Perspective is something that can be elusive when we need it most. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own problems or even everyday routines and forget to look past our own noses. Here are a few different methods of taking a step back and looking at life from another angle.
Sometimes the best way to get a bit of perspective is to take ourselves out of our normal routine. This can be as complicated as taking off to travel the world or as simple as allowing yourself an actual day off to be sick. Author Sheila Heti has high praise for the latter in her Letter of Recommendation for the New York Times. Her essay expounds on the benefits of lying in bed and letting “all the thoughts of the last few months, all your experiences and memories, float up in your head.” She advocates it as a time to take stock and reflect on your place in life.
If you’re looking for an alternate way to solve a problem with a project, try procrastinating. I have found putting things on the back burner can help them simmer away and mature into something better. In fact, I have been putting off writing this post for almost exactly a month. But don’t take my word for it, Adam Grant, a professor of management and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania has written a very convincing piece on the matter called ‘Why I Taught Myself To Procrastinate.’ “When you procrastinate,” Grant says, “you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns.”
Then again, maybe procrastination isn’t your problem, maybe you have too much distance from your projects and too many ideas you’re procrastinating on. Graphic novel author and productivity guru Jessica Abel calls this “idea debt” in her piece ‘Imagining Your Future Projects Is Holding You Back.’ She defines it as “when you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.” Abel suggests breaking down your project into doable steps and doing said steps. So come down to earth, make a plan, and do it!
Note: I found ‘Why I Taught Myself To Procrastinate’ and ‘Imagining Your Future Projects Is Holding You Back’ through Austin Kleon‘s newsletter.
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