Self Improvement

How to Reset Your Life to a More Productive Version

Trevor Dobrygoski 17-03-2015

Do you ever get to a point in your week where you seem to be on autopilot? You’re tired and just don’t want to work harder to get the remainder of your to-do items done. Do you feel like you’re in a rut Stranded In A Career Rut? 10 Ways To Reboot Your Work Focus Today The longer you feel like you're stuck in a career rut, the harder it can be to escape. Here are a few methods to bring focus, excitement and purpose back to your work-life. Read More and treading water waiting for someone to rescue you or something to happen where you can clean the slate and start over?


A reset can sometimes be necessary for you to break out of the slump and progress.

Most of us are hoarders 8 Essential Tools For the Digital Hoarder Yes - I'm a digital hoarder - and my hard drive was so full I had to buy a 4TB NAS. Movies, music, photos, eBooks, stock footage -- I just know I'll get around to... Read More in one way or another. Some people collect apps on their mobile devices, some fill their hard drives with photos, some collect trinkets, and yet others collect obligations. Mental or physical, at some point you will need to sift through the mess and find the foundation to move forward.

The Idea Behind a “Reset”

When we get to the point where we feel like we can’t handle another thing being added to our plate, it’s time to reset and start from scratch. This reset is scary.

Calling it quits and starting over means admitting failure. We are stubborn.

The alternative, to starting over is, digging our daily rut deeper and living the same day over and over again — without trying to be happier or be more productive.


Analyze the Rut

When working on anything, an easy way to start analyzing your rut is to think to yourself…

“Why am I doing this, is it helping me toward (___enter goal here___)?”

This can be work or personal tasks. There is usually some underlying goal you are trying to achieve when you are busting your hump trying to check everything off your to-do list Gamify Your Life Better With These HabitRPG Tips This web app makes improving yourself actually addictive. Whether you're just starting out your quest or are a long-time adventurer, learn to use it better with these insider tips. Read More .

Take a look at your day and where your time goes The Quantified Self: How To Track Your Life With Your iPhone If you track your actions, you will be able to do them better. However, tracking can be tiresome if you don't have the right tools. Let's make it as simple as possible. Read More . Look at the things in your daily life bogging you down and start to match up the daily activities to your end goal.



Being totally honest with ourselves is ironically hard. The easiest lies to tell are the ones we tell ourselves, yet it’s totally necessary to be honest with ourselves. Self-awareness is a critical step for any change program. An old-fashioned pros and cons list can be a powerful agent of change.

As Dr. Atul Gawande points out in The Checklist Manifestosimple checklists can improve any outcome. is a cool site to help you out with your list. Each pro or con is weighted. You can rate the pro or con with an emotional and a rational rating. Once the list is completed, you’ll have a score to help make your decision more clearly visible.


Pro Con List

Once we have a heart to heart with our self and figure out what’s bogging us down, we need to make a plan. Like any change, you’ll need to be ready and have the willpower and resources to make the change stick How to Work The Willpower Muscle Some people don't have the willpower problem. What makes those productive people different? As it turns out, there's plenty of research on the subject, and the answer turns out to be pretty simple Read More .

All of this sounds pretty basic, right?

Well, putting into action is the scary part. When you purge your life of things you are accustomed to Caught In A Technology Rut? 5 Simple Tips To Break Free Of Old Habits It can take a lot of time to keep up with cutting edge news, so we grow lazy and complacent with what we have. We end up settling for that which is less than ideal. Read More , you will resist. Even if you know it’s in your best interest to change.


Fight the Resistance

Our time — both for work and relaxation — is spent in the digital realm. It’s hard to stop using our computer, smartphone or tablet for pleasure when a distraction is just a couple clicks away 10 Daily Distractions To Improve Your Productivity Contrary to popular belief, there are some distractions that could actually make us more productive. Distractions need not be roadblocks...with these deliberate ways, they easily can be catapults. Read More .

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Fighting the resistance to clean your digital slate and reset things to a state where you’re not so cluttered can take some work. Start on the smaller side and work your way up to bigger things.

Take baby steps.

Take a master reset of your phone, for example. After you make sure you backup all of your contacts, pictures, and stuff you don’t necessarily need, hitting the final button to wipe everything is nerve racking. What if you missed something really, really important and it’s gone forever?

Android Reset

Once it’s cleared, the arduous process of installing all essential apps The Best Android Apps on the Google Play Store for 2019 Looking for the best Android apps for your phone or tablet? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for Android. Read More and logging into your accounts begins again. The process isn’t fun at all, but it is freeing. You can download the apps you absolutely need and see how long you can go without all the fluff apps.

Attachments to the status quo makes many people freeze and stay in their comfort zone. That’s why the smallest first step breaks resistance and builds momentum.

The Little Things You Can Do?

Technology is so pervasive, it can be the first place you begin resetting your life. If you have already made a list of the problems and decided to take action, here are some ways to act.


Start by purging your electronics. Getting rid of clutter in your digital life Clearing Out Clutter Is Good For You — But Why? Decluttering is a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a big sense of accomplishment — but there's more to it than that. This simple habit can improve your life. Read More can make your days feel less like an obstacle course. We all have computers and phones with little quirks because there is excess stuff on them.

As mentioned earlier, removing unused applications on your devices is a good place to begin. That game you played on your flight 6 months ago but haven’t since, yeah, you should really get rid of it.

