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5 Ways to Brighten A Cloudy Day

5 Ways to Brighten A Cloudy Day

    When I was a small child, I’d curl up on my parents’ bed after the sunshine had warmed their dark brown comforter. It was an oasis of peace and safety that I struggled to find in later years. I’d made the mistake of thinking that being an adult meant no longer delighting in “silly” things like a sun-warmed blanket. I was entirely wrong.

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    Each day includes moments that can be deeply enjoyed or carelessly tossed aside. As I learned to identify and enjoy those moments amid the hubbub of regular life, I found more smiles and sunshine than I’d ever thought possible. Try one of the following for best results!

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    1. Take 15 – Shut your phone off, close the blinds, rest your eyes and listen to some music. If you like action more than mediation, so be it! Use your 15 minutes in a way that will leave you feeling most revitalized. That’s where the sunshine comes from.
    2. Go for a stroll – The kind of meandering walk that is more about discovering the path than reaching a destination. If I don’t have a camera or pad handy, I like to make a mental list of a few things I discover on every stroll I take. A design element I particularly appreciate, a rabbit hopping down an alley, or a woman singing on her porch; all contribute my perspective and appreciation of the world around me.
    3. Do something nice for a complete stranger – Buy a coffee, pay a toll, give a smile and a “thank you” when none is required. Giving when neither is required will open you up to a world of kindness. It also feels very, very good.
    4. Laugh from your stomach – You know the kind of laugh that shakes your entire body and ends in a half-moan because you’re not sure if you can stop laughing? That kind of laugh. A moment spent in full enjoyment of humor is a great way to release tension and refuel your smile.
    5. Try something not included in your normal diet – Most of us eat from a very short list of foods. Eating something entirely different will do more than expand your palate. It will help keep your sense of adventure alive!

    Sometimes I still like to enjoy a bright patch of sun-soaked carpet just like I did that blanket as child. But lets not talk too loudly about that. =)

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    Image: Claudio.Ar
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    More by this author

    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 10, 2019

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

    By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

    Effective Prioritization

    There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

    Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

    The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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    Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

    Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

    If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

    Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

    My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

    I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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    Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

    But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

    The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

    I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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    That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

    You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

    My point is:

    The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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    What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

    And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

    If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

    More About Prioritization & Time Management

    Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

    Reference

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