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Hit the Shuffle Button

Hit the Shuffle Button

shuffle

    Same Old, Same Old?

    Do you find yourself doing the same things day in and day out? To use a metaphor, are you listening the the same songs of life every day? If so, why not hit the shuffle button on your life and let a new tune rev up your day, your creativity, and your energy!

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    I like how the shuffle button queues up a song that I wouldn’t normally choose. It expands my thinking down new paths. Let these ideas do the same thing for you life. Here’s a random number generator you can use to choose which one of these things to try today.

    New “Tunes” to Play

    1. Say Yes. Say yes to something that will expand your horizons. Maybe it’s that wedding across the country. What will it be for you? Say yes! See what this could open you up to!

    2. Say No. Say no to the endless requests for your time. The unnecessary meetings, dinners, and more that you find yourself going to all the time. Bow out for a change and instead use that time to make a “date” with yourself. What have you been itching to do? Do it!

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    3. Be a Tourist. Pick a touristy thing to do in your own town or city that you’ve never done before. Bring a friend or go alone. Make a point to say hi and meet a few new people. Have fun.

    4. Take a Drive. Take an hour or more drive to a fun destination. Some ideas: museums, zoos, tours, nature parks, county fair, etc. The longer the drive the better. Make a point to enjoy the drive. If you bring a friend, enjoy the time for good conversation. If you go alone, enjoy some music or a podcast or even just quiet time to think. If you come up with some brilliant ideas along the way, you can always speed-dial Jott to record your ideas when you can’t write them down.

    5. Nighttime Lights Out Break. This is great to do if you have kids, but you can quite as easily do this on your own too. When it’s time for your kids to go to bed, lay with them in their bed until they fall asleep. There may be some chatting at first, but once things are quiet, use that dark quiet time to think about things. I use this time to think about what I really need to do next. After the kids are asleep, I go and get started on one of them or write down my plans for the next day. If you don’t have kids, set a time in the evening to go into your bedroom. Turn off the lights, lie down, and just take 10-15 minutes to think about whatever you want! Then turn on the lights and write down your ideas.

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    6. Get Some Arts! Choose something you don’t normally do. Some choices: museums, art gallery openings, musicals, plays, outdoor theater, etc. Check the arts section of your local paper. Make a date with yourself or a friend and go!

    7. Rock Out! It’s summer time! (At least up here in the Northern Hemisphere) There are plenty of concerts to go to. When was the last time you went? Remember how much fun it was? Now, pick one! Go! Enjoy!

    8. Go on an Adventure. What could you do that will make your heart race, get you excited? Some ideas: bungee jumping, hiking, playing paint-ball, waterslides, playing night time hide and seek, watch a scary movie. What do you suggest?

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    9. Do the Opposite. If you are normally very social, going out a lot, take some quiet time, all by yourself. No TV. Just you and your thoughts. If you are normally not a social butterfly, get yourself to a social event. Call that friend or co-worker of yours that is social and ask them to suggest where you should go. Then go and break out of your shell. Meet some new people. See what good things come of it! Even if this is hard for you, try it. When we do things that are difficult we grow.

    10. Creative Time. Begin or work on that creative project you’ve been daydreaming about. You could: build something, knit a sweater, make a collage, paint a painting, color with crayons, make a kite, bake a cake, write a book, start a blog, whatever. Remember that book you bought on crafts or building projects? Dig it out and start a project. Have fun!

    K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvement Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?, How to Stop Being “Busy” and Live Your Dream Life, How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less, A Game That Will Improve Any Relationship, and The Ultimate iPhone Decision Tool.

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    K. Stone

    The founder of Life Learning Today, a blog that's dedicated to life improvement tips.

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

    Reference

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