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5 Signs the Block Has Gone Bad and It’s Time to Move

5 Signs the Block Has Gone Bad and It’s Time to Move

Choosing a place to live can be incredibly stressful and mentally taxing. Finding the perfect blend of comfort, price, and location can take weeks if not months. Even when you find the right home the work has only just begun. Upkeep can be expensive though necessary to keep your home in it’s top condition.

How your neighbors take care of their property can also directly impact your property value. We’ve all heard of curb appeal and how important it is for everyone to keep their areas in tip top shape. But what happens when several of your neighbors start to care less and less about their homes appearance? The sad truth is that neighborhoods occasionally fall into decay.

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The good news is if you stay alert and look for the signs, you may be able to tell before anyone else that you’re living on a block that’s headed in the wrong direction. Even if you think you’ve found your forever home, surrounding circumstances may lead you to think twice. If this happens to you, have no fear, moving is always an option. There will always be more fish in the sea, or in this case, houses.

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So if you think your neighborhood may be going bad here are some troubling indicators to note:

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  • Increased police presence: This is an obvious one, but its significance can elude you if you’re shrugging off frequent police visits as isolated incidents. Added police patrols and elevated law enforcement responses likely indicate a problem—or several—on your block. Police typically step up patrols to deter potential problems, and this is a bad sign if they’re doing it near you.
  • Broken windows staying broken: If graffiti or other petty crime goes unchecked, it could mean that property owners have given up on the neighborhood. In their classic study on crime prevention, Fixing Broken Windows, George Kelling and Catherine Coles argue that controlling disorderly behavior prevents neighborhood decline. Unchecked vandalism is a sure sign of neighborhood decay. If you begin to see broken windows or have heard of an increase in petty crime it’s most likely time to start banding together as a neighborhood and keep things in check.
  • Homes in disrepair: If homeowners regularly ignore decorating, basic maintenance, and/or upkeep of their homes—like planting spring flowers, painting or replacing deteriorating fixtures—it could be a sign that property owners either no longer care about the neighborhood or are looking to get out.
  • Drop in homeownership and a corresponding rise in rentals and foreclosures: Neighborhoods dominated by rental properties and foreclosures tend to be headed toward decline. Foreclosures take a significant social and economic toll on a community, while renters don’t always view their residences the same way that homeowners do. Too often foreclosed homes are sold to investors who transform the homes into multi-unit apartments or transitional housing, and this can be a sign that things are getting worse, not better.
  • Long-term vacancies: If properties remain vacant, go unsold, or remain boarded up, these homes can become havens for mischief and crime. Likewise, their value will decrease and depress the property values of every home on the block. More than one vacant property is bad news. The longer these homes remain vacant, the more deleterious the effect.

With a little effort and some organizing, neighbors can work together to keep their blocks and neighborhoods moving in the right direction. However, if these signs sound too familiar, it may be time to call it a day and move on to a new home. By ignoring these signs, you put yourself at risk for damage to your new home as well as the future sale price if you ever do move.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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