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A List with a Twist: The Gift for the Person Who Has it All

A List with a Twist: The Gift for the Person Who Has it All

Gift-giving is no ordinary business, and there is nothing more delightful than giving a gift that makes someone else’s face light up with delight. There are the box gifts where the present is tiny and the box is big and filled with lots of paper, scraps of material, ribbons and string so that it becomes a treasure hunt, or a big box gift filled with lots and lots of small presents that are all related to an activity like a tea set or toy box or a letter-writing set.  There are  funny gifts, food gifts, adventure gifts and activity gifts, and the right gift can be found for everyone if we put some thought into the whole business (or rather art) of giving.

The Difficult Person To Purchase For

Then there are gifts for my friend. She loves debating, thinking about the grey areas in life and weighing each side of an argument . She loves reading, writing and poetry. When it comes to buying her gifts, we start moving into the realm of the impossible. She has the best of everything  in every shape and size possible, so I have to resort to creative genius when it comes to giving her gifts. I have a few other people in my life who fall into this category as well. We all do. They are the ones who we really want to give that extra special gift to, but achieving that is hard.

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Two years ago, I bought this friend an art journal by artist Sabrina Ward Harrison. Instead of giving it to her straight away, I kept it for a while and filled it with my own ramblings, musings and questions. Once I had filled a satisfactory amount of pages to make it feel lived-in, I printed out a number of black-and-white photos which I slipped between the pages. I wrapped it up, placed it in a box and sent it to her. Her reaction was priceless. She set to work almost immediately: answering my questions, posing her own and leaving her doodle markings on every other page. The journal has now crossed the Atlantic twice as we have exchanged it back and forth, filling it with moments and memories. It is starting to bulge in a happy, overflowing kind of way.

One lazy Sunday morning while I was browsing through the bookshelves in Avoca coffee shop I discovered “Listography: Your Life In Lists” by Lisa Nola and Nathaniel Russell. It was a perfect gift for her.

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This is a life list, a legacy and memoir all bundled into page after page of lists. Think: favourite movies, people from history you want to talk to, favourite toys from your childhood, lovers, all the cities you have spent time in and you are only just getting a sneak peek. The book is thick, and trust me, by the time you are done listing all of these things, your life might as well be caught in a snapshot in book-form.

There is a listography app too which means the lists don’t have to be confined to a book but they can accompany everyday activities and travels.

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I haven’t packed and posted this gift yet but my guess is that my friend will enjoy it even more than the previous journal. I cannot wait for her to receive it. And yes, if you think about it, I bought myself a gift too because I get to enjoy all her list musings when she is done.

Seven Questions To Help You Find That Perfect Gift

So, when buying gifts for the friend who has it all, keep the following seven questions in mind:

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  1. What do they love to do? 
  2. What is something they do, that very few people know about?
  3. Can you buy this person a gift that involves you, or someone they love, to enrich the experience?
  4. Will this gift be  a lasting treasure if their children and grandchildren were to discover it one day? 
  5. Will this gift last over time? 
  6. Will this gift create a lasting impression? 
  7. Will this gift create memories? 

Featured photo credit:  christmas woman with gifts box 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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