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Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

When people imagine rural areas, they think farms, cute cottages, and a laid back lifestyle.

While these are mostly true, rural areas around the world have plenty of benefits that some folks fail to acknowledge. Whenever the topic of moving or living there arises, they would usually worry about education, healthcare, and culture. This is especially true for those who want to start a family.

Millennials, in particular, have been known to move away from rural areas to urban landscapes. This exodus is mainly driven by the need for further education, employment opportunities, and personal motivations (i.e. live a dynamic, fast-paced lifestyle like their peers).

But lately, it seems the young generation is on the move again – this time, towards the suburban and rural areas.

Why the change of heart?

Benefits of Living/Working In Rural Areas

Did you know that 90 percent of the United States land mass is made up of rural and suburban areas?

According to U.S. Census Bureau, rural areas are those that “encompass all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.”

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Technically, anything that’s NOT urban (i.e. open spaces, forests, farmlands, areas with less than 2,500 residents) is rural. But it’s not a perfect definition. However, two main factors affect an area’s definition of being ‘rural’: commute and housing density. This definition could also vary in other parts of the world.

As a millennial who was born and raised in the bustling city, living with my mother in Eibelstadt was a huge change. Although they’re not exactly rural, they are a small town of roughly 3,000 residents (as of December 2015).

eibelstadt
    Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

    One of the first things I noticed was that there is more of the older generation than younger ones (especially those my age). Buildings and houses dated as far back as the 16th century (which is awesome). Nights were definitely quieter, and people more or less knew one another. They would smile or wave hello whenever we passed each other in the streets.

    The best part, though, is the small local businesses. From furniture shops, boutiques, apothecaries, to little grocery shops, it feels like stepping back to a time when living was simple and money wasn’t a big issue. The very low crime rate made me feel safe to take evening walks alone or with the family dog.

    But it’s not just me who thinks rural areas could be great places to work or settle in.

    1. Rural areas provide fewer distractions.

    Several researches have pointed to the benefits of being so close to greenery, peace, and quiet. One of the best things about living in smaller towns is that there are fewer things that need to occupy your time – and mind.

    One research shows how crowded streets (which are a common sight in urban landscapes) affect memory retention. With so many stimuli (e.g. speeding cars, people walking, stereos blasting, etc.), our brains can only focus on it for a limited amount of time until it needs to process another set of information.

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    But in rural settings, you’ll be able to focus on ONE thing at a time. This keeps you productive. There’s also the benefit of silence. According to a 2013 study, silence can help the brain generate new neurons. During silence, it’s also a time when your brain can analyze its internal and external surroundings.

    2. You can experience better work/life balance in rural areas.

    In one study, it was found that people who lived near green regions had lower rates of psychological disorders, compared to their urban counterparts. Participants of the study also reported relief from sadness and depression.

    The more things you think or worry about, the more stressed you feel. Who can focus on relaxing when you’re still worried about that email or a call from your boss? Rural areas are perfect for trying to achieve the elusive work/life balance.

    Feeling stressed? Just put on a coat and stroll your worries away. Need to be productive? Choose a quiet spot in your home and get to work. Craving for some alone time? A hike in the woods or mountain should replenish your soul. Interested in a little socializing? Just visit local bars or a community center to meet someone new.

    Surprisingly, the slower pace of life in small towns can help you reconnect with what matters most.

    3. Lower cost of living.

    Don’t be fooled: just because Eibelstadt boasts of only 3,000 people, it doesn’t mean that they’re not thriving. Contrary to what many believe, these beautiful communities contain flourishing businesses that include furniture makers, crafts masters, wine experts, boutique hotels, salons, and architecture firms.

    eibelstadt
      Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

      In Eibelstadt’s case, it was thanks to their prosperous wine businesses that lured tourists far and wide for a visit, particularly during the summer. This, along with the town’s gorgeous sceneries, helped to make them a lucrative option for millennials like myself.

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      But unlike living in busy cities like Paris or Berlin, the cost of living in small towns is lower. Grocery shopping can be done easily from farmers’ markets. Need new plates or some antique table cloths for your home? Try yard and garage sales, where a dollar can go a long way. If you love unique, arty items, look out for local artisans and their amazing crafts.

      What Jobs Can You Get In Rural Areas?

      These reasons are well and good – but NOT enough to convince people to go ‘rural’.

      After all, many amenities are few and far in between. For instance, my mother and I needed to drive a couple of miles twice a month for groceries. Although there was a store not far from our home, the big shops are located elsewhere. This taught us how to budget out time and resources though, so it wasn’t that bad.

      But perhaps the biggest hurdle for anyone who wants to live in rural areas is employment. What jobs can you get in the countryside? Are there even good jobs?

      Lucky for us millennials, we were born in a time when technological advances were quickly being developed. These days, making passive income is the norm. Below are a couple of suggestions for jobs you can do if you decide to live in a rural area:

      • Remote Work – even folks from cities opt for remote work. This gives you the freedom to work from anywhere while letting you earn a paycheck. You can be a consultant, web designer, developer, graphic artist, or writer. Try sites like Flex Jobs and Remote OK.io for a list of remote work options today.
      • Arts and Crafts – are you good with your hands? Lots of artists, craftsmen, and hobbyists try their luck at selling their wares either locally or online. If you feel ready to expand your horizons, check out platforms like Etsy or Shopify.
      • Gardening/Farming/Livestock – while this won’t make you a billionaire in two years (or a decade even), it’s a great way to feed yourself, your family, and your community.

      If you already have a small farm of a few acres or so, you can begin with some vegetables and livestock. Then you can choose to expand from there. What better way to eat food than to know you grew it yourself? Plus, there are farmers’ markets and restaurants that could be your loyal customers given the chance.

      eibelstadt
        Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.
        • Photography/Writing – this is similar to remote work. There are plenty of businesses in need of professional images and content. If you have the talent for it, you can promote your work online. You can also find employment in small local companies, such as local newspapers.
        • Teaching/Consulting – for those who are thinking or moving to rural areas near their retirement, becoming a teacher or consultant is a great way to earn income while sharing your knowledge. Start profiling your future settlement for opportunities in these areas.

        Are they in need of your kind of skills and work experience? What are the requirements? Who would be your potential students or clients?

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        As most work these days need a bit of computer literacy, it’s wise to invest in courses if you’re not so tech-savvy. Visit your community center to inquire about classes.

        Ready for Rural Living?

        Okay, so maybe not – yet.

        But imagine waking up to just the right rays of sunlight through your open window. The birds and bees outside your garden, beckoning you to join them. I personally love taking in the silence first thing in the morning, with a strong cup of coffee.

        Rural areas, like cities and the suburbans, have their pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide where you’d work and settle in.

        Featured photo credit: Ana Madeleine Uribe/Pexels.com via pexels.com

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        Cris Antonio

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

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        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

        How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

        How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

        Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

        But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

        The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

        Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

        But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

        As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

        Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

        There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

        The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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        • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
        • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
        • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
        • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

        But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

        How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

        When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

        I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

        Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

        However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

        Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

        While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

        Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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        By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

        How to Use Visual Learning for Success

        Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

        1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

        We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

        While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

        I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

        2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

        Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

        Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

        As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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        And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

        3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

        Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

        With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

        Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

        It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

        Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

        Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

        4. Add video streaming to meetings.

        What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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        When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

        For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

        Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

        No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

        You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

        The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

        More About Learning Styles

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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