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Libraries have always been educational hubs, but they're not just filled with books anymore. Today your local library can help you stay tech savvy. For example, libraries across Canada have become early adopters of 3D printers, which are available for community use. In Halifax, you can learn how to record a song in a mini recording studio. In Oakville, ON, you can discover the best new apps during Appy Hour. Many libraries also have programs to teach people how to use the latest smartphones, tablets and other gear.
2. Be mindful at work
What if you could learn to be more focused and efficient—and less overwhelmed—at work? The practice of meditation may encourage increased productivity and better morale at the office. Innovative companies like Google and Apple already offer meditation at their headquarters, but smaller workplaces are also catching on to the trend. Diane Yeo, a mindfulness meditation instructor in London, ON, left her stressful job in the corporate world to share meditation with others. "What I hear most often is that the mind is going nonstop from morning to night," she says. "When the mind is going nonstop, it's hard to focus." Yeo teaches employees mindfulness so they can meet for regular meditation sessions or use mindfulness tools whenever they feel overwhelmed and need to refocus.
3. Test yourself
This September, CBC is beginning a search for the brightest Canadian with its new show Canada's Smartest Person. While contestants compete in intelligence challenges on TV, explore the app on your Apple or Android device. Between broadcasts, try the practice challenges tosharpen your mind in six areas that cover everything from logic to linguistics. The game show format will bring out the clever competitor in you!
4. Get money smart
Free financial advice specially tailored to you is hard to come by. The federal government, however, has incredible resources to help you manage your finances, whether you're trying to pay off student loans or looking for ways to invest for retirement. Get the tools you need by visiting fcac-acfc.gc.ca and searching "self-assessment." After filling out a short quiz, you'll be directed to mini online courses that are suited to your needs. The site offers advice in many areas, including how to reduce your income tax payments and how to protect yourself from fraud. You'll wind up discovering things you didn't know you needed to learn about your money.
5. Track your brain waves
Have you ever wanted to see what is happening in your brain? Muse ($349, indigo.ca) is a headband with EEG technology that measures your brain activity. Not only can you learn when your brain is most active, you can train yourself to calm it down when necessary. Seven sensors on the headband detect and measure your brain waves, then the information is sent to an app that charts the activity. Use the app regularly for short calmness-training sessions and effectively master how to quiet your mind.
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