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Productivity & Organizing Myth #2 – Can’t stop influx

Productivity & Organizing Myth #2 – Can’t stop influx
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    As a new guest author to lifehack.org and an experienced productivity consultant I would like to start by naming and dispelling common productivity and organizing myths. This series will be posted each week until we cover the top 10.

    Myth: I cannot stop the email, paper mail, and physical things from coming at me

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    Reality: You can stop much of the paper mail, email, and ‘stuff’ (items, articles, things) from coming at you and encroaching on your life.

    There are preventive actions that you can take to reduce the influx of stuff being delivered to you. These are proactive steps that you must take and will feel so worthwhile when complete! Let’s look at a few representative cases that are meant to trigger some of your own efforts. Please do leave a comment with your own specific questions… I can help solve them!

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    Case 1 – Email. Regarding email that piles up in your inbox and you have no interest in reading, stop it from being sent to you. Send a request to the creator of the email saying simply, “Please take me off the mailing list for _________. I am making an email reduction effort and removal from the distribution list would help me. If I find I need that report in the future, I know you’re the one to contact. Thank you for your help on this.”

    Case 2 – Paper mail. Stop all subscriptions to periodicals & catalogs. Yes, this is dramatic but you really aren’t reading most of them anyway. Simply call the customer service number listed in the front pages of magazines and throughout the catalogs and cancel your subscription. Be sure to say, “Please cancel my subscription and send the refund to me at the address you have. Also, please delete or mark my record so that no future mailings of any sort are sent to me.” With that done, sit back and imagine the vast relief you’ll have without a backlog of periodicals piled high reminding you of your lack of time.

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    Case 3 – Stuff. It’s a month after Christmas and Jane has 6 boxes of fancy tea bags that people gave her during the holidays. They’re cluttering her cube yet she doesn’t want to offend those who gave them to her. She doesn’t even like that type of tea. (You can substitute sweater or pens for tea). Jean can give the tea away to people in a distant part of the building. Or, Jean could take them home (and throw them out). Or, she could have headed this off before the holidays by promoting event only gifts. She could have made it widely known that she prefers time with people over things as gifts. By chatting about giving others the gift of time in the form of lunch gift-certificates she could make it pretty clear that such a gift would be her ideal to receive as well as to give.

    You might need to be a little creative and you must be diligent then you can curtail the clutter that threatens to overwhelm – and stop the stuff!

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    Previous Myth: Productivity & Organizing Myth #1 – Born Organized

    Susan Sabo – a traveler who has been to 47 countries. Her organized life has allowed her to go overseas for months at a time. She writes the Productivitycafe.com blog, presents to groups and consults one-on-one with individuals.

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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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