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18 Ways to Find Direction Over Your Holiday Break

18 Ways to Find Direction Over Your Holiday Break
    Photo credit: *clarity* (CC BY 2.0)

    Many times a month, week, or day you feel directionless.

    I can totally relate, so you don’t have to worry; you aren’t a freak or loser that doesn’t know what they want to do with their life. You just may be stuck.

    But, good news, “directionless one”. The holidays are a great time to step back from your work-life and rethink what and how you are trying to get things done.

    Rather than give you some of the reasons that you feel directionless in the first place, let’s just dive into the 18 ways that you can find your direction so you can be on the path again to get things done faster and better over this holiday break.

    1. Mind map

    We have talked about mind mapping in the past at Lifehack. If you sit down and spend a little bit of time connecting thoughts and ideas to each other either paper or digitally through mind mapping you may start to see how all the pieces fit together and feel some sort of direction.

    2. Learn what you don’t want to do

    If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, sometimes it’s a good idea to find the things that you aren’t supposed to do. This can clear up your vision of your project or business model and help you move forward.

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    3. Day dream and doodle

    Over the past few months since I’ve graduated from college, I haven’t daydreamed and doodle as much. But, I know that this is one of the best ways for me to find new ideas on topics that I was stalling on. We sometimes need to just let our minds wander and not put so much pressure on ourselves. Day dreaming and doodling allows us to have some “no-pressure” creative time.

    4. Find some “non-technology” time

    Sometimes we lose our direction on projects because we are buried in our work. And with most of us being knowledge workers, being buried in our work means being buried in our computers and technology devices. It’s a good idea to step away on a daily basis from these devices and work on some of your own personal creative time. Over the holiday break is a great time to do this.

    5. Read

    Reading is a great way to find inspiration. But, you have to make sure that you aren’t just reading to avoid what you’re supposed to be working on.

    6. Reach out to friends and other creatives

    If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your new project, a good way to get some is to talk to other people that are like-minded as well as friends and family. Sometimes these people can be a little bit strong in their criticisms, but it may just be what you need to find your direction.

    7. Free Write

    This goes back to my favorite thing to do every single day; write 750 words. Writing every single day helps free thoughts from your mind, making them more concrete. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had something in my mind but haven’t been able to express it until I wrote for that day.

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    8. Simplify things

    I’m sometimes a little weary of the whole minimalist movement, but, simplifying and going “minimal” can be a really great way to concentrate on what you’re trying to work on.Cut out everything that you don’t need and concentrate on only the things that you do to find some direction.

    9. Change up your tools and processes

    I’m a staunch proponent of keeping with your tools and productivity processes for the long haul, but every once in a while you may just need to switch things up, especially if there is something about your process that is holding you back.

    10. Exercise

    I’ve gotten some great ideas on projects that were “stuck” when I was out walking, biking, or running. Make a habit of exercising and you will get ideas on a regular basis to keep you unstuck and moving in the right direction.

    11. Meditate

    Being mindful is an important thing to do whether or not you need to find your direction. Sitting in silence can help you clear your mind and be in the moment, opening you up to new ideas and helping create motivation for something that is stagnating in your life.

    12. Create rituals and blocks of work

    Block out times during your day where you work on the the things that are important to you. If you don’t schedule your time diligently, it will possibly be lost to something that isn’t as important to you.

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    Also, having lists of things to do every day is a great way for you to keep “treading water”, allowing you to concentrate on the bigger picture.

    13. Force yourself to create ideas

    Sometimes you just have to force yourself to come up with new ideas to get a project back on track. Make ideas happen is part of being a knowledge worker.

    14. Stop analyses paralyses and get started

    Sometimes we already know what we want and have to do to get something moving forward. Instead of actually doing it though, we think that we need more information to get it done. You probably don’t.

    If you think you know enough to start or keep a project moving then put down the tutorial or the book and get to work.

    15. Follow a framework

    If you feel no direction on a project try running through something like David Allen’s 5 Phases of Productivity. Maybe you just need to know what “wild success” looks like to make it over the hump.

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    16. Spend quality time

    Some people that are consumed with projects and getting the next thing done forget to have a life. Instead of stressing and struggling, how about spend some quality time with your family and friends and try to remember why you do what you do?

    17. Step away from the problem

    Stepping away from the problem can sometimes give you instant direction on what to do to solve the problem. Once you stop thinking so hard about something, new ideas and direction can come easier.

    18. “White knuckle it” and get to work

    While meditation and free writing and all the other “nu-nu-na-na” stuff can help you find your direction, most times you just need to sit down, white knuckle it, and work hard. There is no replacement for hard work.

    Feeling directionless can be a horrible way to go through your workday and life. But, the holidays are a great time to rethink your work strategy and to make sure that you have everything that you need in your productivity framework to move forward on projects. Finding your direction on a stalled project may only be one free-writing or mind mapping session away, so give these above recommendations a try if you are feeling directionless.

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    Last Updated on October 23, 2018

    How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

    How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

    Really organized people are not born organized, they have to cultivate healthy habits, which then help them to stay organized.

    So even if you think you are a very disorganized person, you can learn to be organized. From planning things, jotting things down, to ditching the unnecessary and organizing things that matter, you will become an organized person as long as you’re willing to learn and practice.

