Wednesday, April 1, 2015

5 Ways to Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Get (Little) Things Done

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about this. We've all been there, working tirelessly to accomplish something and then realizing we've made no progress at all. It can be disheartening, and many of us (myself included) are prone to giving up. I've seen many articles talk about this in the "big picture" sense, about following our passions and achieving our goals... And that's great. But what about the little things? The day to day?

What are some ways we can snap ourselves back into focus and not waste time? For me, I find I spin my wheels with countless things. Reading a book, where it's been 45 minutes and it feels like I haven't finished a page. Or a work project with loose deadlines that I can't get leverage on, no matter how hard I think I'm pushing myself. Even listening to music, I can get into a rut of replaying a song over and over, not even realizing I've listened to the same thing for 3 hours. Most recently, it happened with my cross stitching, and when tackling a pile of pending movie reviews.

It's a rut, but it can be conquered. Here are a few [probably] obvious things that might help when you're struggling to cross that finish line.

1. Move.
No, I don't mean stand up and stretch. Instead, I mean stand up, grab your book/laptop/painting/whatever, and move to a different place. Maybe it's outside, or a nearby coffee shop, or even from the couch to the floor—it doesn't matter. The change in your body's position and your perspective on your space will tweak, reinvigorating your juices and giving you renewed focus. It's also the best cure if you're starting to get fatigued.

2. Eat or Drink Something While You Work.
This can be a slippery slope for those might eat mindlessly, but hear me out. I know that when I'm grinding along, repetitive motions like typing or turning the page can be lulling. By taking a second, walking to the kitchen or break room, and coming back with a cup of coffee or glass of wine (my favorite) to enjoy in my space, the senses are jolted. Give your hands, your eyes, your head a break from the task at hand every time you reach for a sip. Even if it's just a moment, grabbing a pinch of almonds can break the monotony that might be holding you back from progress.

3. Put Your Phone in the Other Room.
Ah, the phone, my kryptonite. The answer to my procrastination, wheel-spinning woes. When I'm trying to get something done, my smart phone needs to be nowhere in sight. Amazing the things we can accomplish when we're not tempted by our FB or Instagram feeds. Keep it out of reach and its pull will be far less tempting.

4. I Was Kidding Before. Stretch.
It's been proven time and time again. Nothing keeps your body and mind from atrophying like a good, deep stretch. By giving yourself a moment to ensure your blood is pumping and your back is sufficiently cracked, you'll not only massage those muscles, you'll be more comfortable in your space.

5. Ask For Help.
It might sound strange, but oftentimes, there is a reason we're being held up. Usually, it's something we're not even conscious of. Maybe our work project has an unanswered question that's thrown a wrench in our momentum. Maybe that opinion piece you're writing needs an outside perspective. Or maybe, we just need the help of our friends to suggest new and interesting things that could peak our interest. Other people are a great asset—when we're in a rut, even talking it through with someone else can rev your engine more than anything else could. Besides, you might get extra encouragement and a renewed sense of accomplishment.

Hey, it couldn't hurt, right?

Alright. Now to take my own advice and start crossing off that To-Do List. xx

(image via Giulia Bellato)

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