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Public Service Announcement: Your Phone DOES Shut Off (And So Do These Other Things)

Public Service Announcement: Your Phone DOES Shut Off (And So Do These Other Things)


    Due to the widespread confusion and misinformation on the following subjects, please take a few moments of your time to alert yourself to the following:

    It’s Okay to Unplug…

    Your phone. The impulse that you must answer anything that rings dates back to olden times when people had to answer the phone as there was no other way of knowing who was calling or whether it was an emergency. The advent of technology such as caller ID, voice mail, and text messaging has freed us from this urgency. We are now able to tell who is calling us, decide whether we are free to pick up, and the caller has the option of leaving a message which we can then use to determine the action we need to take.

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    You are hereby officially allowed to turn off your ringer or your phone altogether for important occasions like: family dinners, driving a car, sleeping, and having anything else you need to concentrate on. Please note that this permission extends to both work and personal phones.

    The TV. The average American watches 5-6 hours of television a night. The percentage of quality entertainment on the 50,000+ stations currently in existence is approximately 7%.

    In contrast, human beings have the capacity to perform up to 100 billion different tasks at any given time, from playing with their children to starting their own business to lying in a hammock under a tree and watching what shapes the clouds take. The average human being utilizes around 0.000001% of these abilities on a daily basis.

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    None of these statistics are scientific, but they’re probably pretty darn close. Turn off the TV.

    Twitter/Facebook. You will never be able to catch every single remark your friends/random celebrities have made. You will never manage to see every picture someone posts of the dinner they’re having which I’m sure is magical in person but just looks like a glob on a plate when viewed on a computer screen. Your friends will not hate you because you missed their witty 140-character review of Ice Road Truckers—and if they do, you hereby have permission to find new friends.

    On the rare occasions when social media is used to impart truly significant information like the birth of a child or the arrival of a hurricane, be assured that you will eventually hear the news by some other means even if you miss the tweet/post about it. Your sister will undoubtedly mention the arrival of your new nephew the next time you talk to her. You will see things like trees and cars flying past your window. You will know the big things without having to constantly monitor for them. Everything else is just fluff. Entertaining fluff, granted, but still fluff.

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    Your e-mail notifications. E-mail is a non-urgent form of communication. By its very nature, it is sent out into cyberspace with the understanding that it will be opened and read whenever the recipient gets to it/feels like it. There is no way for the sender to know when this will happen. If the sender has an urgent message to convey, it should be done by another method. This is the responsibility of the sender to understand.

    As such, there is no need for you, as the recipient, to have a little pop-up notification alert you every single time a message comes in. This is the equivalent of the Postal Service taking each individual piece of mail the moment it’s dropped in a mailbox and delivering it immediately—by standing outside your window and tapping on the pane, waving the letter in the air and mouthing “Got another one!” (Then coming back five minutes later when another letter is sent.)

    Turn off the notifications. It will be okay. I promise you.

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    Addendum

    If you feel any other devices/sources of distraction should be added to this PSA, please feel free to leave your vote in the comments.

    (Photo credit: Hand Press Power Button 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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