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6 Signs You Haven’t Made Self-Care Your Top Priority

6 Signs You Haven’t Made Self-Care Your Top Priority

To get ahead in this busy world, you have to put your own needs on the backburner once in a while.

But that doesn’t mean you should keep them there until they start to boil over.

No matter how giving of a person you are, you should always be looking out for number one. Above all else, this means admitting you’re a human being with certain needs that must be met before anything (and anyone) else.

There’s no shame in that. Acknowledging that you’re not a superhero is humbling, and it’s also healthy. It allows you to operate with a realistic outlook on life, with the understanding that there will often be times in which you’re completely powerless, and the best thing you can do is simply look out for yourself.

1. You Skip or Neglect Your Basic Needs

Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs makes it clear: Neglecting the importance of self care will eventually destroy you.

On a day-to-day basis you might not see a problem with skipping breakfast because you’re running late, but when doing so becomes habitual you’ll be missing out on vital nutrients that keep you energized throughout the day.

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Similarly, you might try to delude yourself into thinking you can run on four hours of sleep, but over the course of just one week you’ll end up missing an entire 24 hours of rest.

If you’re skipping meals or losing sleep, you’re not going to be able to work to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, even if you’ve been sacrificing your own well being for your job or career, the only thing your boss will notice is this decrease in performance.

Keep up with your basic needs so you can attend to the things in life that require a higher level of focus.

2. You’re Always on Autopilot

Whether you call it the rat race or the hamster wheel, getting stuck in a vicious cycle of eating, sleeping, working, and repeating is dehumanizing.

When each and every day is so exhausting that all you can do is take care of the basics, you’re not really living, at all. You’re simply going through the motions as if you’re a robot programmed only to serve.

But you’re a human being. You need time to sit back and fulfill your emotional needs. You need to spend time in deep thought. You need to experience life and the world around you instead of letting it all pass you by.

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Even robots need to recharge once in a while.

3. You’re Always Doing Something for Someone Else

There’s nothing wrong with being a giving person. Lending a helping hand to others is what builds relationships and communities, and keeps the human race striving for peace.

On the other hand, giving too much of yourself will eventually lead others to start taking advantage. When people see you’re willing to bend over backwards for them, they’ll test the limits and see how far you’ll go before you snap. The worst part is, since you’re such a giving individual, you won’t even realize they’re taking advantage of you until you’re too invested in their needs to back out.

The best thing you can do is to just say “no” sometimes. Recognize when others are asking too much of you, and simply tell them you can’t help them right now. Showing a little backbone in the present will save you from snapping in the future.

4. You’ve Lost Touch with Friends and Family

When was the last time you spent time with the people you actually care about?

When you’re too giving of yourself, you end up spending way too much time dedicated to coworkers, colleagues, and bosses who mean absolutely nothing to you on a personal level. Unfortunately, this means the relationships you do care about end up suffering.

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While you do have certain duties at work and in life that need to be fulfilled, none of them can compare to the duty you have to yourself and your loved ones. Which are you more likely to remember in ten years: The times you stayed late at the office to get a head start on some paperwork, or the times you spent playing catch with your kids in the backyard?

5. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Had Fun

Speaking of playing catch, when is the last time you forgot all about your earthly worries and just had fun?

If you really can’t remember, something is definitely wrong.

Many of us fall under the impression that “fun” is something kids have before they enter the real world, at which point your life consists of work, work, work. Some of us mistakenly define ourselves by the amount of work we do and the sacrifices we make.

We all make sacrifices, but that doesn’t mean our entire lives should be dedicated to making money and slaving away behind a desk. We should work to be able to enjoy the times we have away from our jobs.

Spend some time doing what you love. Go for a hike. Grab some ice cream. Hit some balls at the driving range. Do whatever you can that, for at least a short period of time, helps you remember what it’s like to be a kid again. You’ll thank yourself for it.

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6. You Don’t Feel Like Yourself Anymore

This is it, right here:

Neglecting the importance of self care can lead to you truly forgetting who you are. What your dreams and goals were. What you always thought your purpose in life was.

And it’s incredibly disheartening.

When you no longer know why you’re getting out of bed in the morning. When you go through your day looking forward to sitcom reruns at night. When you can’t even enjoy those sitcoms because you know the next day will be more of the same.

When this realization hits you, you need to take action immediately. Take some time for yourself. Figure out what you need to do to get back on track in life. Whether this is a change in careers, or a weekend away with your loved ones, do whatever it takes to start feeling like “you” again.

Otherwise, what’s the point in living?

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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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