A few questions from a reader today -
I've been in a slump recently where I have gotten very little done, and i was trying to figure out how to stop it. I could clearly see I was slacking off, falling into a pattern (probably an old one) of using my time more or less pointlessly and getting only the essentials done (which i was greatful for). I was able to turn a good portion of the wasted time toward something productive, but the time itself I still consider a waste, things I was doing without an intension to use the experience.
So I have two question here. Whats the best way to pull yourself out of a slump, to re-engage yourself and bring yourself back up to the projected level of prductivity (or at least a realistic level) ?
Fundamentals. Fundamentals are the only way out of slumps. A little exercise, a little eating well, enough sleep, some time in nature or breathing, some time with people you like, setting goals at the beginning of the day for the day, starting work on those right away, and sleeping on a decent schedule.
That's the only way I've found. There's no magic. When in a rut, work on fundamentals to get out. While that's not always easy, that seems to be the only way. Also, celebrate the small victories. If you're off-track and doing things even a little right, have a little celebration.
From my own Personal Operations and Principles document, which I'll brush up and publish sooner or later; but think later rather than sooner. This particular one strikes me as something not reflected on often enough:
XVIII. Ordering the Chaos: Many -- perhaps most -- of culture is ordering the external world against chaos for the mind of the person immersed in the culture. Two of the unique characteristics of the mind are (1) it is incredibly good at pattern-matching, and (2) the untrained mind looks first to confirm its current understanding and see the patterns it already accepts. Because the patterns of the natural world do not take heed of human desires, of human views of fairness and unfairness, of the human need for an orderly world that makes sense, the mind sees chaos and meaninglessness and gets into immense distress. This is alleviated by culture, which orders and creates a pattern for the mind to match. The culture/cultures you accept to order the world for you are one of the most important things affecting what becomes of your life, your mind, and your happiness. You already have accepted immense amounts of culture; it becomes up to you to identify what culture you have accepted, and gradually shift it over time to what will produce a life that would be in line with what you wish internally and the external world simultaneously. Some cultures are better at this than others.