Skills to Learn

One thing life can share with video games is the need to acquire proficiencies. As you go through your existence, you’ll need to figure out how to do things. Some competencies are esoteric and complex and of limited utility; others are commonplace and easy and widely applicable.

It is to the latter set of abilities that we now turn, with a list of four crucial life skills to learn.

1. Figuring Out Tips and Bills

It’s a small thing, but one that a surprising number of people neglect to learn to do. Many people pull out their phone’s calculator apps when the bill arrives at the restaurant table, but with some basic math skills, you’ll save yourself the battery life. Figuring out a tip is easy — move the decimal on your share of the bill one place to the left to get 10%. From there, add half again to get 15%, or double to 20%. Learn your local sales tax rate, and you can start using these shortcuts to divvy up a bill unaided.

2. Time Management

There are only so many hours in a day. As such, the ability to set a schedule in which all that needs doing gets dealt with is a crucial ability. Start by keeping paper schedules — although using a digital scheduler like that on a smartphone or laptop is tempting, overreliance on these devices can leave you adrift in extreme circumstances. Outline your daily activities on this paper, with estimated times for each entry. Then try to assemble them in a logical order. After you’ve done this for long enough, you’ll likely find yourself able to do it in your head.

3. Home Maintenance

Basic home maintenance is a topic of anxiety for those used to living in apartments or other living arrangements where another person is responsible for keeping things up. Source of nervousness or not, though, any homeowner worth their salt needs to learn to do basic tasks like gutter cleaning and air filter changing. Note, however, that there are limits to what the amateur home repairman should try to tackle. When it comes to complex electrical and mechanical systems like your HVAC, consult the professionals. To do otherwise is to tempt fate.

4. Planning a Diet

Diet is a dirty word to some people, carrying with it notions of denial and discipline. While a healthy diet can take work and requires willpower, it doesn’t necessarily mean living like a Benedictine monk. Start by keeping a food journal — write down what you eat in a given day. Calculate the rough caloric content to find problem areas. Then start to think about replacing unhealthy choices with better alternatives. Instead of candy, consider fresh fruit for a sweet fix. Don’t try to drop “vice” foods, however; instead, eat smaller portions.

Of course, the above list is far from comprehensive. Your life will need many different skill sets as it progresses. Skills like those above, however, can serve as a strong foundation, allowing you to develop other areas of competency. Learn to do everyday things while valuing your limits, and you’ll likely find life becomes far more satisfying.