Some Practices To Get You Out Of A Rut

Set Actionable Priorities

I do not want to be stuck in a rut for any longer than necessary: it’s a feeling that is no fun whatsoever. Recognizing that I’m in the rut in the first place is a good first step, but it’s only that, and to get out of it something is going to need to change, and fast.

The first thing I do is to try to write down one or two things that I would like to do this week that are not strictly necessary either to my daily routine or, for much of anything else in terms of work and big life plans. That is to say, I try to make some time for something refreshing or fun.

It might seem like a small thing, but writing down a specific action to take gives you something to do, instead of merely thinking about how you would like things to be different. Especially when you’re stuck in a rut to begin with, it’s easy to let apathy creep in and to begin feeling like you don’t want to do anything at all. Even at those moments, though, you’re probably capable of following a to-do list for the day that includes something specifically designed to be a break from your normal routine in a way that is fun and interesting.

When first breaking out of a rut, I try to pick something to do that satisfies two requirements: it has to be engaging to distract me from feeling bored with my daily routine, and, secondly, it should be something I can do without having to leave the house. This week, that meant picking up and practicing my tenor saxophone for the first time in a few years. It takes my full attention, it’s fun, and it gives me something to look forward to in a work day.

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