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5 Things Volunteering Does For You!

5 Things Volunteering Does For You!

After just getting back from packing 500 lunches for children during a Spring Break, where they would not otherwise have any food at all, I have a few thoughts to share with you. Now, this is by far not my first time to do this, but something is sparked in me each time. Something that I simply cannot contain. I am energized and enthusiastic that our community came together to feed children. You see, they normally get free breakfast and lunch during the school day, but what happens when school is out?! The answer, they may or may not eat. That’s where they need people like us. They need someone, anyone, to step up and help. You see, they are products of their situation, a situation they would not choose if they had a choice. I had the opportunity to help and I am so glad I did!

This situation is not an isolated one. There are opportunities everywhere! Parks that need to be cleaned up, food that needs to be served to those without homes, parents who could use a break and have a sitter they couldn’t afford, elderly people who need assistance with basic things such as mowing their yard. You see, if you will take the time to look, there are needs everywhere around you. What happens though, I have found out, is that it is you who walk away with a smile on your face. It will be you who will benefit the most from volunteering. It does not matter where you volunteer, or what you do…just get out there and do it.

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You may have no experience, little experience, or this may be something you do on a regular basis. I would just encourage you to do it! I have learned many things from volunteering, and so I decided to share my list with you. I want it to inspire you to get out there and volunteer. Find a need, put it on your calendar, and do not cancel. Treat this appointment as so important you simply cannot miss it; then, you will find out why!

Reasons to volunteer:

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1. Gets you out in the community

Getting out into the community is great! It helps you really feel a sense of belonging. It can also boost your pride in where you live. After all, we live in a great country with wonderful towns and cities everywhere!

2. Helps you make new connections/friends

Expand your circle! You can either just work nicely with others for a couple of hours, form a new acquaintance, or even expand your network – you choose! Getting to know others in your community helps you to stay “plugged in” to the things going on around you.

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3. Helps to remind you that EVERYONE has value

Giving to others makes them feel important, appreciated, and valued. We ALL want to feel valued. It does not matter what socioeconomic status you hold or they hold, everyone has an inner need to feel loved.

4. Helps to fight depression/self-centeredness

Volunteering helps you to focus on others. Getting your mind off of your situations and problems is one easy way to fight depression. We also tend to live in a very self-centered society; volunteering simply takes your mind off of yourself and put it on others who need you.

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5. Makes you put that phone down

In our techno-centered society, putting your devices down and rolling up your sleeves to work helps us all to REALLY connect with others.

Again, the need is out there – EVERYWHERE! You can donate one hour, one day, or one week.

Helping others really is good for you!

Featured photo credit: Fort George Meade Public Affairs Office via flickr.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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