday morning when I had nothing to do. Brunch learning = bliss. 

The other major appeal of Skillshare is its cool factor. This isn't like taking an online Accounting 101 course taught by some guy sporting a spectacular combover. The instructors are real people (and often they're influencers you already know and admire) with actual experience in the topics they're teaching. If we had to describe it, Skillshare is sort of like taking a buzzy Soulcycle class mixed with a pithy TED talk. 

Oh, and one last thing: you can sign up for three months of full access to their library for $0.99.

Here are some of our favorites so far:

1. THE MODERN MARKETING WORKSHOP WITH SETH GODIN

Marketing...AKA the beast in your office closet. I'm thankful every day that our Marketing Manager exists so that I get to kick back and write and edit listicles like this. Still, I knew I could benefit from knowing a little more about what she does (last week she had to teach me the term "flat lay." Mind blown). Godin's workshop is definitely one of the heavier classes Skillshare offers—there's even supplemental reading material and interviews—but it's worth it. Perfect if you're hunting for a new job or considering a career shift. We all know what hot commodities marketing skills are.  

2. HOW TO PRESENT: SHARE IDEAS THAT INSPIRE ACTION WITH SIMON SINEK 

I hate presenting anything ever. It's hard enough showing people your work, let alone explaining to them why it's valuable—especially if there's a podium involved. Cue Simon Sinek, who also happens to be one of the heroes of the marketing world (you've probably seen his renowned TED talk). In his get-straight-to-it, 30-minute Skillshare class, Sinek teaches you ways to apply his philosophies to presenting your work publicly. Not one to miss, especially if you've got a big meeting coming up. 

3. GET DISCOVERED WITH A KNOCKOUT PORTFOLIO WITH SARAH RAPP

Speaking of the importance of marketing: let's talk about marking yourself. If anyone knows how to cultivate an online presence, it's Sarah Rapp, Head of Community Management at Behance. We've said this before and we'll say it again: you need a portfolio. Rapp's got a few suggestions to get you started. 

4. MAKING THE MOST OF INSTAGRAM: BUILD YOUR BRAND WITH GARRETH PON

Purely for our own amusement, Meghan and I have been creating these 30-day challenges for ourselves. Last month, we spent the month bringing our lunch from home. This month, we've been trying to grow our Instagram followers to see if all those tips and tricks you read actually work. So when I spotted Pon's class, I enrolled immediately. If you're a freelancer, trying to build a side hustle, or just trying to find a new job, your Instagram is a great platform for showing  your style and building a loyal following, i.e. people who just might land you your next gig. Worth learning some pointers. 

5. LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY: CAPTURING FOOD, FLAVORS, CONVERSATION WITH MARTE MARIE FORSBERG

I've been a loyal follower of Forsberg's Instagram for years (her lighting) —but that doesn't mean I can boast any real photography skills myself. If there's one thing I'd like to get better at personally this year, it's photography. At some point, maybe I'll enroll in a pricey in-person class to get down and dirty with 35mm, but in the meantime, this was a great place to start. Plus, it should help with that whole Instagram following thing (see #3). 

WHAT WE'RE EXCITED TO TAKE NEXT

We're just too excited to leave it at five, I guess. Here's what I've got saved for later (yes, Skillshare lets you do that): 

Intro to Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator and Create Patterns: Because, you know, I like patterns? 

Knife Skills: A Mini Class to Chop Like a Chef: Because I almost cut my thumb off last week. 

Drawing on Everything: Discovering Your Creative Voice: Because I'm stalker-level obsessed with Shantell Martin and her illustrations. 

Storytelling for Leaders: How to Craft Stories That Matter: Because. Duh. 

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What's the next class you plan on taking? 

An original version of this article appeared on Career Contessa.

Priscilla Castro

Director of Social Media at Create & Cultivate