Creativity and productivity are among the two important features of any career path. Over time, it evolved in different ways, from the beginning of our civilization with agricultural techniques, the loom, to the invention of the calculator. Nowadays, there is a wide array of tools that can enhance your creativity & productivity, oftentimes they are downright necessary to perform your tasks. However, the name of the game of the century is adaptability. Its meaning is flexible but one thing is sure, to succeed in the 21st century, you need to be an adaptive talent, you need to become a lifelong learner; no matter your job or inspiration.
Fortunately, technology made many tools easily accessible and simple to use. On top of that, thanks to the democratization and access to information, businesses around the world have a tendency to have similar needs, it is a great opportunity to learn transversal skills.
The idea behind this list is to present tools that are accessible, easy to use.
Being an employee, freelancer, entrepreneurs, manager, student, or converting careers, those tools will be useful no matter what, either directly in your daily tasks or indirectly through helping you stand out of the crowd or improving your abilities.
Here is a list of 8 tools that you must learn to be adaptive, including a Dig Deeper section if you start loving the work.
Canva is a ridiculously helpful tool for any graphical presentation you need to design. It allows you to create just about anything that needs to be shown or printed. Whether you need to do a social media post for a campaign, the cover of your book, the graphics of a presentation, your company logo, a dashing new resume, you can all do it from there. No coding or fancy equipment is required, it is basically a drag & drop system for most designs with professional-quality templates. The best part is that it’s free, the pro version will grant you a ton of additional templates and designs for roughly the price of your Netflix subscription.
Dig Deeper - Photoshop
You may realize that you actually are more creative than you thought (I did!). You can go further along by starting learning software like Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. Those are more complex and take longer to learn but allow you to make designs of the highest quality.
Designer jobs are in high demand, if you find yourself loving using those tools then the creative work path may be for you.
Whether you work alone, with a team, or simply undertaking many or complex projects, having a project management tool is always useful and borderline necessary in most cases. Trello allows you to create carts and columns that you can simply drag along when the items move forward. It is extremely simple to learn and will revolutionize your workflow if you are not using any tools at the moment. Bonus point: it is used by many companies and startups across the globe, making it useful no matter where you are and what sector you are in.
Dig Deeper - Asana
Project Management has become such an integral part of our society that it has become a highly sought after position from companies. There are many frameworks and tools you can learn to go deeper and today I would advise you to start with Asana.
Asana is a popular tool, it is simple to use with a wide variety of features that links with your calendar or with your team, like the ability to create a timeline or integrate with Tableau or Power BI for data visualization. There are many other tools out there and you should find the one that works best for you or your organization but this is a good place to start.
An oldie but goodie, unfortunately for many of you who hate it, spreadsheets are still the name of the game for most sectors and if you don’t already know the basics, you need to learn to catch up and go beyond. Google spreadsheets is a good place to begin, especially if you work in teams as it is immediately collaborative if you invite other people. Learning basic functions and charts/graphs is the minimum you need to be on par with other professionals, I would argue that learning some simple data management features could make a difference, did you know that there is a feature that allows you to split some data from one cell into 2 columns using a separator like a comma or even blank space?
Once you learn how it functions, it is surprisingly consistent and actually quite easy to quickly progress. Also, it is free if you have a Gmail account, which is free to create.
Dig Deeper - Excel
Unsurprisingly, the father of widespread spreadsheet is still the most used software when working with large amounts of data. If you wish to work or progress in number crunching, learning advanced Excel functions is useful. It is an extremely powerful tool that will make a difference if you wish to work in the financial sector or for some engineering and academic professions. Features like pivot tables, functions like Index Match should be mastered and even learning the Macro (command to automatically perform a repetitive sequence) language VBA will make you stand out and catch those high-paying occupations.
This one is a bit more surprising. Video editing is becoming more and more present. A significant part of online communication today is through videos and it is taking an increasingly important place. Video editing is often seen as for professionals, complicated and long to learn. While it is true for advanced creation, a lot of our needs are relatively simple and can be learned quickly. One free tool is actually Keynote, the presentation software from Apple. It has some features that allow you to easily place some effects and edit your videos directly from there. Surprisingly, it works quite well and is sufficient for social media posts or small ads video design. Whether you want to create a marketing campaign or showing off your skills to your friends, Keynote will allow you to do it in no time.
Dig Deeper - Adobe Premiere
Of course, in reality, it is not that simple. Advanced video editing is required for more specific products. If you find yourselves fancying making and editing video and want to dig deeper to potentially make a career out of it, one of the most popular tools is Adobe Premiere Pro. It is a massive software, with an incredible amount of depth and features. It will take longer to learn and even longer to master, however, the payoff is incredible, especially if you mix it with After Effects and other video software. Video making professionals are highly sought after and are usually transversal to many sectors.
While all these tools are powerful, they are best used in conjunction with other tools or skills. Being an adaptive talent is all about creating connections with learnings you already have encountered and new ones.
Strategically learning new tools and skills is fundamental to stay ahead of the curve and will definitely help achieve your goals. This list is not exhaustive and you should keep looking for ways to complement and adapt it to your needs. Consistency in Adaptability is the key to become successful, regardless of your definition of success.