Now that we’ve comfortably slid into the New Year, many of us are thinking about making changes and implementing new practices to improve the quality of our lives. No matter who you are or what you do, it’s a perfect time to learn new skills, meet new people and set new goals. What better way to do that than to add some new tools to the online toolbox. It’s amazing how much inspiration can be found online if you know where to look. Skip the self-help websites and go for tools that you can use all year long. Below are four of my favorites that I’ve found to be extremely effective, enlightening and even entertaining. So in the interest of better living, why not put these sites to work and make 2012 a year of increased knowledge, productivity and enjoyment.
Plancast – Want to increase your network and get active in your community? Just head on over to Plancast where you’ll find a list of events that are happening near you. The site is a fantastic resource for finding industry conferences, local gatherings and social activities that you may have missed otherwise. The site has an integrated layer of community as well so users can find events that their friends and colleagues are attending, which makes going to them much more enjoyable.
Quora – Billed as a Q&A website, Quora, has amassed a huge network of subject matter experts in a relatively short time. The site provides a simple platform for finding answers to complex business questions, technical issues and random inquiries where members rank the best entries. There’s also an option to follow questions so that you can receive notifications when new answers are added. The site recently increased the value quotient of the site with its new “boards” feature allowing users to compile content from elsewhere on the web.
Scribd – Whether you enjoy reading poetry, scientific findings or baking techniques, you’re bound to find what interests you at Scribd. Called the YouTube of printed materials, Scribd offers a vast array of online literature that never disappoints. Personally, I’m always finding content that either inspires me, educates me or both. If you’re a writer then you’ll definitely want to consider setting up an account to promote your work and share it with the community.
Udemy – Education is a lifelong process and with online learning tools like Udemy, it’s now just a click away. The site offers an assortment of courses ranging from the academic to the artistic; many are taught by leaders in their field. The majority of classes are free of charge while some are nominal in price. Experts can teach others by becoming instructors and creating their own courses. Udemy’s mission is to disrupt and democratize education, and frankly, I believe they’re off to a great start.