This is a bit random, but I’ve decided to make a Top 5 of my favorite websites and give the reasons why I visit them so often, and why you should as well 🙂
1. Mindbloom – This is a ‘life game’ that enables you to list certain goals you want to reach in order to improve your life. You can simply list activities or tasks that you would like to do, and set a deadline before which you want to achieve them. For example, I find it important to practice playing the piano regularly. All the actions that you can list are divided into seven categories: Career, Creativity, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, and Spirituality. I’ve got ‘playing the piano’ listed under ‘Creativity’. Each of these categories is represented by a leaf on a tree, which is coloured greener as you complete more actions from that category. This tree is your ‘life tree’, if you will. You can also keep your tree healthy by uploading your favorite music, images, and quotes which you can then rewatch daily as a motivation boost. This is a great way to better organize your life! You get an amount of ‘seeds’ daily based on how healthy your life tree is. The more seeds you have, the higher the levels you reach, and the more upgrades you can purchase with these seeds. So you can see it’s really a game!
2. Fitocracy – Speaking of getting virtual points for real-life actions, Fitocracy is a website where you can list the sports activities that you undertake in order to gain points. With these points you can level up. This website has a particularly strong social aspect, where you can ‘prop’ others for their activities, and motivate each other to keep moving. There are also ‘achievements’ for which you get badges and extra points, such as ‘Perform barbell deadlift for at least 1x bodyweight’ (for the body-builders among us :P). Fitocracy also offers many awesome-looking fitness courses to attain a certain body shape or get fit for a marathon, and things like that. They’re really expensive to do, though, but maybe when I’m rich one day I’ll try them out :P. Anyway, the points system for real-life activities thing that both Fitocracy and Mindbloom work with works really well for me for some reason. I notice that Fitocracy can motivate me to make sure I work out every day.
3. Duolingo – By far the most productive way for me to learn languages. In Duolingo you can learn many different languages by doing exercises in different categories. When I started on Duolingo they offered lessons in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. By now, they have added Dutch, and they’re working on Danish, Irish, Hungarian, Turkish, Swedish, Russian, Polish, and Romanian. How awesome is that ?! 😀 I mostly use it to keep my Spanish up a bit, but I’d say it’s mostly useful to learn the basics of a language, since obviously in this experience you miss the most important aspect of learning a language: communicating with others. While doing exercises, you are also offered the opportunity to translate documents, which helps support the website, and further builds your language skill. For some languages, there are also tests you can do in order to get a (free!) language certificate stating your level of skill in the language. (and of course, you get points :D)
4. Coursera – Coursera is a platform for universities to offer online (free!) courses for everybody around the globe to follow. They have courses in almost anything you can think of. The courses mostly consists of short video lectures, by lecturers from top universities, like Stanford University and Princeton (among many others). You can decide to just watch the video lectures for fun, or you can get a statement of completion, by also handing in weekly assignments or completing quizzes. Each course also has a forum, on which you can discuss the course material with fellow students, that come from around the world. Besides this being a fun and interesting website, I think it is a great initiative to offer online education to people around the world, who might not have the money or the time to follow ‘normal’ educational programs. I like to take courses on Coursera that are the least related to what I’m studying at university, so as to broaden my view and learn more about fields unknown to me. 🙂
5. Goodreads – Here you can list, rate and review all the books that you’ve read. It is a great way to find new books to read that you might like, because Goodreads recommends books to you based on the ones that you’ve already read and liked. Also, you can read other people’s reviews of those books. There are also discussion forums on the website, as well as book clubs where you can read and discuss books together with others. You can mark books as ‘read’, ‘to-read’, or ‘currently reading’. There are also many authors that are affiliated with Goodreads, which answer users’ questions, give away their new books, and blog on the website.
Websites that didn’t make the list, but are still pretty awesome :):
StumbleUpon – an amaaaazing way to find new favorite websites 😛
Pottermore – for Harry Potter fans
IMDb – info about movies
The Sartorialist – my favorite fashion photographer
BBC Food – wonderful recipes
TED – everybody knows this one, but it still deserves to be mentioned, since I visit this website almost daily to view interesting presentations by fascinating people
Codecademy – learn to program websites!
Voedingscentrum (for Dutchies) – great way to check whether your diet is healthy (I’m not eating enough fibers, apparently :P)