“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Go, go, go. Whatever you’re doing, you’re probably already behind. There’s so much to do in life, so much to accomplish. We have to climb the corporate ladder, make our relationships work, build families, see friends, fulfill obligations, and still function as a human being.
With modern demands, life is exhausting. It seems like when one area of your life gets squared away, the other shoe drops on the see-saw, and we’re thrown back out of balance.Advertising
So how do you take Bueller’s infamous advice and slow down enough to smell the proverbial roses? Try these 10 techniques.
1. Take responsibility.
Despite our laundry list of have-to’s, there’s actually nothing we have to do, only things we choose to do. So take responsibility and recognize that you’re choosing to job to work, see your friends or finish this project. Maybe the consequences of skipping out are less appealing than just getting it done, but recognize that the speed of your life is your choice.
2. Power down and unplug.
Anyone who’s ever responded to e-mails while watching a movie or checked Facebook while in bed with a significant other knows that technology is the fastest way to pull yourself out of the present moment. Set aside a mandatory power-down time. Maybe it’s after 8pm or for a few hours on Sunday. Whatever you choose, take some time to remember what it’s like to be in the moment without technology pulling you back to fast-paced cyber addiction.Advertising
3. Refuel your energy.
When you’re on the go all the time, you’re bound to get burnt out. So take some time to refuel your tank with some restorative exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong are all wonderful, gentle ways to recharge those batteries. But even a 20-minute jog or bike ride will boost your energy just enough to get you through the day. Find an exercise that takes you out of the fast lane and brings you back in balance.
4. Spend some time alone.
Amidst the constant chatter of distractions and stress, you can hardly hear yourself think. Schedule in a few hours a day to be alone. Maybe some meditation or journal writing. Maybe a night in with take-out and cheesy movies. Whatever your luxury, choose something that will help you reconnect with yourself and reset your priorities.
5. Get more selective.
Let’s face it: we’re overcommitters. All of us. Instead of saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way, take a moment to imagine yourself coming home for a long, tiring day of work. If this is still something you want to do, then sign up. But, if not, learn how to say no. Part of the reason our lives move so fast is that we try to pack a week’s worth of activities into a single day. Saying “no” is the fastest way to slow it back down.Advertising
6. Catch some Z’s.
People who slow down tend to be more productive and accomplished–because they’re able to be fully present when they take on a task. Give yourself the eight hours of sleep you need a night to make sure your in prime productivity mode during your waking hours. If you spend a few extra hours in bed, time will seem to double during waking hours because you can get so much more done.
7. Be grateful.
Start a gratitude journal and write down everything you’re grateful for. It will force you to immediately slow down, reflect and shift from focusing on what’s wrong to focusing on what’s right. Finding balance isn’t about changing the chaos; it’s about finding balance in the chaos.
8. Catch your breath.
Breathing deeply activates the parasympathetic nervous system and switches you from the fight-or-flight panic into the rest-and-digest relaxation. Any time you want to slow down, take a few slow, deep breaths. It will calm your body down and bring you back to the present moment.Advertising
9. Make time for fun.
If you want to slow down, stop trying so hard to move forward. Life isn’t meant to be a road race. Try doing things that don’t necessary move you forward, but make you have a little more fun. Play hooky and go to the movies, play a round of golf, laugh with old friends, watch silly movies. Remind yourself that it’s not about who finishes first; it’s about how much fun you had along the way.
10. Be in the moment.
Be 100% present. Listen intently when anyone is speaking. Forget about the obligations you have in 20 minutes or all of the tasks on your to-do list. Just focus yourself completely in the present moment. Life isn’t about finding balance throughout; it’s about slowing down enough to find balance in individual moments. So take life one moment at a time. 100% present.
Featured photo credit: Wichid via flickr.com
Last Updated on November 5, 2020
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. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and 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. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?
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, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:
1. Work on Small Tasks
When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that 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 positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.
If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.
You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.
2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk
When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break.
Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.
3. Upgrade Yourself
Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning 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. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.
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. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.
If you allow your perfectionism to fade, 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.
Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.
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 ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?
Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.
7. Read a Book (or Blog)
The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.
Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.
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.
One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”.
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 your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.
10. Find Some Competition
When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s 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, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.
11. Go Exercise
Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.
As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.
If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:
12. Take a Few Vacation Days
If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.
Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. 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.
More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut
- How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire
- How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com
|||^||Inc: For the Most Productive Workday, Science Says Make Sure to Do This|
|||^||The Washington Post: The Trappist monk whose calligraphy inspired Steve Jobs — and influenced Apple’s designs|
|||^||Virginia Law Weekly: Nap Your Way to Success|
|||^||Harvard Health Publishing: The benefits of napping|