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Quicker Reboots – For Your Life

Quicker Reboots – For Your Life

Adam mentioned wanting a quicker reboot for his life. I gave this some thought, and here’s what I have for a premise: not unlike computers, the thing that slows down most reboots is sorting through everything. Where were things left when I shut down? What’s got to be done by which thingy when? That kind of stuff. Here are some potential hacks for quicker reboots:

  • Manage Threads Better- If you know and can easily reference who you owe WHAT in terms of time, deliverables, cash, and otherwise, it helps you reboot your life faster. For instance, if I wanted to “drop everything” right now, I’d have to stop working on my (soon to be too late) Father’s Day project, stop working on a picture refinishing project, kill my household tasks, stop writing for 5 or 6 blogs, etc, etc. Hack: Keep a running “thread” list, simply stating Item / Owner / Due by / Status. Make this list religious. Make it the PID table for your life. If it’s not on your threads, it doesn’t exist. Thus, if you have to reboot, you can send a “status” call to the folks who own the threads and try to “exit gracefully.”
  • Manage Power Better– You need energy and clarity of mind to keep your “human stack” running. That means good food, good rest cycles, proper circulation (exercise). If you don’t manage your meat-space, you start losing cycles to do as much work. A reboot will help clear this, but before you even have to come to that, having better processes to handle your power levels will stretch out the duration between reboots. Hack: start and build enduring, strong habits around eating on schedule (every 2-3 hours), exercising regularly (new guidelines: 60 minutes a day), and sleeping enough (officially 8 hours, but I’m guilty of far fewer hours). It will keep you head working better. If you don’t have enough time to do all that, look for threads to kill or defer. You can’t forever overclock or your system will just shut down on its own.
  • Improve Monitoring – Windows XP is far more explicit about problems than Windows 95 ever was. Linux and Mac users have fairly good instrumentation, should they choose to observe it. Without your threads document, you lack a process table (how busy you are). Without some kind of graphing (process monitor), you can’t be sure your history and running averages. You rely instead on anecdotal health checks and pings to determine if you’re too busy, too tired, too overworked. Hack: make simple graphs to track your progress (try Joe’s Goals, which we wrote about a week ago). Try to collect some sense of what you’ve been up to, so that you can predict or forecast how much more you can or can’t take on at any given time.
  • Defrag – Similar to my post on moving back into your house, reboots can be more and more difficult if we leave our “bits” all over the place. How organized are you? How cluttered is your workspace? (I know Adam’s answer, which will be another post). Besides my basic starting point of “reducing clutter and not bringing new clutter into your life is best,” it’s also important to manage where everything is kept. I don’t believe that whole “super creative people are messy by nature” thing (though a snapshot of my house right now might disagree). Instead, I believe that we often lack the proper supplies to collect and organize things better. Well, IKEA sells stuff cheaply. So do several other department stores. These things permit organization on gross levels for the first pass, and then you can work to reduce some of the “mess” in your life. Hack: set up monthly “can’t avoid” times to reset your house, your work space(s), your bags and backpacks – everything that holds parts of YOU.
  • Add Resources– Covey’s 7 Habits puts forth that it’s all well and good that you are independently capable and useful, but the real prize is in being able to use off-board resources (other people) via interdependence. Building up ways and systems to share the wealth of things in your life in such a way that you’re not 100% overseeing the work you’ve passed forward gives you a few extra cycles. In essence, it’s like adding extra CPUs or a video card. You’re spreading the load by sharing out work. (Leon’s spread the load of Lifehack.org posting by giving me a logon here). Hack: learn how to build processes and projects in such a way that you can “farm them out” or share them with others. This means that even if you have to reboot, those processes that aren’t 100% yours might stay up and keep running while you reboot.

So are these hacks or tips? Are they workarounds to existing processes or optimizations? I don’t quibble with the terminology. I just want them to be useful to you. Does any of that ring true to you? Can you see how the extended analogy of examining at least the “functional” parts of our life as if they were computer bits might give us new perspective on getting things done? Your thoughts, feedback, add-ons to the premise, would all be greatly appreciated.

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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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