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5 Tips to Make Sure Autumn Memories Stay With You

5 Tips to Make Sure Autumn Memories Stay With You

The freezing temperatures of winter and the lack of sun always make us remember the autumn fondly. Always make us think back on our travel adventures and on the golden leaves shimmering in the street. We miss the walks we used to take with our long trench coats, sipping our delicious pumpkin spice lattes. The traces of autumn never leave our minds as we wish for the same season to repeat itself again.

Sometimes, when our pets are staring at us blankly, we even wonder if they too are missing those piles of golden leaves. Although winter provides us with the perfect comforts of snuggling and enjoying our homes, there’s a part of us that always misses the outdoors.

How do we preserve the memories of autumn through the seasons that follow? How do we arrange our plans for fall vacations before autumn comes again?

These are personal questions that I’ve been contemplating myself. This article will help shed some insight into my personal ways of keeping those memories fresh and motivating.

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    1. Sorting Out All the Travel Pictures

    During the year, we are constantly busy. Our daily lives consume our time, and we rarely can afford the luxury of sorting out most of our pictures. Often times, they end up in a pile on the side of our desktop with a simple title defining and encompassing all those adventures. We rarely go through it, because our Instagram or Facebook feed seems enough to remind us of our adventures.

    Therefore, winter is definitely the perfect time to start organizing and rearranging all your travel pictures. Delete those that are not necessary, and save the photos of events and places that really left a mark during your trips and travels. Furthermore, this will allow you to free up some space on your computer and keep it organized.

    On the other hand, you could also use this time to store those pictures in the cloud. That will serve as a backup plan in case something happens to your internal hard drive.

    Wouldn’t you rather be safe rather than sorry?

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      2. Reserving and Highlighting Great Deals for Your Next Trip

      Winter is the perfect time of the year to start planning for trips. A common misconception is that it is best to aim to travel in the summer. The demand for travel skyrockets in the summer as people from all around the world looking forward to going somewhere.

      However, this demand is the main reason for the hike in air fares and the crowds of tourists and travelers in certain locations during the summer. Furthermore, summer vacations are usually cut short, impairing your ability to enjoy a city or a new destination to the fullest. Work and other priorities compete with your vacation plans, which gives you only a short time span to enjoy your holidays.

      However, planning for autumn travel will allow you to discover cheaper air fares as well as lower rates on accommodations. As the hype of summer simmers down, you’ll be able to find great deals, so reserving and highlighting those offers will give you the flexibility to plan either for solo travel or travels with company.

        3. Choose Your Top Three Choices of Places to Travel

        During summer, you’re always left with limited options for places to travel. Sometimes, in a rush to choose your travel destinations, you always end up returning to the same places. On the other hand, the rise in air fares and accommodation expenses may restrict the number of places you could travel to and the amount of vacation time you could enjoy if you travel in the summer.

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        So, why not make a list of your top three destination choices for autumn?

        For example, you could plan a beach vacation in the Bahamas, where you can bask in the sun and enjoy the sunny weather on another continent. You can also plan to experience the truffle season in Italy, a trip which you may not be able to take if you’re planning a summer vacation. Truffle season in Italy is a highlight for many chefs around the world. It’s only at that time of year that you would have the opportunity to select those expensive truffles and purchase them for a reasonable price. Truffles are a rare ingredient, and for anyone who loves food, they are a luxury to cook with.

        Wouldn’t it be great to be able to discover and enjoy such a unique experience?

          4. Hold A Potluck with Your Previous Travel Companions

          Sometimes, all your memories can be relived when there’s a group of like-minded people around you. That’s the magic of potluck dinners. During winter, psychologically, we may prefer to be alone and content in our homes. However, this can also be the biggest cause of depression and loneliness in the winter.

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          Therefore, having a potluck dinner with your previous travel mates doesn’t only give you the chance to relive your travel adventures from the previous autumn. It also gives you the chance to increase your social connectedness. Food allows anyone to bond, and it creates an amazing atmosphere, so why not use the opportunity to the best of your abilities?

          You can also make the potluck unique by recreating dishes that sparked your imagination during the autumn, while others do the same. Then, you’ll not only have a great conversation but also enrich yourself culturally and feed your mind, body, and soul.

          In Conclusion

          Traveling during any season can be amazing, but we often forget to keep the memories together so we can treasure them in the future. Sometimes, reliving these memories heals the soul and gives you the opportunity to look forward to something amazing whilst going about your daily life.

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          Published on May 18, 2021

          How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

          How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

          We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

          The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

          Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

          Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

          Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

          There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

          Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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          Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

          We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

          Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

          A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

          The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

          Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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          Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

          Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

          Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

          While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

          Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

          These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

          Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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          Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

          Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

          Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

          Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

          Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

          Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

          As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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          This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

          Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

          Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

          These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

          Actions Speak Louder Than Words

          Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

          Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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          Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

          More Tips Improving Listening Skills

          Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

          Reference

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