5 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Rut

5 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Rut

If there’s ever a time to get yourself out of a rut, spring is the time to do it. With more sunshine giving us a longer day, there seems to be more time and our senses wake up. If you have been feeling like the winter has you just going through the motions, use the energy of spring to bring yourself back into focus.

Whether it’s your career or your personal life, a few small things can lift your spirits and make you feel inspired again.

1. Learn Something New

There’s nothing like stretching your brain to make the world seem like a more fascinating place. If you’ve always wanted to know more about gardening, sign up at your local center for some tips. If something really cutting-edge and scientific is more your style, see if you can audit or even just sit in on a few classes in robotics engineering. And if your brain is fried from all work and no play, why don’t you learn how to do something that’s fun – whether that’s jewelry making, wood working, book binding, or hula hooping (yes, you can take classes in that and it’s really fun).

2. Shake Off the Dust

You don’t have to go all out or spend a lot of money, but even styling your hair in a new way for a day, taking a fresh look at your clothes (pairing an old scarf with a basic white t-shirt), or putting on lipstick if you normally go bare-faced can perk up your spirits.

3. Clean Sweep

Sure, we’d all love to have a visit by the cleaning fairy, but if that’s not happening in your house right now, spiff up the one room you spend the most time in. It won’t take as long as a whole-house cleaning marathon and will have the biggest mood-boosting effect. If it’s the kitchen, get stuff off the counters and shine the stove top. If you want your bedroom to be more peaceful, put clothes away, wash the curtains, and wipe off your bedside table. Make every surface in your bathroom shine. And if you are always in your car, do that instead!

4. Get Out

Enjoying the outdoors is one of the best cures for the blahs. Doing something active is the best way to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, but there’s something to be said for sitting down with your face tilted up to the sun for a few minutes as well. Being still and listening to the birds and all the outdoor activity around you is good for your soul.

5. Rest Your Eyes on Something Different

Part of learning how to be inspired is working with what you have right now. If you just feel like you need to get out of the same old thing, go somewhere different – today. Visit a new store on the way home from work, stop in the town center you have never visited, or grab a cup of coffee where you can sit outside and watch the world for 15 minutes. Don’t ponder how you can afford to take the time or money to go away, plan how to find something new with the time and money you have and just do it.

Getting out of a rut shouldn’t be a big deal, but it might take a little creativity!

Spring Cleaning for Your Computer, Tablet, or Phone

Spring Cleaning for Your Computer, Tablet, or Phone

It’s March, which means it’s finally time for warmer weather, basketball, and … yes, spring cleaning! 

After a particularly rough winter in the United States, we all might be feeling even more cloistered than usual. From Chicago to Atlanta, it’s been freezing – and the great outdoors has reminded us all of the benefits of the great indoors. 

Just as things can accrue in the real world, they seem to add up as well in the digital realm, and right now is a better time than ever to spring-clean your phone, tablets, and computers. Here are a few short tips on how to conduct spring cleaning on your beloved electronic devices.

1. Tackle that Desktop

When you open your computer, do you see a few unwanted icons on the desktop? There might be a few files from forever ago. If you have a Windows machine, wrangle the unused icons into a single folder. If you have a Mac, feel free to make folders and archives for files you haven’t opened in the past three months. You can even move apps, photos, files away from the computer completely by dropping them onto an external hard drive or USB. 

Basics: Just rearranging the desktop will give you peace of mind. 

Bonus Points: Moving photos, files, and apps onto an external drive will free up your computer’s memory. 

2. Empty your email. Or at least, filter it! 

Gmail has a great feature that allows you to filter current messages as well as all incoming future messages. If you love those emails from your mom but you’d still like to hear from your favorite blog, consider making an email folder just for Family messages, and another one for Media. Here’s more on how to do this. 

Instead of a single large inbox, you’ll be able to access mail in smaller, more organized folders. You can even set up filters to send unwanted messages directly to the trash. 

Basics: Make a few filters in @gmail using the handy tips here. 

Bonus Points: Do you really need those emails from Staples or that candle store that you visited once with your sister? Unsubscribe entirely! It takes a few seconds and it saves many more. If only unsubscribing with snail mail were so easy.  

3. Consider donating, re-gifting, or trading in unused device 

If you’re anything like me, you might have a digital camera from 10 years ago that’s shoved away in a drawer somewhere. Though we’ve had some good memories, it may be time to donate the camera, or give it to a person who can make use of it. 

Another option: trading in old devices for new ones. Old phones can usually be traded in or sold. Same thing for tablets and computers. 

That said, some devices have staying power, and others … not so much. If you finish spring cleaning with your electronics and you find you’re in the market for a new computer/phone/tablet, it’s good to ask a lot of questions before purchasing new tech. Here’s a few that can help:

1. What kind of processor does this machine have? (Intel Core processors are great)

2. Will it be able stay functional (and fun!) for at least five years? 

3. If it is broken/crashed/falls into a pool of goo, what kind of options are there for repair/replacement? 

4. If this computer/phone/tablet has problems, how reliable is tech support? 

A device that’s kept healthy can stay alive and active for years. If a new computer/digital camera/phone is on your wishlist, consider the options carefully before buying. 

And there you have it! Those are my tips for streamlining all things electronic in your life. I hope this is helpful, and have fun with cleaning, repurposing, and revitalizing your devices!