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12 Useful Ways To Get Out Of Ruts

12 Useful Ways To Get Out Of Ruts

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.

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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:

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  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.

Are there any useful methods which help you get out of your ruts? Do share with everyone in the comments area below. :)

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More by this author

Celestine Chua

Life Coach, Blogger

42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 11 Practical Ways To Stop Procrastination

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

Are you one of those people who are always suffering setbacks? Does little ever seem to go right for you? Do you sometimes feel that the universe is out to get you? Do you wonder:

Why do I have bad luck? Is bad luck real?

Let me let you into a secret:

Your luck is no worse—and no better—than anyone else’s. It just feels that way. Better still, there are two simple things you can do which will reverse your feelings of being unlucky and change your luck.

1. Stop believing that what happens in your life is down to the vagaries of luck, destiny, supernatural forces, malevolent other people, or anything else outside yourself.

Psychologists call this “external locus of control.” It’s a kind of fatalism, where people believe that they can do little or nothing personally to change their lives.

Because of this, they either merely hope for the best, focus on trying to change their luck by various kinds of superstition, or submit passively to whatever comes—while complaining that it doesn’t match their hopes.

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Most successful people take the opposite view. They have “internal locus of control.” They believe that what happens in their life is nearly all down to them; and that even when chance events occur, what is important is not the event itself, but how you respond to it.

This makes them pro-active, engaged, ready to try new things, and keen to find the means to change whatever in their lives they don’t like.

They aren’t fatalistic and they don’t blame bad luck for what isn’t right in their world. They look for a way to make things better.

Are they luckier than the others? Of course not.

Luck is random—that’s what chance means—so they are just as likely to suffer setbacks as anyone else.

What’s different is their response. When things go wrong, they quickly look for ways to put them right. They don’t whine, pity themselves, or complain about “bad luck.” They try to learn from what happened to avoid or correct it next time and get on with living their life as best they can. They have this Motivation Engine, which most people lack, to keep them going.

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No one is habitually luckier or unluckier than anyone else. It may seem so, over the short term (Random events often come in groups, just as random numbers often lie close together for several instances—which is why gamblers tend to see patterns where none exist).

When you take a longer perspective, random chance is just . . . random. Yet those who feel that they are less lucky, typically pay far more attention to short-term instances of bad luck, convincing themselves of the correctness of their belief.

Your locus of control isn’t genetic. You learned it somehow. If it isn’t working for you, change it.

2. Remember that whatever you pay attention to grows in your mind.

If you focus on what’s going wrong in your life—especially if you see it as “bad luck” you can do nothing about—it will seem blacker and more malevolent.

In a short time, you’ll become so convinced that everything is against you that you’ll notice more and more instances where this appears to be true. As a result, you will drown yourself in negative energy and almost certainly stop trying, convinced that nothing you can do will improve your prospects.

Fatalism feeds on itself until people become passive “victims” of life’s blows. The “losers” in life are those who are convinced they will fail before they start anything; sure that their “bad luck” will ruin any prospects of success.

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They rarely notice that the true reasons for their failure are ignorance, laziness, lack of skill, lack of forethought, or just plain foolishness—all of which they could do something to correct, if only they would stop blaming other people or “bad luck” for their personal deficiencies.

Your attention is under your control. Send it where you want it to go. Starve the negative thoughts until they die.

To improve your fortune and have “good luck”, first decide that what happens is nearly always down to you; then try focusing on what works and what turns out well, not the bad stuff.

Your “fate” really does depend on the choices that you make. When random events happen, as they always will, do you choose to try to turn them to your advantage or just complain about them?

If you think you’re “suffering from bad luck”, you can really change things up and start life over. It may even be a lot easier than you thought:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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Thomas Jefferson is said to have used these words:

“I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

Your luck, in the end, is pretty much what you choose it to be.

Featured photo credit: LoboStudio Hamburg via unsplash.com

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