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7 Learning apps to wake up the learner in you

By | Apps, Featured, Grow, Skills Lab

With vacations season, we all think of the beach and how to take the opportunity to have a break from work, but why not rest and use the time for learning as well? You can take a course or two to learn a skill that can up your career game or satisfy the curiosity in you. Whatever the skill you choose or you are motivated to learn and perform, your brain will thank you.

In this list, I’ve accumulated diverse mobile apps you can use to push your learning progress this year and make sure your resolution won’t fail down the line.

New Languages

Learning a new language doesn’t only help you watch movies and read books in their original language, but also learning a language will help you deepen your brain connections and create new neural pathways that will make you smarter.

  • Duolingo

It’s a well-known app, that will help you through levels learn how to speak, read and write in any language. Through gamification, you will be motivated to complete levels and collect lingots.

Available for: Android / iOS

Subscription Plans: Free (with ads) / 125 – 180 EGP /mo. (Ad-free version)

  • Memrise

On Memrise, you learn to write, speak and listen on Memrise through flashcards of relatable references and real-life situations. The big addition is that educational content is divided into courses like arts & literature, math & science, professional career topics, entertainment, and trivia.

Available for: Android / iOS

Subscription Plan: 32.17 EGP for 1 mo., 66 EGP for 3 months, 104.12 EGP for a year

Coding

Coding, testing, software engineering, and data science are some of the highest demanded jobs out there. Data science is now the sexiest job according to Harvard Business Review. These jobs are on the rise and will continue to be in the upcoming years. Put yourself in the future market map and enrich your tech and analyzing skills through these apps.

  • Udacity

Udacity is a well-known MOOC with certified programs provided by the market leaders like Github, Google, Facebook, Amazon to name a few. The platform offers courses in various fields, but they are leading the software engineering courses field with their partnerships with technology creators. Imagine you will be taught about Google technologies by Google employees.

Available on: Android / iOS

Subscription Plan: App is free, the courses/tracks fees vary from course to another.

  • LRN

Learning to code shouldn’t be so hard, and needs to be more convenient. LRN app gives you the chance to practice coding on mobile with multiple options so no autocorrect will stand in your way.

Available on: Android (soon) / iOS

Subscription plan: App is free, tutorials are free. Complete courses cost $2.99 or $0.99 per module.

Affected by the inflation and the dollar exchange?
Good news! If you can’t pay for any courses or want to get certified in an advanced course on Coursera, Udacity or many other tech-MOOCs, you can apply for NTL scholarship (New Technology Leaders), it covers the course fees, and provides orientation, offline mentored study groups, and weekly projects.

Increase your IQ

Ever felt that you don’t get to challenge your brain really or that you want to be smarter? These apps will make your brain work more for you and gain more cognitive skills. It is like a brain workout.

  • Lumosity

Lumosity is an app that gathers science-based gamified exercises you perform on a daily basis, after a personal assessment and progress tracking. The app founders teamed up with cognitive psychology researchers and game developers, to create an easy fun experience that will teach your brain to work better.

Available on: Android / iOS

Subscription plans: Free (with limited access to exercises per day), 214 EGP/mo., 1,074 EGP (1 year), and 1,611 EGP (2 years).

  • Brilliant

Your brain is always challenged by what you have to take time and energy to solve. This app introduces you to multi-level math and science problems and riddles that will help you enhance and level up your problem-solving skills and logical thinking. Problems work your brain and push its limits. So, if you loved math, science, or puzzles, this app will be so much fun for you.

Available on: Android / iOS

Subscription plans: Free, 70 EGP/mo., 420 EGP (1 year, at a rate of 35 EGP/mo.)

  • Curiosity

Not all that makes us smart is what we can do with our brain, but also what we recall of the general knowledge and knowing weird facts, debunking myths, and how the world works. This app sends you a daily notification with a bunch of weird stuff you might be curious to know about. In various fields, there are no limits. I actually wonder how these guys create that much of really good and weird content, that frequently. If you are feeling curious, you definitely should check it.

