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How to Get Out of a Rut in About 20 Minutes

When good habits break down

When good habits break down

It is easy to accumulate stuff, like unfiled papers and half-read books or unfinished projects. If left unattended, they can pile up and can spiral out of control. At some point, you can get fed up and tidy up, and then the cycle starts anew.

Unsorted papers and books are as problematic as unsorted thoughts that accumulate over time. "I should maybe do something about X." Once we've collected a few hundred of these mental-sticky notes, the mind becomes a cloud of unsorted stuff that's bothering us.

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How to Get Out of a Rut in About 20 Minutes

How to Get Out of a Rut in About 20 Minutes

https://www.raptitude.com/2020/04/how-to-get-out-of-a-rut-in-about-20-minutes/

raptitude.com

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Key Ideas

When good habits break down

It is easy to accumulate stuff, like unfiled papers and half-read books or unfinished projects. If left unattended, they can pile up and can spiral out of control. At some point, you can get fed up and tidy up, and then the cycle starts anew.

Unsorted papers and books are as problematic as unsorted thoughts that accumulate over time. "I should maybe do something about X." Once we've collected a few hundred of these mental-sticky notes, the mind becomes a cloud of unsorted stuff that's bothering us.

Clearing the mental desktop

There is a way to re-organize your unresolved thoughts and separate the important from the messy mental pile. In the quiet of the day, you sit down with a pencil and paper and ask yourself three questions.

  • What am I anxious about?
  • What am I upset about, and with whom?
  • What am I currently feeling excited or ambitious about?

Fragments provide clues

When you ask what you're anxious about, you may not have a clear answer. You may have fragments of responses that may not make much sense by itself. For example, "I am anxious about floorboards. Book mess."

Record these answers as they will give a hint about the main sore points in the back of your mind.

Find the real sore points

Once you've collected your fragments of responses, pass it through a second tier of questions that is more pointed to find out what lies behind the initial associations and impressions. If you're upset with someone, ask, "What part of myself feels danger here?"

This process will turn the cloud of stuff back into concerns you can name and understand. It dissolves any sense of being held back by thoughts.

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1. Rewrite It

Spend 5 minutes each morning preparing your task list to have only accomplishable tasks that fit the time you have available. Keep other tasks on a holding list for another day.

2. Be Laser Focused

Set a timer for 15 minutes, shut out the world and concentrate with intense focus on one and only one task. Closing your door and turning off your phone and internet are specially important.

3. Let Go Of Tasks

Recognize that not everything in your list must be done. When in doubt, delete it from your list; if it is important you’ll eventually add it back.

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