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Stay Motivated and Productive By Going Into Energy Saver Mode

Stay Motivated and Productive By Going Into Energy Saver Mode

Whether you’re ill, tired, or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, sometimes you just don’t feel like attacking the day the way you normally do. But that doesn’t mean that obligations like your job, chores, and family responsibilities conveniently go on hold for you. (If only.) You still have to find a way to make it through the day—preferably while checking off all the necessary to-dos.

So how do you stay productive when all you want to do is crawl back under the covers? By taking a cue from your computer and going into “energy saver mode.”

Here are the key components of operating in energy saver mode to stay motivated:

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1. Only take care of the most crucial tasks.

We’re a society that likes to Get Things Done, but when you’re not feeling up to par, you need to let go of the things on your to do list that aren’t critical to your life’s basic functioning.

Do you need to finish that big project that’s due today? Yes. Do you need to attend the birthday luncheon you know will only devolve into an hour of gossiping and inane reality TV show talk? No. Wish the birthday guy or girl a happy day, apologize for not being able to make it, and take your lunch break somewhere soothing (like your favorite coffee shop) so you can recharge.

Do you need to do the laundry so your family won’t go naked tomorrow? Yes. Do you need to iron all the wrinkly items so everyone has a full wardrobe to choose from? No. Let them choose from their easier-wear items and leave the more high-maintenance ones for another day.

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In other words, decide what is really important for your day and what isn’t—and be okay with letting the unimportant things slide.

2. Allow yourself some lull time.

Computers in energy saver mode stay efficient by not running at full capacity 24-7. They go into screen saver mode, then sleep mode, keeping only the most basic processes running while letting everything else cool down for a bit.

The human body and mind are the same way. We can’t be “on” 24-7. If we are, we will quickly burn out and become sluggish, foggy, and frustrated. So allow yourself some time to “lull.” Take a 15-minute nap. Let yourself watch an episode of your favorite guilty pleasure reality show. Tell the dishes they can sit for a night and instead curl up with a good book for half an hour. Even a small pocket of “you” time can help you refresh and keep going.

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Instead of rush, rush, rushing around like you normally do, allow yourself to do things at whatever speed you can muster. Don’t multitask. Don’t try to be a hero. (You can be one tomorrow.)

3. Put on your screen saver.

Screen savers—be they cutesy kitties or clichéd beach scenes—say “someone is working here; he just left for a minute but he’ll be right back.” If your boss comes by and sees your screen dark, he’ll wonder if you came in that day. If he sees kittens in baskets floating by, he’ll figure you just stepped away to get some coffee. (You could actually be taking that 15-minute nap in the utility closet, but he doesn’t need to know that.)

Similarly, getting through a day you don’t feel like getting through requires a bit of a “Yep, I’m here!” poker face. You can’t let your inner blahs translate to outer grumpiness, or you’ll just feel worse and have more trouble navigating the day. So learn to disconnect from your feelings, put on a mild smile, and give the “I’m here (but not 100%, please forgive me)” vibe.

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Don’t engage with the people who normally frustrate you. Give short and sweet answers to people instead of launching into full-on conversations. Don’t try mustering up loads of enthusiasm and cheer you don’t have. Just be responsive enough that your screen doesn’t go blank. If anyone wonders why you’re not being your usual perky self, just tell them you’re a bit tired today. They’ll understand. (They may have their own screen savers on, for all you know.)

Featured photo credit:  Mixed Race Young Female via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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