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100 Tiny Swaps That Can Make Your Life Totally Different

100 Tiny Swaps That Can Make Your Life Totally Different

Small things add up. If you want to improve your life, check out these 100 small swaps you can make today to improve various aspects of your life, making you happier, healthier, and more productive.

Happiness

1. Swap texting for a phone call. Even if you initially feel shy or awkward, once you are used to making phone calls you will find them faster and more enjoyable!

2. Swap sitting on social media for an hour for Skyping with a friend. You will have more fun and you will strengthen a bond with someone you love.

3. Swap each complaint for gratitude. The world will seem like a more positive place when you change your outlook.

4. Swap watching television to reading a book. It is more peaceful and relaxing, and nothing feels better than getting lost in a book.

5. Swap playing on your phone for taking a walk. People can waste hours checking Twitter and Instagram on their phones – instead of looking at filtered pictures, go get some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors.

6. Swap stressing for meditation – it is much more likely to relax you.

7. Swap frowning for smiling – it will help you to feel happier and more positive.

8. Swap safe clothes for your favourite top to feel more confident.

9. Swap falling asleep whenever for setting a bedtime – this will improve your sleeping habits and the quality of your sleep.

10. Swap seething for venting. If you feel annoyed, talking it out will help to relax you and clear your head.

11. Swap ignoring strangers for smiling at them. It will improve your mood – and theirs!

12. Swap over-planning for saying “no.” If you don’t want to do something, be honest. You will be happier for it!

13. Swap being alone for throwing a gathering with your friends. It is better for your mental wellbeing and a great way to maintain friendships!

14. Embrace your flaws instead of worrying about them. No one is perfect, and everyone should embrace their uniqueness.

15. Instead of forcing friendships, let some people go. Not all friendships last forever and trying to maintain bad ones is often stressful.

16. Swap sitting inside for sitting outside when the weather is good. The park is a beautiful, atmospheric place to read a book or get some work done.

17. Swap passive-aggressive behaviour for upfront honesty. It is better for your emotional state to work out problems rather than skirt around them.

18. Instead of being pessimistic, be optimistic. You weren’t born one or the other; it is a choice how you choose to see the world.

19. Swap uncomfortable heels for shoes you love. If you are comfortable, you will be happier and more confident.

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20. Swap driving alone for carpooling. You will save money on petrol and have fun with your coworkers!

21. Swap worrying about previous mistakes for focusing on the future. The past is set in stone, but anything could happen in your future.

22. Instead of overeating when you are upset, journal your feelings. This will help you to deal with and work through your problems.

23. Instead of criticising yourself, try praising yourself.

24. Instead of sitting at home with no plans, volunteer with a local charity.

25. Instead of trying to please everyone, realize that you can’t actually please everyone. It is better to focus on pleasing yourself and your loved ones.

Productivity

26. Instead of doing nothing on your commute, do some work to make it more productive.

27. Instead of under-planning, write a to-do list when you start work so you know exactly what you need to do.

28. Instead of treating yourself when shopping, start an emergency fund. You never know when you will need it!

29. Instead of procrastinating, improve your resume.

30. Swap working late for starting early. Most people are at their most productive when they first wake up.

31. Swap procrastination for planning. If you don’t feel like working right now, you can at least set a time to start.

32. Instead of working a job you dislike, create a start-up company that you feel passionate about.

33. Swap a lay-in for an early morning to have a more productive, successful day.

34. Swap daunting goals for small milestones so you can watch your progress more accurately.

35. Instead of spending freely, set a budget so you know where your money goes.

36. Swap a cluttered workplace for a clean one for a more productive working day.

37. Swap working on lots of tasks for working on one. Research shows that we are less productive when we multitask.

38. Instead of buying a new car, start to save for your retirement.

39. Instead of watching TV, take night classes to advance your skills.

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40. Instead of emailing throughout the night for work, switch off your phone and reply to all of the emails during work hours.

41. Instead of emailing throughout the working day, set times aside to check your email so you can focus on your other work.

42. Instead of being unsure of your progress, set goals so that you can see your success.

43. Instead of keeping your keys on you, set aside a place in your home where you can keep them so you never waste time looking for them.

44. Swap spending for saving. Simply saving $10 a week will make a huge difference after one year.

45. Instead of making a list of things to do in your mind, write it down so you can see what you need to do.

46. Instead of feeling baffled, use the internet to find the answers to all of your questions.

47. Instead of struggling to focus at work, try to accomplish something every hour.

48. Swap excuses for honesty. You will achieve more when you are realistic about yourself!

49. Swap too-much technology for the right amount. Delete social apps you don’t use and install new ones that will help you to work.