Suck it up and delete it. You’re not going to play it again. If you are not able to decide, take help of apps like Frequency [No Longer Available]. See which apps you use, how much you use them, and when you use them.


Declutter and save money. Clearing out unused apps can save you dollars in hidden data expenses and also prolong your battery life Find out Which Apps Are Killing Your Android Battery If you're getting poor battery life on your device, you likely have an app abusing your battery in the background. Find out how to identify those apps and solve your battery problems. Read More .

Let’s say you are paying for Dropbox and have 1TB of space. What if you got rid of all the ebooks you won’t read, blurry pictures, and other junk files you’re holding onto Rid Your PC Of Outdated Bookmarks, Duplicate Files, Broken Shortcuts & Empty Folders [Windows] Collecting is part of human nature. Over the course of a life, we collect a lot of things. For a few decades, this has been including digital data. With every backup you make, you are... Read More . Would you be able to get by with less space and save a few dollars a month?

You don’t have to break a sweat. It is easy to manage Dropbox 3 More Ways To Manage Your Dropbox Files You May Not Know About Our favorite, all-time file sharing service, Dropbox, generously provides up to 2 gigs of file space for free. For many users this might be enough, but now that Dropbox is becoming the central cloud syncing... Read More with the right tools. Tools are Cloudsfer can also be used to declutter your online storage.

Scale back on subscriptions. Newsletter subscriptions 3 Easy Ways To Stop Email Overload From Hitting Your Inbox Email has quite a reputation as a productivity killer. Managing email well can help you keep your inbox clean, but wouldn’t it be great if you got less of it to begin with? Read More are huge inbox villains. The majority don’t help us move towards our goals and are just distractions. Dann shows a few ways to declutter newsletters 4 Decluttering Tips for Newsletters If You Don't Want to Trash Them How many e-mail subscriptions do you have? If you're like me, you have absolutely no idea, but you know that it's a lot. It's time to take action. Read More if you don’t want to trash them right now.

Simplify Your Organizing

Some people, including myself, are guilty of being too organized. To the extent of having a folder in a folder in a folder. Unless you go 5 layers deep into your sub-folders, you don’t know what you have. Aaron shows us how to create file and folder from the chaos of a disorganized desktop Creating Order From Chaos: 9 Great Ideas for Managing Your Computer Files It's frustrating isn’t it when you can’t find that file? When you’ve searched every folder imaginable on your computer, and somehow it got lost….or worse, deleted. Now, there are excellent search tools for Windows that... Read More .

Again, I have way too many labels in Gmail Rediscover Gmail Labels and Finally Tame Your Inbox There are plenty of tricks to deal with email overload, but there's one right under your nose that you might not be using: good old Gmail labels. Read More . With the great search feature most apps have, it’s not too necessary to be extra OCD in organizing files and emails. Simple grouping is good enough in most cases.

Reinstall The OS

Master reset your connected devices or clean the hard drive with a reinstall of the OS 4 Reasons Why You Might Want to Reinstall macOS Are there any good reasons to reinstall macOS on a MacBook or iMac? Yes! Here's when you should reinstall macOS. Read More . Start with a clean slate.

I took a tablet which was low on space 5 Android Apps That Really Clean Up Your Device (No Placebos!) These phone cleaner apps for Android help you clear out junk files taking up space on your device. Read More and cleared it of everything to help speed it up. Since it was a blank canvas, I made it into my work tablet. No games or anything unproductive on it.

work android no games installed

Only have what’s necessary to complete the tasks it’s used for. The more clutter on your device, the more likely you are to be distracted. Distraction defeats focus and that can inject unhappiness.

An interesting experiment by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that the more our minds wander, the less happy we are.

We see evidence for mind-wandering causing unhappiness, but no evidence for unhappiness causing mind-wandering.

Reset Your Routine

Make small changes to your routine to change your habits. Some habits like hopping over to Facebook every spare minute you have can be a hard habit to break. Try deleting the app from your phone and/or blocking Facebook and other social apps on your computer during certain times of the day. Or you could take Akshata’s excellent tip to play dirty with your habits How To Kill Bad Habits With Bad Habits In The New Year Bad habits can't be all that bad if they can help you in some way. Beat them at their own game by pitting them against each other. Read More .

If you don’t trust your willpower, apps like Offtime (Android), and Checky (iOS, Android) can help change your time-consuming phone habits and reset your digital lifestyle.

The Dirty Habit

Communicate Your Goals

Some parts of your life aren’t easy to reset though. If your spouse is a trigger for a particular habit, you will need to have a talk and explain what you’re trying to change. See if they can help by not triggering the (bad) habit or make you feel bad for not being a party to it.

It may be as simple as sending frequent text messages throughout the day or using a family email address to sign up for all kinds of sites that invite junk mail.

Communicate your goals and ask them to help, not hinder you.

Be it by choice or by disaster, at some point we all reboot our digital lives. Taking the initiative and making the needed changes on your own will do greater good than facing the costs of a hard drive crash or a digital burnout. The road back is a long one.

What part of your life is weighing you down? What can you do to wipe the slate clean and go at it in a new direction?

Image Credit: Werther mx via Wikimedia Commons, Landy4no via Wikimedia Commons, Organizing via Pixabay, The Dirty Habit via 

Related topics: Declutter, Motivation.

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  1. Doc
    March 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    "... wipe everything is nerve racking." *wracking*. Common mistake.

  2. George Monroe
    March 18, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    That would be me.