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Lifehack Readers’ Last-Minute Gift Suggestions

Lifehack Readers’ Last-Minute Gift Suggestions
Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Last week I asked for your best last-miute Christmas gift suggestion and once again you came through. Usually I give my response to the question first, but I’ve already done that with my Lifehack Last-Minute Gift List for Productive (and Potentially Productive) People last Wednesday.

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There’s not a lot of time left for Christmas shopping, but there’s plenty here for someone still shopping, even today! Here’s some of the responses from last week thata might still be doable:

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  • Email Gift Cards: I’d never heard of these — it’s a gift card code sent by email to your recipient. Amazon does this, and I’m sure plenty of other retailers do as well. (via Bob)
  • Oxfam Unwrapped: You fund charitable gifts in your recipients’ name. It’s too late to have a card sent to your recipient, but you can still give and have an Oxfam Unwrapped e-card sent. (via Ingrid)
  • Fund a Heifer.org Project: Same idea as Oxfam — you fund a project in your recipient’s name. (via Neha)
  • Photo Collages: Attractive picture frames stuffed with collages of photos, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia recapturing the last year with your friends and loved ones. (via Lloyd)
  • Custom Hampers/Baskets: A nice basket filled with your recipient’s favorite foods, wine, and other consumables. Could be candles, bath goods, or something else, too. (also via Lloyd)
  • A Life Experience: Like a gift card with a twist, how about a trip on a hot air balloon, a lesson at a race track, or if you’re feeling especially generous, a ride on the space shuttle, a Virgin Space reservation, or just a walk on the beach (in the Spring). (via Veteran Military Wife)
  • A Huge Block of Quality Cheese: Not grocery store stuff — how about a block of cave-aged gruyere, or even grass-fed cheddar. (via timgray)
  • Gift Subscription: Go to the bookstore, pick out a magazine they’d like, drop the gift subscription card in the mail, and wrap the magazine. Piece of cake! (via Lauea)

Most of this you can still manage if you get rocking right now. And none of these ideas are Christmas-only – keep them in mind for the next difficult birthday, anniversary, or other occasion.

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Good giving!

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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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