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5 Unconventional Ways To Live Life More Freely

5 Unconventional Ways To Live Life More Freely

Does the concept of doing the same thing, in the same cubicle, next to the same people for X amount of years until you retire or get fired terrify you? Then perhaps you should consider the five unconventional options below!

1. Start Your Own Business

Even while keeping the realities of starting your own business in mind, it’s hard to deny that it does allow you some extra freedom compared to a traditional career trajectory. There’s freedom to work with something you don’t have the experience to get a job doing. And the freedom to fail miserably again and again, without worrying about getting fired. You only have to worry about failing some more until you find what works. Then there’s the freedom to stop doing meaningless things that just don’t have any real purpose.

And while you might still be working the same horrible hours (or worse), at least it’s your own choice now, dammit!

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2. Volunteer on Your Own Terms

Instead of being forced into an internship, volunteer on your own terms. Choose a country you’ve always wanted to visit, or a cause you’ve always wanted to contribute to, and dedicate your time, and yourself, to helping others. For a few months, a year, or forever.

WWOOFing is getting more and more common, and is probably the easiest way to choose a location you’re specifically interested in visiting and still having the free time to explore and enjoy it. If you’re more interested in making a difference to a certain place or for a certain group of people, feel free to pursue other avenues. Some options are very much ill suited for the person who just wants some free travel. And if you end up going with that mentality, you’re likely to make a lot of enemies and probably enjoy yourself a lot less than you thought you would.

3. Take Odd Jobs and Live as a Nomad

Some people spit in the face of the ideas of “being responsible,” “settling down,” and “job security.” They choose travel first, and take temporary odd jobs to finance their travels. If they’re down to their last few dollars (or cents depending on the country) they might stay for a while, but only long enough to finance the next part of their endless journey.

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You can become one of these modern day nomads quite easily, but what follows is in all likelihood not going to be easy. On the other hand, trying to debate whether or not this is a real option for you from the outside looking in is probably not going to yield any real answer, so going for it might be the best decision if you’re tempted.

4. Choose an Unconventional Career

I remember thinking to myself when I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer. Not because of any need for fame, or that I felt like I was some sort of unprecedented literary genius (okay maybe a little bit of the latter), but the idea of being able to work from anywhere in the world appealed to me. A lot. And it still does.

In this day and age, while going into journalism or writing might seem like a bad decision (although it doesn’t have to be), there are plenty of new options for people who want more control over their daily lives. Freelance designers, developers, programmers, consultants, cinematographers — the list goes on.

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And then you have people who make a living doing exactly what they want to do. People who build an audience on YouTube, for example, can make money doing virtually anything, as long as they capture it on video or whatever format they use. If you can entertain people, there have never been more ways for you to make money from that ability. So go out there and make a name for yourself if you can.

5. Telecommute

If you’re not interested in going out on your own, volunteering, living as a modern nomad or suffering the stress that often comes with freelancing, telecommuting just might be your best choice.

Even standard office jobs are starting to become available for telecommuting these days. While this way you’re most likely still forced to go through the standard procedure of getting a job, and you will most likely have to deal with management too, once you have a telecommute job, you will have increased flexibility throughout your workday, and will save the time you would usually spend on commuting. And of course, you can move far, far, away if you feel like it. Telecommuting can be a way to make ends meet by moving out of an expensive city center, without having to endure a long and torturous daily commute.

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The downside is that you can only rely on your own willpower and focus to get things done. You don’t have any of the social pressures, or any of the watch-dog managers to force your butt into action. To make sure that you don’t stray too far off course, it’s good to maintain a workday routine, even at home, and avoid fitting in a “short” Netflix break here and there, tempting though it may be.

If any of the options appeal to you, but you feel like it’s too difficult, you can always start with baby steps. In fact, it just might be the very best way to tackle it, as gradually building momentum is a lot more motivating than always trying your best every day and never getting anywhere (because these things take time).

Ultimately, freedom is subjective, and if your vision of personal freedom aligns with a “normal job” or “normal life,” great. I’m not here to tell you that’s a bad idea for you. How could I possibly know that? I’m only pointing out ways you can add some freedom for change and movement on the work side of things, if that’s a priority for you.

Featured photo credit: Nagesh Jayaraman via flickr.com

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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

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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