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3 Things to Give Up for Lent That Could Improve Your Productivity

3 Things to Give Up for Lent That Could Improve Your Productivity

    This week saw the beginning of Lent, which is described as follows:

    “Lent is the Christian observance of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.”

    Traditionally, during the time of Lent those who observe it either do something consistently or give up something that they know is detrimental to them – or is a habit they;d like to eliminate. Common things include smoking, drinking or eating junk food.

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    But we;re in the 21st century now, and perhaps it’s time we look at a few of the things that in today’s day and age you could give up for Lent that would make an impact.

    1. Social Media

    This is a biggie.

    What if you quit tweeting during Lent? Imagine steering clear of Facebook for that long of a spell? Maybe you should stop checking in on Foursquare instead?

    These may seem like tall orders, but not too long ago these things didnt even exist. Think about how much you’d get done – and be able to do – if you only paid attention to social media when it was absolutely required, like at your place of work.

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    One thing you could look at doing is only tweeting the writing you do on your website during Lent. After all, there are plugins or services that will do that for you.

    Giving up social media for Lent seems huge, but think of the value you’ll get by engaging people by other means for a substantial time period rather than via status updates and retweets. It’s worth exploring.

    2. Mobile Gadgets

    We all love our gadgets. Whether it starts with an “i” or not, they keep us connected to a world that’d be tougher to reach without them.

    Why not take this time of year to set them aside and keep things on your laptop or desktop computer and not take them with you everywhere you go? If that’s not possible, restrict yourself to only the necessary times and applications on the mobile devices you own.

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    Not using these devices during Lent may seem difficult – if not impossible – but that’s all the more reason to make an effort to do so, isn’t it?

    3. Email

    Wouldn’t it be great to not have to deal with email during this time of year? Think about the freedom you’d have of not wondering when the next one was going to arrive.

    Again, quitting email for Lent may not be a luxury you can afford if your job relies on it as a means of communication. But what if you gave up personal email? Adjusted the times when you’ll check it?

    There are tools out there (AwayFind, for example) that can help you do this, and even Gmail has an autoresponder that may be usually reserved for vacation time. If you look at this as a “vacation from email”, then using the autoresponder built into Gmail is an easy thing to do.

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    And you wouldn’t concern yourself with getting to Inbox Zero every day, either.

    Conclusion

    These are just three of the modern conveniences (or tetherings) we have that you could give up if you observe Lent. In fact, they may be tougher to stay away from than the old stand-by vices I mentioned off the top.

    If you’re observing Lent, what are you giving up (or focusing on doing) and why? Let us know in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Conceptual Image of Faith via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

    Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 4 Simple Steps to Brain Dump for a Smarter Brain Why Is Productivity Important? 10 Reasons to Become More Productive How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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