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12 Struggles Only Tidy People Would Understand

12 Struggles Only Tidy People Would Understand

When my uncle visited the UK in the 1930s, he threw away an empty cigarette packet. A lady, who was passing, picked it up and said “Is this yours?” My uncle replied “Yes, but I don’t want it.” The lady snootily replied “And nether do we” as she proffered the empty packet to my astounded uncle. He always claimed that this lesson on tidiness was never forgotten. I am not so sure but my uncle’s house was much tidier than ours. However, I suspect my aunt and my obsessively tidy cousin had a lot to do with that, somehow. If you are tidy like them, you will resonate with the struggles that tidy people can only understand.

1. You fear the apocalypse is near

You know when friends say that they cannot perform basic chores like doing the laundry and are not comfortable with washing machines, a shiver goes down your spine. This is when you think that the preppers are right and the end is really imminent.

2. You do not suffer from a disorder

By now, you are sick and tired of your loved ones and friends telling you that you are on the Obsessively Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum. Depending on their mood, you are mildly affected or you are so deranged that you need treatment. But you only want everything nice and tidy. You fight down the resentment, dislike and even hatred.

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3. You know that nobody else can meet your standards

You look at the so-called tidy room or cleaned up kitchen. You immediately see crumbs on the floor and reach for the brush. You even start thinking about cleaning down the draining board and just doing a quick tidy up. You decide that silence is golden yet again and retreat defeated.

4. You have a phobia about open drawers and cupboards

Perhaps it is a bit obsessive but how can all those things be left like that? You close them immediately. Then you have to decide whether it is worth nagging your significant other for the 1,199th time. Those drawers and cupboards cannot survive when open so you feel quite justified as you slam them shut.

5. You wish empty containers would just disappear

You see the empty packets lying around abandoned in the fridge or cabinets. They are empty so they should not be there. You cannot understand what logic or reasoning people are using when they never put them in the garbage.

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6. You are tired of homeless objects

Clothes, books, dishes, and cutlery. Those lovely things once had a home. That home was comfortable and tidy! Now these objects are all like abandoned waifs and strays and you are the only one who cares about rehousing them.

7. You try so hard not to be judgemental

God knows how difficult it is! You resist for the millionth time using words like untidy, messy, dirty, sloppy when talking to your loved ones but you do not always succeed. You do wish that you could work together as a team but most of the other family members seem to be ready for an interstellar experience.

8. You could open a household cleaning store

Cleanliness is next to godliness so you have stocked up on every cleaning material imaginable. Of course you have to put up with all the jokes about opening a shop and so on. You just smile affably while you polish, tidy, dust, and wash even more.

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9. You hate being invited to lunch

It does not always happen. Some of your hosts are quite tidy. But when you are invited to lunch at a messy person’s house, the torture you endure goes off the scale. You avert your eyes from the mess but it is everywhere. You try looking at the ceiling but there are cobwebs there. There is nowhere safe so you keep your eyes on your host or on your lap. I still think about my friend who had to endure lunch, knowing that the host was putting the dirty dishes in the bidet!

10. You blame the Internet

All the mess addicts you know are probably spending far too much time hanging out online. You resist the evangelical approach to try and convert them and just shrug your shoulders. Social media is just a tool to use wisely or foolishly. Now, if they only used some of that Facebook time in cleaning and tidying up, everyone would be much happier.

11. You fantasize about a huge de-cluttering event

You dream about de-cluttering. This could be the event of the year. Imagine getting rid of all that junk, housing everything decently and buying lovely storage units in which to put everything. Discarding old books, papers and clothes is a joy. Dream on!

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12. You may be a little obsessive

You have to admit that life is not so black and white. But the philosophy which teaches that messiness is a problem and tidiness is the solution is still enormously appealing. Now, why can’t everyone be neat and tidy?

Featured photo credit: Topiary/xlibber via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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