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Quicker Reboots – For Your Life

Quicker Reboots – For Your Life

Adam mentioned wanting a quicker reboot for his life. I gave this some thought, and here’s what I have for a premise: not unlike computers, the thing that slows down most reboots is sorting through everything. Where were things left when I shut down? What’s got to be done by which thingy when? That kind of stuff. Here are some potential hacks for quicker reboots:

  • Manage Threads Better- If you know and can easily reference who you owe WHAT in terms of time, deliverables, cash, and otherwise, it helps you reboot your life faster. For instance, if I wanted to “drop everything” right now, I’d have to stop working on my (soon to be too late) Father’s Day project, stop working on a picture refinishing project, kill my household tasks, stop writing for 5 or 6 blogs, etc, etc. Hack: Keep a running “thread” list, simply stating Item / Owner / Due by / Status. Make this list religious. Make it the PID table for your life. If it’s not on your threads, it doesn’t exist. Thus, if you have to reboot, you can send a “status” call to the folks who own the threads and try to “exit gracefully.”
  • Manage Power Better– You need energy and clarity of mind to keep your “human stack” running. That means good food, good rest cycles, proper circulation (exercise). If you don’t manage your meat-space, you start losing cycles to do as much work. A reboot will help clear this, but before you even have to come to that, having better processes to handle your power levels will stretch out the duration between reboots. Hack: start and build enduring, strong habits around eating on schedule (every 2-3 hours), exercising regularly (new guidelines: 60 minutes a day), and sleeping enough (officially 8 hours, but I’m guilty of far fewer hours). It will keep you head working better. If you don’t have enough time to do all that, look for threads to kill or defer. You can’t forever overclock or your system will just shut down on its own.
  • Improve Monitoring – Windows XP is far more explicit about problems than Windows 95 ever was. Linux and Mac users have fairly good instrumentation, should they choose to observe it. Without your threads document, you lack a process table (how busy you are). Without some kind of graphing (process monitor), you can’t be sure your history and running averages. You rely instead on anecdotal health checks and pings to determine if you’re too busy, too tired, too overworked. Hack: make simple graphs to track your progress (try Joe’s Goals, which we wrote about a week ago). Try to collect some sense of what you’ve been up to, so that you can predict or forecast how much more you can or can’t take on at any given time.
  • Defrag – Similar to my post on moving back into your house, reboots can be more and more difficult if we leave our “bits” all over the place. How organized are you? How cluttered is your workspace? (I know Adam’s answer, which will be another post). Besides my basic starting point of “reducing clutter and not bringing new clutter into your life is best,” it’s also important to manage where everything is kept. I don’t believe that whole “super creative people are messy by nature” thing (though a snapshot of my house right now might disagree). Instead, I believe that we often lack the proper supplies to collect and organize things better. Well, IKEA sells stuff cheaply. So do several other department stores. These things permit organization on gross levels for the first pass, and then you can work to reduce some of the “mess” in your life. Hack: set up monthly “can’t avoid” times to reset your house, your work space(s), your bags and backpacks – everything that holds parts of YOU.
  • Add Resources– Covey’s 7 Habits puts forth that it’s all well and good that you are independently capable and useful, but the real prize is in being able to use off-board resources (other people) via interdependence. Building up ways and systems to share the wealth of things in your life in such a way that you’re not 100% overseeing the work you’ve passed forward gives you a few extra cycles. In essence, it’s like adding extra CPUs or a video card. You’re spreading the load by sharing out work. (Leon’s spread the load of Lifehack.org posting by giving me a logon here). Hack: learn how to build processes and projects in such a way that you can “farm them out” or share them with others. This means that even if you have to reboot, those processes that aren’t 100% yours might stay up and keep running while you reboot.

So are these hacks or tips? Are they workarounds to existing processes or optimizations? I don’t quibble with the terminology. I just want them to be useful to you. Does any of that ring true to you? Can you see how the extended analogy of examining at least the “functional” parts of our life as if they were computer bits might give us new perspective on getting things done? Your thoughts, feedback, add-ons to the premise, would all be greatly appreciated.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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