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3 Game-Changing Life Tweaks That Really Work

3 Game-Changing Life Tweaks That Really Work

Everyone wants to improve their life in one way or another, whether it’s to be smarter, more successful, or just change their situations for the better. Three life hacks the Quora writers used themselves have made all the difference in their lives. From changing how they view their weekend, to an easy smartphone hack, to an entire life overhaul, these tried and true tweaks will inspire you.

1. Stop treating weekends like mini vacations.

Quora writer, Todd Busen set out on a mission[1] to wake up for work on time. He found that sleeping in on the weekends disrupted his sleep schedule on his work days. So, he decided to treat the weekends like his work days and wake up at the same hour every day of the week. His experiment proved a success. He has not viewed weekends the same way since then.

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According to Busen, the weekends should be treated like every other day of the week, and instead of losing those precious moments, you should use that time productively to grow, move forward, and better your life.

When facing your next weekend:

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  • Try getting up the same time you do during the week.
  • Use those extra hours of free time to read or workout.
  • Instead of watching a movie, watch a documentary.
  • Exchange watching YouTube videos of cats for YouTube videos that will help your business grow or teach you a new skill.
  • If a whole weekend seems like a daunting overhaul, use baby steps to make your tweaks.

2. Move where to charge the phone.

Smartphones are usually the first thing a lot of people grab in the morning and Quora writer Matt Sandrini recognized his own electronic addiction and knew he had to conquer it.[2] Matt wanted to read more, write more, and get more sleep, but the siren call of his smartphone was too tempting. He decided his best course of action was to move the distraction and began by moving his phone charger away from his bed. This small tweak appealed to his lack of willpower. Before, it took willpower to put his phone down, and now it took willpower to get up to get to his phone.

Matt now reads more than ever, writes more, and even gets more sleep. He recommends placing the phone as far away as possible, even in another room.

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How can you charge your phone in another room if it’s your alarm clock?

  • Choose a louder alarm tone on your phone, one that you can hear further away.
  • Consider getting a regular alarm clock.
  • Set an alarm on your watch.

3. Quit all things that don’t create value.

What would happen if you changed the way you viewed your entire life? Perhaps the biggest game-changing tweak comes from Quora writer Josh Fechter, who learned his lesson the hard way.[3]

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Broke and living in his dad’s apartment as he struggled to get his writing career off of the ground, Josh turned to reading self-help books for inspiration. From the books, he learned “success and happiness parallel how much value people create for others.” Josh knew he had to focus on his writing to be a success, but in order to do that, he would have cut meaningless distractions from his life.

Josh took the plunge and decided to let go of all things that didn’t create value in his life. He stopped watching TV and Netflix. He ceased reading his Facebook feed. He no longer paid attention to politics, and even stopped going out to eat. If it didn’t add value to his life, he didn’t do it. He focused only on what would be beneficial, or bring meaning to his life and work. With the distractions gone, he was able to concentrate on his writing, and his career began to take off. Three years later, Josh is head of growth for a $50 million-dollar venture capital company.

So, how do you determine what has no value?

  • Face each life situation with a question before proceeding: will doing this enrich me, my business, or my life?
  • If the answer is no, make the decision to not do it and fill that void of time with something that will be beneficial to your personal growth, your health, and your business.
  • If the answer is yes, go ahead, armed with the knowledge that you are enhancing your life.

Move your phone, rethink the way you live your weekend, or trim the useless distractions from your life. Three proven tweaks that can make a difference. Try one out or use them all, or choose the best bits of each. It’s your life, make it a good one.

Reference

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Sally White

writer, artist & blogger

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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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