Five things to learn in 2019 (no matter how much time you have)

New year, new you, you tell yourself. Again.

January always feels like the perfect time of year to start something new and learn new skills, as everyone seems to be in the mood to turn their life around. However, it can be quite daunting, especially if school or work gets in the way - where will you find the time?

To help you along, here are five things you can learn in 2019, no matter how much time you have to spare.

1 hour - fold a t-shirt

A graphic of a red t-shirt with folding guiding lines

If one of your resolutions is to be more tidy, and you’re actually planning on sticking to it this year, this might be the skill for you. It’s extremely simple and, once mastered, looks very impressive. Show off to your parents, tell your friends!

  1. Lay your t-shirt out on a table.
  2. Imagine two lines, one going down the shirt from the left of the collar, and one going horizontally through the middle. They meet at point A, the top is point B and bottom is point C.
  3. Pinch point A and B, then cross your arms by bringing point B down to point C.
  4. Pick the t-shirt up and uncross your arms.
  5. Use the table to fold the t-shirt away from you once and voila! A perfectly folded t-shirt.

It may take a couple of tries to nail it, but once you do, you’ll have the most beautifully organised drawers in all the land. You’re welcome.

1 day - learn CPR

Woman giving CPR to a doll
You could literally save a life learning this, and it only takes a day.

Hopefully this is a skill you’ll never have to use. But if you do see someone having a cardiac arrest, knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could be the difference between life and death.

Luckily, it’s fairly simple to learn, and can be mastered in a day. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and NHS both have very handy resources on learning CPR, including step-by-step instructions and videos. However, both recommend that you should opt for hands-only CPR (so without rescue resuscitation breaths) if you're unsure of your ability. Either way, don't forget to dial 999!

1 week - master touch typing

Dance Mat Typing promo image
You’ll get your work done much more quickly, and you’ll look super professional to boot.

Have you ever glanced at someone typing something on their computer and their hands are moving so fast that they’re almost a blur?

That person knows how to touch type. And here's some good news - you can learn too! Bitesize has a useful feature called Dance Mat Typing which breaks this skill down into four levels, each with its own character and dance. Cute (but we’re biased).

The whole game itself takes a few hours, but because you don’t want to strain your wrists, it’s best to spread it out. In a few days, you’ll be a touch typing pro, and the envy of every clunky keyboard operator you know.

1 month - play an instrument (at a very basic level)

A grandpa teaching his granddaughter how to play the ukulele
One benefit of learning the ukulele is sounding like every indie band that was popular between 2008 and 2012.

You're unlikely to become an expert at a musical instrument in under 30 days. However, with dedication and practice, you can definitely learn the fundamentals, and get a few good tunes under your belt.

To make life simple, pick an instrument that’s slightly easier to play, such as the ukulele. It has four strings rather than six as on a guitar, and the neck is much smaller, which means there are fewer combinations of chords to learn.

1 year - learn a language

Someone pointing at Chinese characters on a chalkboard
Learn a new language to avoid desperately pointing at the menu when ordering food abroad.

Whether it's for an upcoming holiday, to increase your employability or just for fun, learning a language is a really good way of enhancing your skills and opening up opportunities.

Some research suggests that, for English speakers, learning an easier language such as French, German or Swahili takes around 480 hours. In context, if you practice one and a half hours a day, or roughly ten hours spread across a week, then you could potentially be fluent in the language by 2020.

So… what are you waiting for? Get practising!

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