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5 Steps to Fixing It When Life Throws You a Curveball

5 Steps to Fixing It When Life Throws You a Curveball


    You’re cruising along at work, or home hanging out. You’re having a perfectly fine day, when — whammo — something comes out of nowhere and seriously messes it up.

    I’m not talking devastating, earth-shattering events, I mean those zingers that ruin your mood and your groove.

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    The hot water heater breaks, or your puppy makes the new rug its personal commode. Your blog goes down just as your latest post goes viral on Twitter. Your boss tells you she needs that report before you go home, as you were packing up for the weekend.

    Any of this sound familiar?

    You work hard and live right, but sometimes life throws you an annoying or time-consuming curveball, despite your best efforts. It happens to everyone.

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    But it makes you mad, or anxious, and it doesn’t feel fair.

    And you’re right – it’s not. But it’s life. So before you throw up your hands and call the day a loss, here’s how to take care of it and move on with grace:

    1. Acknowledge that whatever happened is no fun. Say it out loud, with feeling: “This SUCKS.” Better yet: “This sucks.”  Feel free to flail your arms or jump up and down for emphasis. (If you’re at work, make sure you do this in private!) Here are other ways you can let out your frustration.
    2. Take a few deep breaths. Feel your blood pressure dropping. Take a few more. (Or try these de-stressors.)
    3. Ask yourself: Will this thing kill you or anyone you love? Will it bankrupt you? No? Then you’re fine. Annoyed maybe, but fine.
    4. Think about the big picture. Will this glitch matter in the long run? Probably not. It might slow you down a bit, but it’s probably not causing irreparable damage.
    5. What can you do right now to fix the problem? Do it now. (Call the plumber, run to the store for rug cleaner, contact your blog host, make a cup of coffee and finish the report.)

    Now you’ve taken care of the immediate problem, but you’re still stewing. Here are a few more tips to set yourself straight:

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    • Sit down with a notebook and write out the good things that happened in the last week or so. You’ll see that this curveball is just a blip.
    • Take care of something else that needs doing. It can be small, but something so you feel like the day wasn’t a total waste.
    • Get your mind off it. Work out, call a friend, read a magazine. Obsessing doesn’t do any good, and every time you catch yourself, redirect your mind. Think how you’ll laugh about it later. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
    • When it comes down to it, you just have to let it go. Take a walk or a bath, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, get a good night’s sleep, and start fresh tomorrow. That’s the beauty of life: you get a do-over, every single day.

    The truth is, the more you deal with these kinds of issues the better off you are. Not that I want anything less than unicorns and rainbows for you, but there’s power in experience.

    After you handle a few of these with efficiency and aplomb, they won’t upset you so much when they come up next time. You’ll zip right through and move on to the rest of your day. Congratulations! You’ve become a person who gets stuff done, no matter what.

    How do you deal when life throws you a curveball? Let us know in the comments!

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    Hit the share button if you found something useful!

    (Photo credit: Baseball in the Infield via Shutterstock)

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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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