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20 Simple But Powerful Changes You Can Make To Simplify Your Life

20 Simple But Powerful Changes You Can Make To Simplify Your Life

Life is a whirlwind of people to see, places to go, and things to do. Does your life feel like a never-ending To-Do List? If so, I invite you to apply 20 simple but powerful changes you can make to simplify your life today.

1. Eliminate distractions

Disable all text notifications that serve no purpose. Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail notifications are the Big Three that are probably eating up more time than you could ever imagine.

2. Stop judging other people

Does carrying a grudge or being judgmental ever make you feel any better about yourself? It might give you temporary gratification, but is it really worth your time and effort? I don’t think so.

3. Live in the moment

How many times have you walked right past a beautiful thing without even noticing it? Look at the glorious sun, floating clouds, shining stars, and gigantic trees in your backyard. Pay attention to the beauty surrounds you every day.

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4. Spend less time behind the wheel

Stop spinning your wheels without purpose. Make grocery-shopping a weekly occasion and errand-running a monthly event. Most bills can be set-up on automatic payment, so check in with your bank and service providers to automate your financial life.

5. Compliment total strangers

There are few things more wonderful than a random compliment. The next time you go downtown, offer a kind word to a total stranger. Maybe they have a cute purse, stylish hat, or snazzy suit that you think is super neat. You just might make somebody’s day in ten words or less.

6. Cook in bulk

Who says you need to prepare a fresh meal every day? Prepare a week of meals on the least busy day-of-the-week and then all you have to do is zap them when it’s chow-time. You will be more likely to make healthy decisions and you’ll have more time for those other things you tend to put off (working out, anybody?).

7. Wake up an hour early

This simple change could make a world of difference in the quality of your morning. Wake up an hour early and you could perform a quick exercise, read a few chapters in that novel you can’t put down, prepare a delicious breakfast, or a combination of all-of-the-above.

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8. Prepare your gym gear the night before

Do you tend to skip out on your workouts? Go ahead and prepare to hit the gym the night before you do it. If you workout in the morning, lay your workout attire on your dresser so it is the very first thing you will see in the morning. If you workout after work, pack up your stuff and toss it in the car so you’ll be less likely to “run out of time” in the morning.

9. Silence your phone

Please don’t be one of those people who answers their phone when they are in line at the grocery store or out for drinks with friends. It can wait — I promise.

10. Outsource business tasks

Are you a self-employed business owner or blogger? If so, you might want to consider outsourcing certain tasks that you’re not good at. I self-publish books on Amazon, but must confess I’m a lousy graphic designer, so I would never try to produce a cover myself. I also out-source things like logo design, some marketing functions, formatting jobs, and really just about anything I can. Even if you’re operating on a shoe-string budget, you can find affordable freelancers at Fiverr and Upwork who would be happy to do a bang-up job on your project without digging a hole in your wallet.

11. Breathe

Breathing is essential to life, yet it is so easy to forget to do. When is the last time you took a few moments to breathe with intention? Short, rushed breaths will make you feel stressed out while long, deep breaths will help you become calm and cool. Focus on deep breathing while driving to work in the morning. If you’re doing it right, your belly should come forward with each inhale and move backward with each exhale.

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12. Stop complaining

Yes, gas is outrageously expensive, but what can you do about it? Maybe that restaurant meal wasn’t the best thing ever, but why would you fuss at your waiter when it wasn’t his fault? Stepping in dog poop is a bummer, but is pitching a temper tantrum going to make you feel any better? Complaining is often an exercise in futility that just makes you more stressed out, so knock it off.

13. Say “please” and “thank you”

Show appreciation to the people around you for a happier life experience for everyone involved.

14. Ask for help

You are not alone in the world, so why wouldn’t you turn to trusted friends or colleagues if you need help with something? I’m always asking my followers for feedback about book ideas. I seek guidance from mentors when I could use a gentle push in the right direction of my business goals. My friends and family are always here for me if I’m under stress and just need someone to listen. Don’t feel like you’re inconveniencing a person by asking for help, because more often than not, people enjoy offering a helping hand. This gives them an opportunity to be helpful, which will make them feel needed, and they will appreciate the fact that you thought to turn to them.

15. Slow down at the dinner table

Why are you in such a hurry all the time? As Ganhdi said, “there is more to life than increasing its speed.” Don’t shovel your food down your throat without thought process. Eat mindfully while paying attention to the aroma, texture, and taste of your food. Focus while you chew and try to imagine all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish. Slowing down will help you avoid eating past the point of fullness, which will help you lose weight.

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16. Stay positive

If it isn’t positive, don’t say it. There is already enough darkness in the world. Be a source of light.

17. Smile

Feeling down? Smile anyway (even if you don’t feel like it!). The act of smiling, be it genuine or forced, can improve your mood and reduce stress. In addition, it’s quite difficult to remain bummed out when you a beaming smile on your face (I dare you to prove me wrong).

18. Learn to say “no”

It’s wonderful to have tons of friends who are always inviting you to do things, but saying “yes” to every invite that crosses your path could make you feel overwhelmed in a hurry. I know you might be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, but please understand that alone time is necessary for your mental health. If you’re faced with an invite you don’t want to accept, say something like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it. We will catch-up soon.” You also might want to click here to learn the gentle art of saying “no.”

19. Be a kid

Who says adults can’t play board-games, climb trees, blow bubbles, build sandcastles, or have a water-gun fight? You are never too old for fun.

20. Take action

Devouring all of the personal development articles in the world won’t save you if you’re not willing to take action. I’m happy you’re reading this article because that means you want to simplify your life, but words without action are meaningless. Are you willing to commit to make a positive change? If so, leave a comment telling me what change you are going to make today.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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