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The official blog of the NALS docket, used as a timely resource for sharing content from our email newsletter. This includes Grammar Nuggets, Career Corner, chapter and members spotlights, and more! Articles are written and provided by our own members, Resource Center Staff, and our community of legal professionals. All content and articles will be published directly to our NALS.org website and linked to the NALS docket newsletter. This email venue for NALS will inform you of upcoming deadlines and monthly education product highlights from our online store. Copy + paste this link to sign up for updates: https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001JH2FKM034UVKDAYd6vkCfwIybKDCjBA-5dH7wJhSTjXN-eWSgRsnK6Q_LdfewGHvnwcVoakgipMvhoKPHed-94e5siy7js7FrJp_sV9e8Aw%3D

 

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Tech Tips for Microsoft Word

Posted By NALS Editorial + Marketing Board, Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2019

Typing in MS Word? What if you couldn’t use your mouse?

You can use sentences for the basic actions without your hands leaving the keyboard!

Remember there are many ways to do the same actions. 

 

Here are some suggestions:

 

Highlight a Section to Reformat

This action will probably be used the most.  If you need to highlight a section of the document to change the font or indent or move a paragraph, place the cursor up to where you need to start, then press and hold Shift and arrow across (for a word) or down (for a paragraph).  You will see the text become highlighted.  You can bold it (Ctrl + B), underline it (Ctrl + U), or italicize it (Ctrl + I).

 

MS Word Copy and Paste

You can copy and paste without your hands leaving the keys.  Think of the sentences “Alt, Edit, Copy” and “Alt, Edit, Paste.”  Now highlight what you need to copy and paste by pressing Shift, Ctrl, and the appropriate arrow key.  Then press Alt, E, C, (Alt Edit Copy), then arrow to where you want to insert text and press Alt, E, P (Alt Edit Paste).  By the way, Alt, E, U will “Undo” what you just pasted (Alt Edit Undo).

 

Moving a Paragraph

To highlight the paragraph or section you need to move, start with the cursor at the beginning of the section.  Press Shift and arrow down.  Then think of your actions in sentences– Alt Edit Copy, (Alt, E, C), Alt Edit CuT (Alt, E, T), move the arrow to the new location and type Alt Edit Paste (Alt + E + P). If oops, think of Alt Edit Undo and type (Alt, E, U).

 

MS Word File Save and Exit

Even though MS Word has an automatic save feature that you can set the time on, what if you were interrupted and didn’t want to lose what you just typed?  Think of the sentence, “Alt, File, Save” and press Alt, F, S.  If you need to close the file, think “Alt, File, eXit” and press Alt, F, X.  The program may ask you if you want to save it.  Press “Y” for Yes and the file will save and close.

 

Indent Left Side of Paragraph

To indent just the left side of a paragraph, Highlight the text and move the arrow up to where you need to start. Then touch Tab, the whole paragraph will move to the right.  To undo this action, move the arrow to the left of the first word and touch Backspace.  Or type Alt Edit Undo (Alt, E, U).

 

Indent Both Sides of Paragraph

To indent both sides of a paragraph takes a little more reading.  Highlight the paragraph by placing the cursor up to where you need to start, then press and hold Shift and arrow down. Press and let go of the Alt key and on the toolbar you will see little boxes with letters in them. Press Alt then P to go to the Page Layout tab.  Then press Alt, P again, you will see little boxes with letters. Use the tab key to go to Indent Left.  Type in 0.5 for a ½ inch margin to the left. Repeat Alt, P, tab over to Indent Right and type in 0.5 to move right margin ½ inch.

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The Art of Planning a Membership Drive

Posted By Marie Schoenfeldt, PLS, CLA, Garland County LSP, Arkansas, Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2019

Whether planning a wedding or an organization event, you need a plan, a schedule, a list—something to use as a guide. Planning consists of setting goals.  However, don’t plan out of your reach so that expectations are impossible to attain right from the start. Goals should be realistic and challenging, but not set so low that there is no incentive. 

