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Take your Christmas back

Take your Christmas back
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It is well into November and the world is ramping up its Christmas hype. We are bombarded with Christmas food, Christmas gifts, Christmas expectations and Christmas pressure. This can be one of the best times of year, but many people end up overcome by stress, guilt, molten credit cards and broken relationships. It doesn’t have to be like this. With a little forethought and planning, you can push aside the trouble and look forward to Christmas again.

Here are 7 quick tips to get you going:

  1. Take the time now, to decide what is important to you and why? Don’t let anyone else swamp you with their ideas. Decide for yourself what is most important about Christmas. Is it the social side of Christmas, or the spiritual side? Is it the family part or the material things. Is it all about business or is it about doing good things. Decide for yourself what is most important and you will be on the right track to taking over your own Christmas.
  2. Let your decision determine how you spend your Christmas. This year, be active in deciding how you will spend your time. I will be going to Church at Christmas, because I have chosen to, but I know full well that the church will be loaded with people who are there because someone else is pushing them. Rather than just going along with whoever pressures you the most, take over your own Christmas by doing what you think is important.
  3. If you want to give a gift, make it meaningful. If not, don’t. Useless gifts that nobody wants are such a waste. How many times have you received a Bounce Gift – one of those gifts that you receive, that only bounce in your life and then are out the door into the trash. Don’t give Bounce gifts. All you are doing is perpetuating the problem. If you give a gift, make it meaningful (this doesn’t necessarily mean expensive). If you can’t think of anything meaningful to give, don’t give anything at all. Take control of giving gifts this Christmas.
  4. Don’t fall for other people’s manipulative games. Christmas is not a time to play politics and favorites. It is not about behaving like spoilt children. If you choose not to spend your Christmas with someone manipulative, then there may be awkward consequences. Live with the consequences and move on, because you will still be way ahead if you steer your own course without manipulation. Of course this works both ways. Don’t waste time trying to play games with other people’s lives either. Take over your own Christmas but don’t try and take over others.
  5. Do what you decide to do and forget about false guilt. You may feel guilty about not doing something or not going somewhere, but if you have already decided, then stick to your decision. You owe it to yourself to do what you think is important. If you choose not to spend your Christmas with your toxic friend, then don’t do it. Take over your Christmas by forgetting about false guilt.
  6. As well as avoiding what you don’t want your Christmas to be like, take steps to design a really great Christmas doing what is important to you. My Christmas this year is going to be great. It will involve immediate family, skiing, friends, and no guilt. What about yours. Decide who you want to be with, where you will be, and what you will be doing. Take control of your Christmas by making a plan.
  7. Try leaving your credit card at home leading up to Christmas. That way, you will be less likely to spend money that you don’t have. Try pre-planning what you will spend money on and sticking to your plan. Go to the shops with a list rather than a credit card. After Christmas is over, you will appreciate the debt that you don’t have much more than the pleasure of giving gifts that were too expensive for your budget.

If something is wrong with your Christmas you still have time to set it right. Nobody is going to do it for you, it is up to you. Don’t let this year be as stressful and frustrating as the last. Take back your Christmas this year and every year from now on.

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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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