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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.

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

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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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