What Are Independent Skills? (Definition And 13 Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 13 September 2022 | Published 12 May 2022

Updated 13 September 2022

Published 12 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Teenagers and young adults who are moving out on their own for the first time may benefit from learning fundamental life skills to help them live independently. Learning independent living skills can help people function more autonomously and feel better about their life choices. Learning how to improve your independent living skills can help your personal development and prepare you to live on your own. In this article, we define what independent living skills are, explain why they are important and list which skills freshers can consider developing to become more independent.

What Are Independent Skills?

Independent skills or independent living skills are the actions and knowledge that enable a person to live on their own. These abilities enable people to make well-informed decisions and take adequate care of themselves. There are several categories of independent living skills, including:

  • Personal care: involves dressing, grooming and practising good hygiene

  • Organisation: involves tracking items and managing time

  • Food preparation: involves cooking, buying necessities and storing food properly

  • Clothing care: involves doing laundry, sorting clothes and buying new attire

  • Money management: involves saving, budgeting and investing money

  • Home maintenance: involves fixing basic things in a home

Related: Core Values: Overview And Examples

Why Are Independent Living Skills Important?

These skills are valuable because they enable people to live independently, earn money and take care of their own health with minimal assistance from others. They make individuals self-sufficient to an extent and give them the ability to rely on themselves for housing, food and employment. People can gain confidence and a sense of purpose by developing their independence. People with independent living skills may be able to find a specific routine that suits them and their lifestyle in any situation.

13 Independent Living Skills To Master

Here is a list of 13 independent skills to consider developing:

Cooking healthy meals

The ability to prepare healthy meals is an important independent skill to learn because it can help you save money while also improving your health. Consider learning fundamental cooking skills you can use for a variety of preparations, such as how to boil water, cut vegetables efficiently and safely and follow recipes. You can make one meal and enjoy it for several days if you learn how to prepare meals and save leftovers.

This can also help you save a significant amount of money which you can reallocate to other essential living expenses or use as disposable income. Because you can choose ingredients and the quantity when you cook your meals, it may improve your overall health and form.

Shopping for groceries on a budget

You can save money and make meals at home by learning how to buy groceries within your weekly budget. Take inventory of what you have in your kitchen and make a list of any items you want to purchase before going to the store. You can remember what goods to buy during future visits as you learn more about what food items you use and how much you eat in a week. Here are some suggestions for grocery shopping on a budget:

  • Purchase perishable items in an amount you plan to eat.

  • Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season.

  • Use paper or digital coupons to find offers and discounts.

  • Consider frozen goods.

Exercising regularly

Exercise assists you in increasing your body's strength. Exercising is a valuable skill since it can help you be physically and mentally aware while also allowing you to sleep and eat better. Make a daily or weekly workout programme for yourself, whether it is going for frequent walks or visiting the gym. Here are a few exercises to try:

  • Going for a walk or a run

  • Dancing

  • Climbing stairs

  • Using an outdoor or stationary bike

  • Jumping rope

  • Engaging in weight training

  • Doing yoga

Cleaning and organising your home

When you live alone, knowing how to organise your home might help you maintain a healthy and more comfortable environment. This can also assist you in locating your personal items easily. Vacuuming, wiping kitchen counters and dusting your furniture and other surfaces regularly can help keep your living spaces looking fresh and tidy. You can consider scheduling regular cleaning duties each week to maintain a clean home.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition And Examples

Managing finances

It is critical to keep track of how much money you make and spend so that you can develop an accurate budget and understand how you are spending your earnings. This can also assist you in setting up a retirement fund or learning how to save money for significant purchases, such as a home or a new car. Consider keeping track of your spending on things like utility bills, rent, entertainment and food. You can do this with a spreadsheet, app, or by writing your spending habits in a journal.

Communicating effectively

It is crucial to learn how to communicate successfully with others so that you can explain your wants and learn about other people's needs. If you are moving to a new location or starting your career, effective communication can help you make friends. You can also utilise this expertise at work to convey your thoughts. Conversing with others can help you be more social, which may improve your overall happiness and well-being.

Related: How To Overcome Communication Barriers: Benefits And Tips

Acting professionally at work

Knowing what to wear, learning the relevant terminology and maintaining a professional tone at work is part of acting appropriately. This may involve following your company's dress code and code of conduct. Being inclusive of everyone in the office, encouraging your coworkers and paying attention to your manager's directives are all examples of appropriate professional behaviour.

Managing your time

Because you may have multiple activities to perform in a day, week or month, it is critical to manage your time effectively. Balancing your personal and professional engagements can help you complete personal duties, like taking care of yourself and cleaning your home while still completing personal and professional tasks. Here are some suggestions for time management:

  • Plan ahead.

  • Set realistic goals.

  • Remove nonessential tasks.

  • Set time limits for tasks and focus your attention.

  • Take regular breaks between tasks to avoid burnout.

Maintaining good personal hygiene

It is also critical to maintain good personal hygiene to stay clean and healthy. Taking care of your hygiene may boost your self-esteem and keep you happy and motivated. Here are a few tips to managing your hygiene independently:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.

  • Take a shower at least once a day, ideally in the morning or after exercising.

  • Brush or comb your hair.

  • Wash your hands before meals and throughout the day.

  • Trim and clean your nails.

  • Cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough.

Scheduling regular checkups

It is critical to learn how to make appointments for general checkups if you want to stay healthy. The more you go to your doctor's appointments, the more your physicians can keep you informed about your health and any conditions you may have, so they can treat them effectively. You may consider scheduling the following medical appointments:

  • Dentist appointment

  • General physician appointment

  • Optometrist appointment

  • Therapist appointment

Setting education and career goals

Setting attainable education and career goals can assist you in making long-term plans. These objectives could include deciding whether to continue your education at a college or a technical school and determining what subject you want to study. You can also make a five or 10-year career and education plan, such as determining where you want to work or what role you want to have in five years.

Developing interpersonal skills

The way you speak and connect with other people, both verbally and nonverbally, constitutes interpersonal skills. Developing interpersonal skills can assist you in forming strong bonds with your friends, family and coworkers. They can also assist you in meeting new people and learning how to form new relationships. These abilities may enable you to collaborate with people from various backgrounds, take part in intriguing conversations during interviews or work in a team situation. These essential skills can help you be more independently and can also help advance your career.

Finding a suitable job

Having a job can help you become self-sufficient by providing you with money to pay for essentials like housing, food, clothing and entertainment. Learn how to discover jobs online, write a resume and cover letter and arrange interviews to improve your job search abilities. Learning how to prepare for an interview, and considering how to discuss your employment and educational experience confidently, can also be beneficial.

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