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Short online courses busy people can take – and complete – by year-end

SOURCE: Andrei PUNGOVSCHI/AFP
It gets harder to commit to learning as you grow in your career. But here’s how you can make it work.


By U2B Staff 

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Have you always wanted to upgrade your skills and learn something new but feel hampered by your busy schedule? As you grow in your career, it’s only natural for work to grow more demanding; coupled with family responsibilities and other obligations you may have, it’s easy for learning to take a backseat. But short online courses can offer some respite. 

In a blog post, organisational psychologist Benjamin Hardy notes that the decisions we make today will influence our future selves. He sums it up perfectly when he says: 

“Who do you want to be in 20 years? And what decisions are you making now to ensure you become that person? Just as importantly: What decisions are you making now, or what habits do you currently have, which clearly contradict your desired future self?”

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To put it differently, Hardy says what we do today is based on the future we see for ourselves. “If you see yourself becoming wealthy and successful in the future, that will shape what you do today,” he said.

So if you want to be successful in the future, what decisions are you making today that would make this a reality in the future? What you do — or don’t do today — can affect your career advancement, both in the short and long-term.

By that reasoning, being busy is no substitute for forgoing upskilling, which is why online learning can be a respite for busy professionals who can fit their learning according to their schedule. 

If you’re curious about what are some of the courses you can take, here are some suggestions.

Short online courses for busy professionals  

Marketing 

Marketing is essential for all businesses, regardless of the industry, especially in today’s digital economy where we have social media at our fingertips. There are many online courses on platforms such as edX and Coursera for learners to gain the basic skills of marketing and how you can use it to your advantage, before progressing to intermediate courses if you wish to.

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Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking skills are highly valued in the workplace and are applicable across a range of roles. A Harvard Business Review study found that 97% of the 10,000 senior executives asked chose strategy as the most critical leadership behaviour to their organisations’ future success. 

It’s also seen as a quality that makes many managers, directors, and executives as successful leaders. 

Chicago Booth, for instance, offers a two-day strategic thinking executive education programme that helps candidates learn critical concepts and frameworks that will help them and their companies anticipate these changes and have the strategic agility to effectively respond through making the necessary changes in their strategies.

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Negotiation skills

Have you ever had to negotiate your salary, or come to an agreement with your landlord over a dispute? Negotiation skills are essential in both the workplace and in your personal life to help you resolve conflict and solve problems. 

If you have just over three hours to spare, Chriss Voss, a former BI international kidnapping negotiator, teaches an online negotiation masterclass where he shares the strategies and tactics he developed through his experience negotiating with terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers. 

His class isn’t merely for business professionals, but for everyone, whether you’re aiming to improve your salary or the service that you receive on a daily basis.

Making the most out of online courses

When it comes to online learning, time management is key for busy professionals. 

It’s important to be flexible in your approach — everyone is bound to have days where things run out of schedule, meetings run past their allocated time, causing a domino effect into your schedule and ultimately eating into the time you set aside for learning.  

It becomes important to use any free moment you have — be it squeezing in a 15-minute session while having your morning coffee before the busy workday begins, or using the time you have when waiting for a meeting to start, to help you get one step closer towards reaching your goal of completing your course. 

By committing to a flexible schedule and making learning a priority, it’s possible for any busy professional to upskill in their own time.