Available on: Android / iOS

Subscription plan: Free

With this list, there are no excuses, you don’t have to lose your vacation. Learn on the go!
Are there any apps you think should have made it to this list? Tell us in the comments.

How to boost your productivity in Ramadan?

By | Featured, Productivity, Skills Lab

Since the start of the holy month of Ramadan, your daily lifestyle might have undergone some reorganization (or let’s say..disorganization, to be exact). If you’re fasting, instead of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you now have to eat one big meal in the evening and get it digested fast enough to have another one in the middle of the night. And may heaven have mercy on you, because you have to somehow get enough sleep so that you can wake up early in the morning to get to work and get on with the day without your morning caffeine intake. Here’s how you can exploit this benefit to make sure you bring your A game at work during Ramadan, with 8 simply obvious yet efficient tips:

Get a good night’s sleep

Don’t try to turn your day and night upside down by pulling all-nighters; however, make sure you get enough sleep at night. Not getting enough sleep negatively affects your REM sleeping, which damages your creativity, problem-solving abilities, and memory; this is all amplified if you persistently sleep less during the entire month of Ramadan. To optimize your sleeping hours, and since it’s ultimately healthier to sleep solidly, try to advance your suhoor to around midnight so that you can get a good 6-8 hours of sleep before you have to wake up for work.

Use Ramadan meals to your benefit

It might be mouth-watering to imagine the big feast you’ll be eating once you break your fast, but it is actually beneficial for you on the long-run not to get carried away with your stomach’s desires and to try to eat lightly yet nutritiously during this month. Try to avoid or restrict to the minimum eating fatty foods and desserts, given the short non-fasting duration, in order to focus on getting the nutrients that your body needs. Indulge in specific foods, like dates, whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables, that replenish what you lost while fasting.

Give your body the fluids it needs

During the day, you lose a lot of your body fluids especially if you’re out in the sun for a long time. In order to make up for the loss of fluids, the best option is not to gulp down the entire jug of water during suhoor since it causes bloating and indigestion; but instead to drink regularly and slowly throughout the evening. Drink a cup of water while breaking your fast, followed by a series of drinks (whether simply water or natural fruit juices and herbs) at regular intervals.

Exercise regularly to boost your energy

Exercising when you’re not getting enough food and drink throughout the day can sound difficult and overbearing; but if you already do exercise regularly, do not break that habit. You’ll feel that it, in fact, boosts your energy throughout your fasting day. According to fitness expert and biokineticist Habib Noorbhai, the ideal time to exercise is either right before iftar since you will break your fast soon afterward and will resupply your body with the nutrients it needs. Make sure to ask your trainer and/or your doctor if your body can handle workouts while fasting.

1 stair flight = 1 shot of espresso

Switch that cup of coffee that you can’t drink in Ramadan with a couple of stair flights every hour or so.  According to a study conducted by Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, you can stay alert and continue the rest of the day tirelessly if you just take several trips up and down the stairs along the day. If you’re in a limited space, walk around the office or go up and down the stairs. If you have a more open work area like the one at WUZZUF, take a walk around the place and have a chit-chat with your colleagues so that you can feel more open to going back to work. This may be a great opportunity to let go of your caffeine-dependency if you try this replacement and it becomes your new midday ritual!

Switch that cup of coffee that you can’t drink in Ramadan with a couple of stair flights every hour to boost your productivity. Click To Tweet

Power nap!

Napping is a double-edged weapon. If you nap just the right amount of time, you’ll wake up refreshed and more energized. Though if you take a longer nap than you should, you might wake up tired. The perfect nap time recommended, according to several nap-studies, is increments of 10 minutes with maximum 30 minutes. This way naps will have an alerting effect on the body and substitute the energy boost you get from food or caffeine. And always remember that sleeping for longer periods will affect you badly, and make you more tired.

