Life these days can be more demanding than ever. Do you feel like you have the skills required to communicate clearly and follow through with all life’s demands? Improving your communication and productivity is a great start to achieving your goals. The eight tips compiled below can help you begin.
- Prioritize your self-care. Self-care is foundational to brain health and optimal cognitive functioning. Key components of self-care are restorative time, nutrition, physical activity, and sleep. Make sure that you are including time in your schedule for activities that are fun and refresh you, planning regular meals that nourish you, activities that energize your body, and restful sleep. These areas help ensure that you are feeling your best and managing your energy in a way that supports full engagement with life, including the people and tasks that bring you meaning.
- Practice personal observation. Paying attention to your thoughts and feelings is key to improving the behaviors which affect your communication and productivity. Observe how you respond in different settings and situations. Notice what things allow you to focus the best and which things distract you. This will give you key insights that you can then use to curate your environment to function at your best. Start by setting aside a few minutes a day to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations on purpose and without judgment.
- Clarify messages throughout your conversations. So often, people are speaking to get their point across but not fully engaging in their conversations. Clarifying will help you feel more satisfied in your relationships and interactions with others. Mindfully listen to others and ask questions. Listen not only to one’s words but also to their tone of voice and body language. This will help you uncover any relevant details and stay on the same page as your communication partner.
- Use pauses to collect your thoughts and communicate thoughtfully. Taking a moment to slow down can improve your mental processing and clarity of communication. Try taking a quick mental break in between tasks and an intentional breath after your sentences. We are in an age in which everything is moving so fast, and we feel like we must keep up but if we slow down, we make fewer mistakes and get things done more efficiently.
- Take a moment to organize your thoughts before speaking. When you have paused during a conversation, take this time to organize your thoughts in a logical, organized, and relevant way. This will help your communication partner process and fully comprehend your messages. When explaining an idea be sure to include information as to why it is important and what should be done moving forward. When you are telling a story make sure to include all the relevant details such as who, what, when, where, why, and how; as well as give the information in a forward-moving timeline.
- Always respond with intention. This is about how you express yourself with more than just words. Be aware of your tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions, and body language to ensure that you come across in a relaxed and knowledgeable way. Use whole body language to communicate in a clear, calm, and confident manner.
- Use external supports. Write things down that you need to recall and follow through with from conversations and keep your priorities in sight whenever possible. This includes noting things down in your calendar or planner. Then, consistently look ahead at your week and plan your days. This will support your memory and persistence with tasks.
- Create habits and routines whenever possible. Habits and routines take away some of the mental load and decision-making involved with accomplishing your goals. When you think about your goals, what are the processes that need to be in place to get you there? Make these things a part of your day at a predictable time and place. This will make it easier to keep your brain focused and for you to reach your goals.
You do not have to do it all alone. Use other people to keep you focused and accountable. Reach out for help from a therapist or coach if needed. Contact the team at My Personal Bookkeeper to learn more about how their services can benefit you.
About the Author
Suzy Carbrey is a speech-language pathologist who works with everyday adults to improve their communication and thinking skills that affect their productivity and goal completion. Her clients are professionals, parents, and college students who want to improve areas such as communication, time management, mental organization, and follow-through. She works with adults with or without a medical diagnosis that can benefit from a “brain-based” approach to improving communication and executive function skills.