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Snap Back to Reality

Snap Back to Reality
Rubber Bands

    We are constantly moving forward – onward to new horizons. It seems to be the way humans are wired. Always looking towards the future.

    Often we spend so much time staring at what’s coming next, that we miss what’s happening right in front of our face. Sometimes it takes a big or tragic event to bring us back. Other times it’s the pressure we feel at a given moment. Whatever the reason, it happens. Learning to snap back to reality on our own terms is a valuable skill to explore.

    Snap Back To Reality, Oh There Goes Gravity….

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    …You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow

    This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…
    ” – Eminem, Lose Yourself

    Sage advice from Eminem. Who would’ve thought? But he makes a good point. All we’ve got is right now, this moment. This particular opportunity only comes once. Whether we choose to believe it or not.

    Think of our awareness like a rubber band – flexible, continually expanding. We stretch our view, our focus, and our perception. This is a wonderful ability to have – to not only see what is, but also what can be. But just like a rubber band, there is only so far it can stretch – and how long we can hold it – then snap!

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    If we don’t take the time to snap back to reality on our own terms, it will happen unexpectedly. Stress, life changing events, and pain are often triggers of the snap. Say you’re driving along, daydreaming about an upcoming meeting, when suddenly you ram into a stopped car – snap! – you’re back to reality. When you witness the birth of your baby, you snap back. When you slam your finger in the door, you snap back. All of these things take the stretched band of your perception and snap it back to its original state, leaving it loose and exhausted.

    If a rubber band stays stretched too long, when it does snap back, it begins to lose its elasticity. The same happens with us. By constantly living in a future, imagined time we begin to reach the point of breaking, and lose the potential to stretch effortlessly each time. The key is learning to take this “snap back” into your own hands and regularly return to reality – the true reality of what happening right now.

    Wow…Trippy…

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    This may all sound like kooky, New Agey stuff. Actually it’s more like Old Agey stuff. But it’s really just a mindset. Being focused on the future is important, but so is snapping back to right now.

    There are lots of ways to do this. One of the most common is to focus on your breathing. Really notice the breath come in and flow out. Or take a few minutes to just listen to the sounds around you. It’s not important how you do it, just that you take some time throughout the day to snap back on your own terms – no crashes, no pain, no stress. Just the act of wanting to, makes it happen. It doesn’t require any big rituals, or beliefs. Just ask “what’s happening right now?” Then listen. You’ll get it. You’ll snap back.

    And it’s a good thing, because you only get one shot, this moment only comes once in a lifetime.

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    Tony D. Clark writes, draws cartoons, designs software and websites, and spends a lot of time talking others into working from home, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest focuses on helping parents who want to do meaningful work from home and have more time for their families, and their dreams.

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    Leon Ho

    Founder of Lifehack

    Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas Finding Your Inside Time 10 Ways to Extend Laptop Battery Life Bob Parsons on His 16 Rules for Survival Free note taking templates and techniques

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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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