Wash your face every now and then

As dumb as it may seem, but washing your face with hot water, then cold freezing water will stimulate your brain and senses that will make you be more awake and alert. Whenever you feel groggy at the office, get up, wash your face, you know that this also will help with the hot weather, having

Prioritize your tasks

Last but foremost, make sure you start your working day with a plan!  Make a checklist of things you want to get done on that day and start prioritizing the tasks that require the most cognitive skills i.e. the tasks that need creativity, critical thinking and focus are to be atop the list, while tasks that require less focus like replying to emails or organizing documents should be kept for a later time in the day when you feel less efficient.

If you spent the first half of Ramadan not being as productive as you had hoped, make sure you follow these steps during the other.

Egyptian money

Working just for money will ruin your career, science says

By | Career Advice, Explore Career Path, Featured, Find Your Passion, Grow, Money & Negotiations

To a hall of eager young college students at the University of Glasgow, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook gave one piece of solid advice: “Don’t work for money, it will wear out fast, or you’ll never make enough and you will never be happy, one or the other.”

Money is a desirable asset, and many times, we get lured to a job opportunity only because it has a big paycheck. But when it comes to being happy, science – in this case, motivation psychology– can tell us another story.

Our brains are not wired to work just for money

Maslow's Pyramid: Hierarchy of NeedsAbraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory states that we are motivated to meet a series of needs to be fulfilled. He listed them in the following order: Physiological (air, water, and food), safety (personal and financial security), social belonging (supportive relationships), esteem (respect and recognition), and self-actualization (realizing your full potential).

When our basic (notice how I highlighted the word “basic”) financial needs are met at our jobs but our higher ones are not fulfilled, we can start to feel unhappy and demotivated.

So if you’re paid very well at a job that doesn’t include supportive relationships, recognition, and the freedom to reach your full potential, you’re probably not going to be very fulfilled.

So if you’re paid very well at a job that doesn’t include supportive relationships, recognition, and the freedom to reach your full potential, you’re probably not going to be very fulfilled.Click To Tweet

Also the famous Frederick Herzberg’s Two-factor theory about motivation; which explains what motivates employees to perform better and what causes them to perform worse.

Herzberg mapped out two different sets of factors:

  • Motivators: Factors that motivate us at work and determine our job satisfaction, such as recognition, responsibility, opportunity to do something meaningful, involvement in decision making, and sense of importance to an organization. They are the factors that usually tend to the needs in the higher levels of Maslow’s pyramid.
  • Hygiene factors: Factors that may not contribute directly to our satisfaction, but if absent, causes high dissatisfaction. Such as job security, salary, and benefits. They are the factors that tend to the lower levels of Maslow’s pyramid.

That’s why the theory refutes the flawed notion that money alone will make us want to do our jobs. And suggests that it’s merely a factor.

So what can you do to stay motivated?

This is perfectly summed up in Dan Pink’s bestselling book Drive, which explains the science behind what motivates us at work. Pink’s three essential motivators at work are:

  • Autonomy: The desire to direct our own lives.
  • Mastery: The urge to get better and better at something that matters.
  • Purpose: The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Take more ownership of your work

Learn how to own your work: Lead your projects and tasks and effectively handle their responsibility so you can fulfill the desire to direct your own life. Moreover, if you’re not too involved in the decision-making process at work, don’t be scared to ask for more freedom and responsibility.

Make sure your career choices don’t disregard what you actually care about. This includes both the work you enjoy doing and the causes and values that matter to you.Click To Tweet

Hunt more opportunities to learn

Choose a certain skill or area you want to improve, and start crafting a plan to manage your learning curve. Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-relevant goals) and work on achieving them. This way, you can consistently get better at something that matters to you and eventually master it.

Don’t ignore your passion

Finally, make sure your career choices don’t disregard what you actually care about. This includes both the work you enjoy doing and the causes and values that matter to you. Make a list of them and start tracking how you can pick the paths that lead you to them.

If you’re sure you want to be a software developer and you’re currently an architect, don’t shut off the door to becoming one. If you care about making an impact on your society, don’t exclude the option of working for an organization that helps children’s education or the option of starting your own.

Have you been struggling with money vs. passion? Let us know about your thoughts in the comments below.

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