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Hit the Shuffle Button

Hit the Shuffle Button

shuffle

    Same Old, Same Old?

    Do you find yourself doing the same things day in and day out? To use a metaphor, are you listening the the same songs of life every day? If so, why not hit the shuffle button on your life and let a new tune rev up your day, your creativity, and your energy!

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    I like how the shuffle button queues up a song that I wouldn’t normally choose. It expands my thinking down new paths. Let these ideas do the same thing for you life. Here’s a random number generator you can use to choose which one of these things to try today.

    New “Tunes” to Play

    1. Say Yes. Say yes to something that will expand your horizons. Maybe it’s that wedding across the country. What will it be for you? Say yes! See what this could open you up to!

    2. Say No. Say no to the endless requests for your time. The unnecessary meetings, dinners, and more that you find yourself going to all the time. Bow out for a change and instead use that time to make a “date” with yourself. What have you been itching to do? Do it!

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    3. Be a Tourist. Pick a touristy thing to do in your own town or city that you’ve never done before. Bring a friend or go alone. Make a point to say hi and meet a few new people. Have fun.

    4. Take a Drive. Take an hour or more drive to a fun destination. Some ideas: museums, zoos, tours, nature parks, county fair, etc. The longer the drive the better. Make a point to enjoy the drive. If you bring a friend, enjoy the time for good conversation. If you go alone, enjoy some music or a podcast or even just quiet time to think. If you come up with some brilliant ideas along the way, you can always speed-dial Jott to record your ideas when you can’t write them down.

    5. Nighttime Lights Out Break. This is great to do if you have kids, but you can quite as easily do this on your own too. When it’s time for your kids to go to bed, lay with them in their bed until they fall asleep. There may be some chatting at first, but once things are quiet, use that dark quiet time to think about things. I use this time to think about what I really need to do next. After the kids are asleep, I go and get started on one of them or write down my plans for the next day. If you don’t have kids, set a time in the evening to go into your bedroom. Turn off the lights, lie down, and just take 10-15 minutes to think about whatever you want! Then turn on the lights and write down your ideas.

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    6. Get Some Arts! Choose something you don’t normally do. Some choices: museums, art gallery openings, musicals, plays, outdoor theater, etc. Check the arts section of your local paper. Make a date with yourself or a friend and go!

    7. Rock Out! It’s summer time! (At least up here in the Northern Hemisphere) There are plenty of concerts to go to. When was the last time you went? Remember how much fun it was? Now, pick one! Go! Enjoy!

    8. Go on an Adventure. What could you do that will make your heart race, get you excited? Some ideas: bungee jumping, hiking, playing paint-ball, waterslides, playing night time hide and seek, watch a scary movie. What do you suggest?

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    9. Do the Opposite. If you are normally very social, going out a lot, take some quiet time, all by yourself. No TV. Just you and your thoughts. If you are normally not a social butterfly, get yourself to a social event. Call that friend or co-worker of yours that is social and ask them to suggest where you should go. Then go and break out of your shell. Meet some new people. See what good things come of it! Even if this is hard for you, try it. When we do things that are difficult we grow.

    10. Creative Time. Begin or work on that creative project you’ve been daydreaming about. You could: build something, knit a sweater, make a collage, paint a painting, color with crayons, make a kite, bake a cake, write a book, start a blog, whatever. Remember that book you bought on crafts or building projects? Dig it out and start a project. Have fun!

    K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvement Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?, How to Stop Being “Busy” and Live Your Dream Life, How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less, A Game That Will Improve Any Relationship, and The Ultimate iPhone Decision Tool.

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    K. Stone

    The founder of Life Learning Today, a blog that's dedicated to life improvement tips.

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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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