    Here are the essential habits on how to organize your life:

    1. Write things down

    We all know someone that remembers every birthday and sends cards for every holiday. It’s not magic and they don’t use memorization. Trying to remember things will not help you to stay organized. You should try writing things down.

    A pen and some paper is our way of remembering things externally, and it’s much more permanent. You can also use this powerful Digital Brain.

    You will only further complicate your life by trying to contain important dates and reminders in your head. Write down everything: shopping lists for groceries, holiday gifts, home decor, and important dates like meetings and birthdays.

    As an experiment, try writing down people’s names shortly after you meet them (when they’re not looking). I’ll bet you remember a lot more names that way.

    2. Make schedules and deadlines

    Organized people don’t waste time. They recognize that keeping things organized goes hand-in-hand with staying productive. They make and keep schedules for the day and week. They make deadlines and set goals. And most importantly, they and stick to them!

    Similarly, by living a cluttered lifestyle, you will not have the time or space to make your deadlines or achieve your goals.

    As an experiment, look at your bucket list or make one. Write down the things you want to achieve this year or in your life. Then write down what you need to do to achieve them.

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    Life is short, make sure you’re doing what matters to you most. If you need a little help on that, here’s a wonderful guide:

    The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

    3. Don’t procrastinate

    The longer you wait to do something, the more difficult it will be to get it done. If you want your life to be less stressful and less demanding, then organize as soon as you can. Putting in the effort to get things done as soon as possible will lift the weight off of you from doing it later.

    As an experiment, think of one thing that you should organize in your life. Write it down. Then write down when you can do it and what you need to get it done. If you can get it done right now, then go do it!

    If you want more tips to stop procrastination, check out this guide:

    Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    4. Give everything a home

    It’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a home. Keeping your life organized means keeping your things in their proper places. Organized people keep order by storing things properly and by labeling storage spaces.

    Make easy-to-access storage spaces for things you use all the time, and don’t let your storage spaces get cluttered. Be creative about finding places for things. In addition, as a BIG NO: never label a storage space as “miscellaneous!”

    As an experiment, choose one place in your home that you can re-organize. If there are scattered items, then group them together. Once you’ve sorted everything, find or make a “home” for similar items, label the “homes,” and put them in the proper places.

    For example, a cup holder for your pens and pencils should go in an easily accessible place, but the rarely used craft materials can be stored out of sight.

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    5. Declutter regularly

    Find time each week to organize. Highly organized people make sure they find time every week or more to organize their things. Stuff does not stay organized on its own; it needs to be reorganized continuously and consistently.

    As an experiment, look at your schedule and find a time to organize, then do it.

    Here’s a guide on how to declutter:

    How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress

    6. Keep only what you need

    More stuff means more clutter. People who live organized lives only keep what they need and what they really really want. Having fewer things also means that you enjoy those things more and feel better about using everything you own, rather than letting half of what you own collect dust.

    Have you ever felt like you don’t have the space to keep all the stuff you own? Instead of renting a storage unit or buying a larger home, get rid of some things.

    As an experiment, write down the number of things you think you actually need. Then, write a list of all the things that you own. If the number of things you actually own exceeds your ideal need list, then it’s time to organize.

    Or try this One Question to Help You Successfully Declutter Anything.

    7. Know where to discard items

    Do whatever you can to get rid of stuff. Less stuff means less clutter.

    Donate to thrift stores. Sell on Craigslist or eBay. Take a trip to the recycling center. Set up a garage sale. Find a place to get rid of your things.

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    As an experiment, choose one space in your house to purge. Go through shelves, drawers and boxes. Everything you find that you don’t need, set aside. Make a pile of things to maybe keep, which you can go through later, and a pile of things to discard now. Then find a way to kick those things out the door immediately.

    8. Stay away from bargains

    You have removed the things you don’t need. Will you replace them when you see something on sale?

    Instead of bargain shopping without planning ahead, write down down exactly what you need and buy only those items. Organized people do not give in to false advertising. Items on sale will only produce more clutter.

    As an experiment, go to a shopping mall with no money. Just look at all the things on sale that you wish you could buy if you had brought your wallet or purse.

    If you find nothing, then good for you. If you made a list, then keep that list somewhere and look at it a month from now. If you still want it, then it’s safe to buy.

    9. Delegate responsibilities

    A really organized life is not overfilled with responsibilities, meetings and deadlines. In fact, it has less because things that create stress have been slowly organized out.

    As an experiment, look at your to-do list or make one. Go through the list and find one task that you can remove from your list or give to someone else. Now feel the stress of having to do it fall away.

    If you want to delegate effectively, don’t miss out these important tips:

    The Careful Art of Delegation

    10. Work hard

    Put in a little effort. Actually, put in a lot of effort when necessary.

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    Once you have delegated responsibilities and made a schedule, then you can organize what you have to do and when you can do it.

    Staying organized is not all a breeze. It requires that you work hard with recognition that when you work harder, you can enjoy your clutter-free home life later.

    Work harder when you feel like giving up today.

    What’s more important is to remember what you work for is meaningful to you. And this is how you can stay motivated and happy every day:

    How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

    Learn from these organizational tips, make them your habits one by one. Slowly you’ll become a lot more organized and productive!

    More Resources on Better Organization

    How to Organize Your Thoughts: 3 Simple Steps to 10X Your Productivity

    How to Organize Your Life to Find More Time

    Wikify Your Life: How to Organize Everything

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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