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5 Reasons a Break in Momentum Might Be Just What You Need

5 Reasons a Break in Momentum Might Be Just What You Need
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It is simple to get caught up in a cycle. Where passion is a blur, direction one dimensional, purpose becomes questionable and there are no answers. While the mind pushes forward to achieve and achieve, your body is exhausted from going and going a hundred miles per hour no breaks in between.

If neither a quick escapade nor a long holiday brings you the peace of mind that you seek, what you may really need is a sabbatical or a much needed career break.

As you ponder your options, there may be a million different reasons – money, status, fear of uncertainty – for you to hesitate making a conscious decision to break your momentum in life for a few months if not longer. Once you figure out the mechanics like where to live, how to manage your financial commitments and what the career impacts are, here are 5 great reasons a career break can be life changing:

1. You are constantly challenged to think out of the box

Whether you choose to break the routine by travelling, volunteering or starting your own venture, having no stable income to depend on might seem daunting at first but trust that you will find yourself constantly challenged to think of creative ways of generating cash flow.

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From freelancing the skills you possess to sharpening your potential in different areas, you will pleasantly discover that somehow there will be some way in which you can contribute to the world. And perhaps you will wonder why you never thought of doing it in the past.

Your situation will also put you in a better position to think out of the box when it comes to opinions and perceptions. While there are people who will be extremely supportive of the decision you have made there will also be people who will not quite understand your need to get away. In their eyes you will be a sloth.

You will learn that it is not necessary for anyone apart from yourself to understand your situation and what you would like to achieve out of the different stages of life. Life does not need to involve constantly ticking off check boxes. The sooner you realize this, the more you will be able to focus on things that matter to you rather than anyone else.

2. You Start to Discover The Real You

How many times at the dinner table or at a party have you started a conversation and one of the first few questions that you have had to answer is what line of work you are in? Have you ever gotten to know yourself as a person without the attachment of a job? What do you like to do? Who are you? If you weren’t just the analyst or the lawyer or the reporter or the entrepreneur, who are you?

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The time that comes with a break will allow you that introspection. You will do, see and experience parts of the world and moments that will reintroduce you to yourself and you will find new respect for some of the traits that you already have. You might even start questioning if your current life has got you climbing up the wrong ladder too quickly.

Reevaluating your current lifestyle choices will be common and frequent, from the places and food you choose to eat, the activities you usually engage in and the clothes you usually wear. If not for the lack of income, perhaps simply from the big change in your own lifestyle. A new pair of shoes may not seem as exciting anymore and suddenly DIY missions may not sound like the worst thing you have ever heard of and for the first time ever, you might actually have the time for it.

3. You Discover New Passions and Rediscover Old Hobbies

In your state of exploration, you may find yourself volunteering more than committing to paid work during your career break. Surprisingly, the contentment that comes from volunteering can be more overwhelming when it is a cause that you truly believe in and stand for.

Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in a diversified role that you might not have the opportunity to experience otherwise and maybe even discover that it was your true calling from the beginning. While you may think that volunteering involves nothing more than completing simple tasks, there is so much untapped potential about yourself that you can discover.

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Most volunteer establishments will also happily provide a reference for future career prospects and along with it, a new passion you never really knew you had.

Naturally, falling back on old hobbies that you might have lost grasp of way back when you were in university or before a real job took over will be common because suddenly you will have time again. Be it writing, reading, dancing, eating, indulgence will come without guilt. This will allow you to reexamine the choices you made for yourself and decide if you are happily on the right track with your current choices. And if that is not the case, you can choose to embrace change.

4. You will Meet People from Different Walks of Life

Traveling, volunteering, and simply spending time away from your usual routine will bring many different people into your life. Some you may meet for a couple of minutes others may leave a bigger impact. Each one may end up teaching you a thing or two about yourself or life itself. They may not. Either way, these strangers will bring a refreshing change to your usual scenery. And if you do not find an inspiring soul among any of them, you need not worry about the attachment because no one will stay unless you let them.

5. You will Learn New Skills

Unless you spend your days and nights locked up in a room watching Netflix, you are sure to pick up a couple of new skills. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn a new language, become a yoga teacher or you have just wanted to be independent in general? Picking up new skills may even be the theme of the year.

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At the very least, you will learn lots of life skills that your job might not have been able to teach you. Both a sense of adventure and the ability to tackle uncertainty by being present are skills that only time and experience can teach you. Let the forces of nature be your teacher.

At the heart of it all, in today’s fast paced world, everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere but sometimes all you need is to slow it down in order to find out where you truly belong.

More by this author

Dimi Jani

Freelance Writer

5 Reasons a Break in Momentum Might Be Just What You Need

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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