 

In planning a membership drive, your ultimate goal should be to improve membership by recruiting and retaining members. Identify what must be done first, second, etc., what can be postponed till later, what needs to be done now. What are the best methods to get to the end result?  Make your “to do” list starting out with your first priority. As you add to your list, rearrange priorities if necessary. Determine the methods of going from your first priority to the last item.  Set deadlines for each facet of your plan.

 

Your first priority is to select a committee. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate! Set a date to meet with your committee members at a time convenient for everyone. Discuss your goals.  What type of membership drive is best for your chapter and the legal community? Have a discussion on where to get the information you need to plan your event effectively. Encourage your committee members to offer their suggestions. Be especially cognizant of the potential of all of your members and get them involved. Ask them to set a personal goal to bring at least one potential new member to your membership event. 

 

Follow the same rules that apply to writing: what, when, where, who, why, and add a how. 

 

WHO. Our Association consists of legal professionals - secretaries, legal assistants, paralegals, file clerks, project assistants, law clerks, firm administrators, and office managers as well as attorneys. In addition to law firms, legal professionals will be found in law departments of corporations, trust departments of banks, legal departments of hospitals, etc. Reach out to all of the various areas involved in the legal field - court personnel (including court administrators and court reporters, circuit and county clerks) as well as city/municipal personnel, and process servers.  Don’t forget the local schools, (community and vocational). NALS offers a student discount.  

 

WHAT.  In addition to marketing our multi-level Association to legal professionals, we are also marketing our “products,” which include:

  • certifications,

  • legal education,

  • networking,

  • professionalism,

  • improvement of individual performance,

  • learning ways to do a task better,

  • learning to be a leader,

  • support of other members.

Prepare potential member packets with information about your chapter and the state and national associations. Brochures and other informational documents are readily available from NALS.  Include information about the certification programs and upcoming legal education and other events.

 

WHEN.   Determine the best time to conduct your membership drive - timing is crucial.  Early fall or after the first of the year have proven to be the best times—seasons of beginnings–when potential members are inclined to consider their careers and are conducive to improving themselves, in their employment and in their personal lives

 

WHERE.  Have your committee members check out possible locations to host your event.  The location should be readily available to potential members as well as current members.  Perhaps sponsor a social gathering at a local restaurant after work or at lunch in a quiet separate section. Remember members and potential members have responsibilities to their employers as well as their families.  Consider furnishing refreshments.

 

WHY.  If we don’t market our Association, how can we expect to get new members?  This should be an ongoing process.  All members should be proud to show that they are a members of a great professional association and let others know about our Association.  Members should always be aware of recruiting new members.

 

HOW.  There is more than one way to reach people.  Determine the best way for your chapter to reach potential members through direct correspondence and personal contact. Try educational events, direct mail, phone solicitations, in-person visits, staged recruitment events, and pro bono or community activities. Distribute brochures with information about your chapter and your state association (NALS also has many types of brochures available).   Place an article in the local newspaper regarding your upcoming membership drive with at least two contact people listed.  Choose a theme or slogan that is easily recognizable and easy to say and remember.  

 

Contacting the employers is a must.  Let them know why their support staff should be members of our Association and reap its benefits.  Market our products directly to them.  Get the employers’ assistance to encourage their staff to join and participate.  Let employers know that NALS offers a one-stop source for training, educating, and developing a professional staff who will be committed to their legal careers and to them.

 

Prepare a flyer outlining our Association’s benefits, indicating why one should consider membership.  In addition to our “products,” employers will have a “one stop” source for training, educating, and developing a professional staff who will be committed to their legal career and to the employer.  Set out the date, time, and place of your membership activity.  Fax the flyer to the various offices (law firms, trust departments, etc.) with an email reminder a few weeks later or hand deliver your information.  These methods are at no cost to the chapter.

