You know when you are in a rut when life just seems like the “ho-hum” same daily grind day after day. You don’t feel any zest in your day or you feel like you have no inspiration. It’s as if your brain is in a void. Poof. You may realize you are just spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere. A vicious roller coaster or perhaps a hamster on a wheel may be the image in your head of your daily routine.
I usually consider myself to be a productive person. But there are those times and sometimes more frequent than I like, that I start feeling like I am in a rut.
Below are 7 Hints I follow to get out of the rut and to get back on the productive highway.
1. Work on a Micro-Action
Every day I try to work on a micro-action. These are little actions that move me towards my goals. You can read more about Micro-Actions in Allyson Lewis’ book “The 7 Minute Solution”. But, I will admit, I sometimes get busy with my daily tasks and don’t do a morning micro-action. I find a quick way to get out of the rut is to actually do the micro-action and rejoice in the feeling of “hey, I got something done!”. In short, a micro-action are the little things that nag in your brain and build up over time. Soon, your head is so full of lots of “to-dos” that you start feeling overwhelmed. I have a master list of micro-actions and (TRY TO) work on one a day. It may be writing a thank you card, organizing a file in the drawer, cleaning out a sock drawer, organizing an email folder, etc. It’s a little small something that moves you towards the feeling of organization, and it’s a wonderful way that I start the day feeling like I’m working on “filling the holes” of my rut!
2. Work on version 1.1 of YOU
Some people call it personal development, but whatever you call it it’s called expanding your knowledge. While I already read 10 pages a day from a self development book, sometimes it is time to step up the game and do something more! It may be time to learn a new language, go to a seminar, read some new material to learn a new skill or accept some 30 day challenge and then really WORK on it for those 30 days. I just completed a 30 Day Goals Challenge by Brian Tracy and feel SO proud of myself for really sticking to it for 30 days! And now my creativity is flowing for my book all thanks to getting out of the rut. Here is a list of 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself.
3. List your “I AM” and read them daily.
I finally listed my “I AM’s” 1 year ago. These are statements of a vision of how you see yourself and your life in the future. It may be something like “I am enjoying luxurious vacations with my family”, “I am financially secure with $X in savings”, “I am healthy and enjoy the look of myself in my skinny jeans”. I encourage you to sit down during a quiet moment and create a list of 50 “I AM’s”, and then read them on a daily basis. You will find reading those will spur you to get out of your rut, and especially as you start seeing them come to pass! I also cut out pictures of my I AM’s and put them on the fridge, or in a frame, or send a card to myself with the images so that I can visually see my dreams and goals.
4. Take a break
This one may be hard for the busy working person, but believe me. Everyone NEEDS a break from the hustle and bustle. You can only burn a candle at 2 ends for so long, and then you WILL burn out. When you can, arrange for a 3 day weekend where you really don’t do anything but REST from work. No checking emails remotely. No taking a “quick” business call. The extra time will clear your head and really give you a feeling of stepping out of the “daily grind”.
5. Read Blogs
Blogs are good, quick ways to get some nourishment for our brains. Reading good inspiration from others is also a great way to fuel the brain on ways to get out of the rut. Sometimes something they write will spur new ideas. There are so many blogs and websites. Looking for inspiration on Leadership, try John Maxwell. Looking for inspiration about goal setting, try Brian Tracy. If you are ready to just “make something happen”, head over to Seth Godin.
Perhaps the secret 6th hint is, and forgive me for yelling…FORGET ABOUT PERFECTION. Don’t….. QUIT….. STOP worrying about doing everything with perfection. Do what you do. Do what you can do. Take baby steps. Allow errors. Allow mistakes. Sometimes I find my ruts develop because I’m afraid to step OUT because I know what I’m going to do won’t be exactly PERFECT. So I just keep churning in my rut, getting deeper and deeper. STOP. DO. Allow imperfection, and you will start to see the rut disappear.