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Politics: 7 Ways to Get Involved Now

Politics: 7 Ways to Get Involved Now

    If you have, by some miracle, managed to avoid all manner of news lately, you might be surprised to know that there’s a U.S. presidential election in less than a month. Even if you are aware of it, you may be reluctant to get involved or just not sure where to start. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that you vote for one candidate over the other, but I would like to make a few suggestions for getting in on some of that political action.

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    1. Start with your own paperwork

    I’m always surprised to find out how many people aren’t registered to vote. Even if you’ve gotten the necessary paperwork in to your county board of elections, you will probably need to confirm that the paperwork went through if you really want to vote on November 4. On top of that, you’ll want to know where your polling place is and the local hours. The easiest way to find out all of this information is to get on to your county board of elections’ website: what information isn’t prominently displayed on the website is available through the phone number also displayed online.

    2. Get involved in the process

    I know plenty of people who have volunteered for one campaign or the other, but there is one organization that really needs involvement in order to make sure that elections go off without a hitch: the county board of elections. Specifically, it seems like almost every county still needs election judges for the upcoming vote. Qualifications are simple — in most states, polling places are required to be run by an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. You have to be already registered to vote, but beyond that there are very few requirements. Some states will even pay you.

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    In the same vein, there are a number of non-partisan groups that observe the election to insure that there is no hanky-panky with any of the ballot boxes. The League of Women Voters is one of the best known groups, although there are quite a few. Many of these groups are particularly looking for volunteers with technical knowledge to visit polling places with electronic voting machines.

    3. Look at the local

    Despite the fact that there’s minimal turnout for local elections, I firmly believe that pulling the lever for my local school board is more important than voting for president. In the grand scheme of things, it’s easier to find someone willing and able to address your issue at the local level than higher up the political food chain. But to be able to make the local political structure work for you, you have to first vote for local politicians who share your concerns about issues. Most states have local amendments and elections on the ballot this fall: take the time to read up on them and consider getting involved at the local level.

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    4. Support your candidate with more than a vote

    Most campaigns — whether for candidates or causes — are run on a shoe string budget. The fundraising done by the two major party candidates is certainly not the norm. And while I’m confidant that those candidates wouldn’t mind either my cash or my time, I’ve thought long and hard about where my contributions will wind up. Sure I’m supporting one candidate for president in particular, but I’m also devoting a little time and money to some candidates in the state government out my way.

    5. Consider running yourself

    The filing deadline for the 2008 election has passed in most areas, but I think that running for even a small, local position comes with some rewards. I have my eye on a couple of jobs myself and while I’m not ready to run this year, I’m seriously considering it as a future opportunity. After all, it’s easier to get things done if you’re already a part of the system.

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    To become part of the system, you don’t necessarily need to take office, though. You can also become active in the local leadership of your political party. For some of us who are a little less inclined to the spotlight, such an approach might be preferable: you can still be involved in setting policy, but you’re less likely to find a camera crew at your front door.

    6. Provide others with the chance to get involved

    Something as simple as rounding a couple of friends and taking them to the polling place with you can have a phenomenal affect on the election. There’s a reason that both major political parties consider their ‘get out the vote’ efforts absolutely critical. If you really believe a particular cause, though, go beyond getting involved yourself and help others with similar concerns get involved. That can translate into getting signatures on a petition, recruiting people to help you with a cause and more. No matter what, though, remember that we’re living in a democracy. You can’t get much of anything done politically here if you don’t have the support of at least a few people.

    7. Start now

    Sure, the next election is less than a month away. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get involved now. These are the days when campaign volunteers get a little scarce, as those who have been with the campaign for months at this point get tired. There are also more than a few campaigns that need only a few thousand votes to tip them into victory. Now is the time to get involved. Don’t wait for next year, or worse, the next presidential election.

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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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