 

Project enthusiasm about our Association and the benefits you have received.  Determination is needed to gain members who are enthusiastic, positive, and eager to be a part of NALS.  Those who look at their job as a profession will see NALS as a stepping stone to achieve their goals.

 

Now is the time to start planning to increase your membership!

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How to Write the Perfect Email — Tips and Tricks

Posted By Devon Delfino from Grammarly.com/Blog, Thursday, November 29, 2018
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2018

Whether you’re an up-and-coming young professional or a seasoned manager, email is a vital aspect of business communication. And thanks to what’s often seen as the mysteries of English grammar and the subtleties of the written word, it can be a daily struggle. That’s especially true if you have to motivate busy people to respond or address a potentially touchy subject. To write a great email, you need to know two things: common mistakes to avoid and next-level strategies to get ahead.

But first things first—you have to know what a great email looks like if you’re going to write one.

  

Anatomy of a good email


Every email has the same basic structure: Subject line, greeting, email body, and closing. But as with every written form of professional communication, there’s a right way to do it and standards that should be followed. Here’s what you need to know to craft a solid email:

1. Subject line

The subject line could be the most important part of the email, though it’s oftentimes overlooked in favor of the email body. But if you’re cold-emailing someone, or just establishing a professional relationship, your subject line can entice people to open the message as well as set expectations about what’s enclosed. On the other hand, a poorly crafted or generic subject line (like “Hi” or “You don’t wAnt to miss thos”) can deter the reader and result in your email landing in the spam folder.

“Spend double the amount of time crafting the right subject line than you do on the [body] because if they don’t open the email it doesn’t matter,” says Cole Schafer, founder and copy chief of Honey Copy.

2. Openers

In most emails, you’ll want to include a quick greeting to acknowledge the reader before diving into your main message or request.

The exception: When you’re on an email chain with close colleagues, it often becomes more natural to drop the opener (as well as the closing). Though it may initially feel like a faux pas, it signals a better professional rapport.

3. Body

The body of an email is the meat of your message, and it must have a clear and specific purpose, such as getting feedback on a presentation or arranging a meeting with a new client. It should also be concise. That way, people will be more inclined to read it, rather than skimming it and risking missing critical information. If you can, boil it down to a few choice sentences.

And for emails that require more length and detail, keep it as focused as you can. “Nobody wants to receive a novel. You want to keep it between three, four, or five lines of text,” says Schafer.

4. Closings

Just as you want to start things off on the right foot with your greeting, you also want to part well. That means writing a friendly sign-off. And there are plenty of options to choose from.

For example, here are 12 common, and professional, closings that Grammarly users chose on a given day:

You’ll want to choose a closing that feels genuine to your personality and tailor it to the relationship to ensure an appropriate level of professionalism. On the other hand, common closings like “love,” “sent from iphone,” or “thx,” may be best left unused in professional emails.

 Common mistakes (and what to do instead)

Just as every email is an opportunity for professional growth, there’s also the potential to fall into common bad habits. Here are eight mistakes to avoid:

1. Omitting necessary Oxford commas

The Oxford comma can be somewhat polarizing, depending on which style guide is utilized for professional communications in your industry —it’s usually either shunned or hailed as a tool for clarification. Either way, a lot of people have strong opinions about it. But leaving them out can lead to confusion, depending on the sentence.

 

What to do instead: While the Oxford comma may not be suitable in certain contexts, it’s usually a good idea to use them in emails. That’s because it can help you save time and avoid miscommunication, confusion, and even legal trouble.

2. Hedging

Grammarly users know that when it comes to hedging, it’s better to omit it than leave it in, especially in emails. And if you’re worried about coming off as impolite, don’t be: Contrary to popular belief, hedging language makes you sound less confident, which can ultimately undermine your writing.

(Note: You can find a definition and explanation of hedging here.)

What to do instead: State your idea or opinion, then explain the “why” behind your reasoning. That way, you’ll be better understood and your brilliance can shine through.

