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10 Things Singles Should Do

10 Things Singles Should Do

While the sanctity of marriage remains a prominent cultural aspect with global relevance, the rate of divorce remains comparatively high in developed economies throughout the world. This is creating a higher volume of singles,who subsequently have a tremendous chance to develop as individuals and significantly better their lives before embracing commitments such as marriage, home-ownership and child rearing.

With this in mind, let’s consider 10 things that you should look to do or accomplish while you are single and before you embark on a long-term relationship:

1. Travel independently and as often as possible

Travelling is a wonderful thing to do whilst you are single. It is one of the few things in life that allows you to have a sense of complete freedom, and travelling independently helps you to optimize this sense of liberty and abandon. By travelling alone you can literally go wherever you wish to in this world, without having to compromise on your experience or the type of holiday’s that you aim to enjoy.

Given that travelling abroad has the potential to expand our horizons and to help us become more rounded individuals, doing so as an individual will enable you to absorb as much cultural knowledge as possible. So long as you are able to choose suitable destinations and purchase insurance coverage that protects you in specific regions of the world, you can travel safely while becoming a more rounded and complete person.

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2. Live Alone as an Independent Adult

Similarly, living alone as a single adult enables you to learn more about yourself in a stressful, intense and satisfying manner. Above all else, it allows you to become comfortable with your own company and live happily in solitude, as you reflect on your life and consider future goals. This will make you far less likely to choose unsuitable romantic partners when you are older, or make relationship decisions that are based ondesperation and a desire not be alone. Given the stress that can be caused by romantic separation and divorce, living alone as a singleton can spare you from considerable heartache and distress in the future.

3. Establish Routines and Coping Mechanisms

They say that humans are creatures of habit, and there is a good reason for this. More specifically, we thrive on routines as it enables us to cope with the stress of our busy and occasionally complicated lives. It is particularly beneficial to develop these physical and emotional routines while you are single because, unlike when you are in a relationship, you are completely independent and only have yourself to rely on.

This is empowering, as you can develop a greater understanding of your psyche and establish routines or psychological coping mechanisms without becoming co-dependent withanother person. You can also become a more rounded and confident individual, who is able to serve as a source of strength and assistance for others.

4. Work out what you want from a Relationship

If there is one most imprtant thing that you should do while you are single, it is to work out what you want from your future partner. This is far easier to do when you are not already in a relationship, as the concepts of time and space enable you to have perspective and develop a clear understanding of what you want in a life partner. It also has additional benefits, as it enables you to break bad dating habits and create good one’s going forward. So not only will you be able to identify a compatible partner when the time comes, but you can also create a favorable impression and afford the relationship the best possible chance of long-term success.

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5. Donate and assist charities

Donating your time and energy to charity can be a life enriching experience. Helping those that are perhaps less fortunate than you, not only ensures that you appreciate what you do have, but also what you do not actually need. It may even change your perspective on the aspects of your life which are actually important to you. This is a particularly wonderful thing to do whilst you are single as you will have the freedom to donate as much of your free time or disposable income as you wish; without having to consider any social engagements your partner may wish to attend.

There is a whole wealth of volunteering opportunities out there, while there are a number of socially conscious brands that deliver initiatives that you should be aware of.By taking part in initiatives such as TNT’s Christmas drive to offer the free delivery of donated goods and items, you can help those less fortunate than yourself and aid your personal growth in the process.

6. Listen to your gut and go on spontaneous adventures

Once you embark on a long-term relationship, you can encumber a number of responsibilities including marriage, home-ownership and raising children. Although these are varied in their nature, they are bound by financial obligations and the need to budget your income in a responsible and productive manner. As a singleton you are free from such restrictions, however, meaning that you have a unique opportunity to indulge your passions and achieve more selfish, potentially irresponsible goals.

The more you invest in care-free and self-centered experiences when you are single, the more content you will become to settle down and embrace the responsibilities associated with adult relationships.

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7. Save Money on a Regular Basis

On a similar note, the financial responsibilities associated with owning a home or raising children can make it extremely difficult to save money. So while saving money while you are single may be challenging, you may never have a better opportunity to reduce your monthly expenditure, invest your disposable income and focus on your life goals.

With the average rate of disposable income set to rise in line with global economic expansion throughout 2015, singleton’s will have an even greater opportunity to save their hard-earned cash on a regular basis. Saving when you are single and able allows you to lay the foundations for future financial security, while making it easier to accomplish goals once you have embarked on a relationship, such as purchasing a home or planning a wedding.

8. Achieve the Ideal Work-life Balance

You cannot hope to save or achieve financial stability without a regular source of income, whether you are single or in a relationship. Managing your career development alongside a relationship or life as a parent can be particularly challenging, however, as you must divide the same amount of time between a wider range of activities. It is therefore important to develop your career as aggressively as possible as a singleton, while also determining a suitable work-life balance to create a seamless and productive everyday routine. If you can achieve this, you will find it far easier to embark on a successful relationship and fulfill your additional responsibilities as a partner, spouseand parent.

9. Learn New Skills or Achieve Academic Goals

In addition to addressing your work-life balance, you may also want to use your time as a singleton to pursue new skills and academic achievements. This is far harder to do when in a relationship, due to the cost of private or adult education and the amount of time that is required to learn effectively. Not only do you have a clear career focus when single, but you also have the time and disposable income to acquire specific skills and qualifications that will boost your fledgling career. So while some people may consider age to be the primary barrier to learning new skills, it is in fact individual life circumstances and the pressures of embarking on a romantic liaison.

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10. Spend time with your Closest and Dearest Friends

Friendship is a powerful and persuasive bond, but one that can suffer when you devote time and effort into building a romantic relationship. It is therefore crucial that you spend as much time as possible with your closest friends while you are single, as this can be easily balanced alongside your working schedule and any recreational hobbies that you may have. This not only enables you to live in the moment and make the most of your long-term platonic relationships, but it also helps to create viable routines for spending time with friends and loved ones in the future.

Featured photo credit: Kafubra via en.wikipedia.org

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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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