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6 Ways Traveling Can Benefit Your Career

6 Ways Traveling Can Benefit Your Career

The travel bug is easy to catch – once you start exploring all that the world has to offer, you’ll most likely never want to stop. Unfortunately, not all of us having the luxury of traveling the world as our full-time profession. We have other careers and real-life responsibilities to attend to. But what if I told you that taking some time off to travel can actually benefit your professional life?

It’s true – traveling can expose you to experiences that translate into excellent career advice.

I recently spent four months traveling all over Europe. Over the course of four months, I visited eleven countries and twenty-two cities. Those four months were filled with so many unforgettable memories and experiences. Sadly, my wanderlust-filled days had to come to an end eventually- so I packed up my bags and moved back to San Diego, California to finish up my Senior year of college and begin life as an adult in the real world.

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Shortly after moving back to San Diego I landed an internship at an Internet marketing firm. I’ve traded in strolling the avenues of Paris and indulging in gelato in Rome for late nights in the library and early mornings at work, but I still think about my time in Europe every day. I utilize what I learned while traveling to improve my skills as an intern and future marketing professional.

If you’re looking for a way to get a leg up in your professional life, consider these six ways that traveling can benefit your career:

1. You’ll learn to keep an open mind. 

The world is a wonderfully diverse place – no two countries are exactly alike. Visiting foreign countries will expose you to an array of different languages, customs, cuisines, and social norms. Some things may come as a shock to you at first. When I was in Berlin I was originally repulsed by the thought of the city’s specialty cuisine, currywurst. After some strong convincing from the locals, I decided to keep at open mind and try the dish. As it turns out, it was delicious!

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Some of life’s best experiences are the most unexpected. This experience taught me to keep an open mind at work. It’s important to listen to the ideas of your colleagues – your own ideas won’t always be the best ideas.

2. You’ll learn how to communicate effectively. 

One of the most exhausting and frustrating aspects of traveling is the language barrier. While visiting a foreign country, it’s likely that you’ll experience miscommunication more often than not. Not everyone speaks the same language – and that’s okay. There are ways to work around it.

The same goes for how you communicate in the office. If a coworker is not receptive of what you are saying, don’t get frustrated and give up, try reaching out in a new way that they can understand.

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3. You’ll gain global competence. 

Traveling opens up your world beyond your immediate neighborhood, city, and country. It will give you a deep level of understanding and appreciation for international issues. It will also provide you with the ability to work with people from all different cultural backgrounds. As the business world transitions into a more globalized system, it is essential that you learn to transition with it.

4. You’ll have the opportunity to learn a new language. 

Having bilingual skills is a sure way to set yourself apart from other job applicants or employees. It is much easier to pick up a language if you immerse yourself in the country’s culture rather than learning from a textbook or computer software.

5. You’ll develop stress management skills

I never realized how demanding the United States’ business culture is until I traveled abroad.  Relaxation, family time, and quality meals are all highly valued by European citizens and underappreciated by Americans. By observing other cultures you can learn ways to create a balance between your own work and personal life.

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Perhaps you’ll decide to set aside an hour a day to practice Yoga, or maybe you’ll spend quality time with your family every Sunday. However you choose to relax, it’s important to take the time to unwind from your busy work week.

6. You’ll cultivate creative thinking skills

The sad truth is that we lose a portion of our imagination as we grow older. There’s not much time for activities that exercise our creativity when you’re busy balancing a full-time job, family, and friends. Traveling is an excellent way to inspire your creative thinking skills.

Whether you choose to travel to India and admire the Taj Mahal, or wonder in amazement at Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona, it’s nearly impossible to not become inspired. After cultivating creative thinking skills, you’ll be able to provide your company with more innovative ideas and suggestions.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock Fly_dragonfly via google.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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