50. Instead of working endlessly, work for 50 minutes, take a 10-minute break, and repeat.

Exercise

51. Swap driving to work for cycling. It is great for your body and the fresh air will help to wake you up.

52. Swap taking the lift for taking the stairs.

53. Instead of taking a nap, go to the gym to wake up and get your blood pumping.

54. Swap doing nothing before your shower for some exercise. You’re already washing yourself, may as well get sweaty first!

55. Swap driving to the local shop for walking.

56. Swap guessing how to get fit for a personal trainer.

57. Swap getting a taxi for getting a bus. The walk to the bus will be good for your heart.

58. Swap playing online for playing on the Wii. There are tonnes of fun games that get you moving around!

59. Swap a workout you hate for a workout you enjoy. If you don’t like squats, don’t do them!

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60. Swap exercising immediately for warming up.

61. Instead of working out alone, work out with a friend to make it more fun.

62. Swap no exercise for 10 sit-ups before you go to sleep.

63. Swap running on a treadmill for running outside. The terrain is often more rocky and uphill so you get more of a workout.

64. Swap your office chair for an exercise ball.

65. Instead of holding the bar when you run on a treadmill, go hands-free. This will challenge your body more, so you will get more out of your workout.

66. Swap a movie date for an active date. Walking around the park is just as fun – and cheaper!

67. Swap running for walking if you are unfit. Run until you can’t, and then move to walking – this way you can build up your stamina.

68. Swap planks for crunches to get great abs.

69. Swap sitting at work for standing for 10 minutes every hour.

70. Swap no exercise for a morning jog. This is great for your heart and mental health!

71. Instead of working out in old clothes, work out in new workout clothes that you love. It will help you to feel more confident in yourself, pushing you to achieve more.

72. Instead of doing the same old workout, make it more intense. This will push your body and improve your fitness quickly!

73. Instead of watching your children play, join in with them. This is one of the most fun ways you can work out – and your children will love it!

74. Swap taking the escalator for taking the stairs.

75. Swap snoozing for doing some yoga next to your bed for 15 minutes.

Diet

76. Swap depriving yourself of food for moderation. You can still enjoy food while being healthy!

77. Instead of eating out for dinner, cook for yourself. It will be cheaper – and often it is more healthy.

78. Swap a meat dinner for a vegetarian dinner. This is often better for your body and the environment.

79. Swap a glass of OJ for an actual orange. You miss out on the fibres when you drink juice, so you don’t get the full benefits.

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80. Swap buying fruit and vegetables at your local store for your farmers’ market. According to the USDA, it may be healthier, and it promotes local food trade.

81. Drink a glass of water instead of a fizzy drink. It will be better for you, but equally as hydrating.

82. Swap pre-made dressings for your own. You can make a great dressing with just lemon juice, pepper, and balsamic oil!

83. Instead of deep-frying food, pan-fry the food to make it healthier – but just as delicious.

84. Swap popsicles for frozen grapes. They are just as sweet and refreshing!

85. Swap normal tea for green tea to help detox your body.

86. Instead of overeating at a restaurant, take a doggy bag home for later. The food will still be good!

87. Eat slowly instead of quickly to improve your digestive system.

88. Swap a quick breakfast for a healthy breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, so eat something healthy to set yourself up for a productive day.

89. Swap lettuce for other dark leaves. Spinach and kale have more flavour and more vitamins!

90. Cook with whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta to get more fibre in your diet.

91. Swap soda for tonic water as a healthier alternative.

92. If you like dips, go for salsa instead of cheesy dips. It is just as tasty, but it is far better for you!

93. Swap crisps for popcorn if you want a healthier salty snack.

94. Swap beef for fish once a week. Fish is great for your heart, and you can make some seriously delicious meals with it!

95. Instead of skipping meals and snacking, make sure you always eat 3 meals every day.

96. Pack lunch for work instead of buying sandwiches while you are out – it is much cheaper and healthier!

97. Swap white rice for brown rice when you are cooking at home as a healthy alternative.

98. Swap mayonnaise for mustard if you want to keep the flavor but cut down on calories.

99. Swap bacon for turkey if you like to eat meat but you want to cut down on salt.

100. Use avocado instead of butter on your toast in the morning for a tasty, healthy breakfast.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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