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Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.

Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.
    Photo credit: qas (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    Before I begin, I need to give full credit of this post to Rob Lawrence, a great friend of mine and the co-author of a book we wrote together called Get Noticed. Rob is also a creativity coach who has inspired me on numerous occasions with his advice. One particular instance was when he was telling me about measuring values.

    I can’t quite remember how it came up, but Rob and I were having a conversation about how personal values can change over short periods of time and how you can measure them. Rob suggested to me that my personal values are largely defined by two things; how I spend my money, and how I spend my time.

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    It’s a simple concept, but when you think about it we all have two main commodities which we can spend as we choose; time and money. Therefore, how we decide to allocate those two commodities should indicate which things we value more than others.

    In June 2011 I decided to open up my bank statement to see where I was spending my money. I was shocked to see that I was spending almost a fifth of my income on rent (something I don’t feel I valued highly) and also how little I was spending on eating out (something I thought I valued much more).

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    My Values

      Four months down the line I revisited this task and was shocked by how much my spending has changed in such a small amount of time. A lot of things have changed over the past four months, but my rent now represents nearer to 10% of my income, which is good, but my car is now costing me 22% of my income, which is not something I’m too pleased about.

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      It’s important to note when doing this, that it’s more to do with what each category represents rather than the category itself. For example, despite 22% of my income being spent on driving, that doesn’t mean I love driving, it means that I value seeing new places and getting to work on time. The 19.3% that I spend eating out is more to do with spending time with colleagues, friends, and my girlfriend, than it is about a love for eating in restaurants.

      How you spend your day is who you are

      Last month I realised that I’m as much a writer as I am a social media guy. When people asked me “what do you do?” my immediate reaction is to say “I work in social media at a digital marketing agency”, but in reality I probably spend more time writing books and blog posts than I do working at the agency, therefore, it’s probably fair to say that I’m predominantly a writer.

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      Analyzing how you spend your time can be a very insightful activity to do from various angles, but looking from the perspective of “what are my values” can show you how much value you place on different friends, family, work, side projects, sleeping, keeping fit and other things that you spend your days doing.

      How knowing your values can improve your lifestyle

      All of this information is great, but unless you do something with it it’s worthless.

      I recommend analyzing how your money and time is spent for one month, and then writing down five things you want to decrease your spend on, and five things you’d like to increase your spend on. Then several months down the line revisit this exercise and see how you’re getting on.

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      Want to Know What Your Personal Values Are? Ask Your Bank.

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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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