3. Extremely long and/or unclear copy

Would you read an email that was 1,000 words long? Probably not—most people skim emails that are on the long side. And if you add hard-to-follow sentences or mixed messages, to your draft, you’re even less likely to get a satisfactory response. (Or any response.)

“I get a ton of [emails] that are just these huge blocks of text. And I understand why they do that—so you have enough detail. But it’s really hard to read and I’m not going to read the whole thing,” says Kat Boogaard, a Wisconsin-based freelance writer.

What to do instead: Keep it concise and focus on the matter at hand. Then end with a call to action, a requested response date, and make it clear that you’re open to questions and follow-ups (if that’s the case).

4. Being too casual (or formal)

Depending on your circumstances, wavering too much to the casual or formal side of writing can be a misstep. Being overly casual is often seen as a rookie mistake, but stiff, formal language can also be detrimental to your message.

What to do instead: In striking the perfect balance between formal and casual, the key is thinking about the relationship between you and the recipient and take social cues as your communication progresses.

“You kind of want to see what someone else is doing and participate, play along, sort of acknowledge the way communication develops and the way expectations in a relationship develop,” says Dan Post Senning, an etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute.

Here’s a tip: While GIFs and emojis can be great for creating a sense of comradery between coworkers, these can be seen as overly casual in many contexts.

“Be careful in new relationships. The intelligent use of emoticons in emails can help you be more understood. At the same time, a lot of people will read it as unprofessional, so until you’ve established that relationship, you want to be careful with how you use it. Take care and think about it,” says Post Senning.

5. Cliches

Not all email cliches are cardinal sins. Certain aspects of your emails are bound to be a little formulaic. After all, most emails have the same basic structure, and there are phrases that you may use to ensure clarity or cover your bases. But if you’re going to repeat phrases, make sure they have a clear purpose.

As Kiera Wright-Ruiz, a social media manager at Google’s Local Guides puts it, “Even though I always repeat, ‘please let me know if you have any questions,’ I actually do want to know if they have questions.”

However, most of the time, you’ll want to edit out cliches whenever possible since they can make people tune out. Here are the top seven to avoid:

What to do instead: Try reading the draft for cliches, tone, and voice to more effectively communicate your message while keeping the reader engaged. Ask yourself: If your boss (or mom) read this email, would you be happy with it? If the answer is yes, then you’re on the right track.

6. Repetition

People often repeat words within the same paragraph, twice in two sentences, or just too close together to go unnoticed. While it’s not the worst offense, it’s another thing that can make a reader tune out.

Here are the most commonly repeated words to avoid:

What to do instead: Try reading your draft out loud, using the text-to-speech function on your phone, or running it by a colleague before sending it off. Grammarly can also help you catch these repeated or overused words.

 7. Robotic language

Email may be a descendant of snail mail, but that doesn’t mean your messages should sound like an old-timey version of your. In fact, emails should sound like the person who is writing it. So using phrases that sound like something out of a Victorian novel isn’t the best move if you want to connect with the reader.

“Let’s face it: Nobody wants to read a college textbook. You want to read a blog or an article or a real conversation. They’re a person, they’re not a robot. So use language that sounds like something you would say if you’re just sitting in a coffee shop,” says copy chief Schafer.

What to do instead: You can get a more natural effect by pretending you’re writing to a friend or having a conversation with a friendly acquaintance. For example, you probably wouldn’t say something like, “Greetings” and “I hope the weather is fair where you are” if you were meeting someone for coffee. You’d say something like, “Hi” and “Thanks again for your time.”

8. Overuse of exclamation points!

Enthusiasm is great. But in certain contexts, the overuse of exclamation points can do more harm than good. This is especially true if you’re forging a new relationship or contacting someone outside of your company. You are, after all, a representative of your work when you use a company email address. But people love exclamation points, and they’re still something that many people rely on to convey a positive tone.

For example, here are the most common sentences and words people use with exclamation points in emails:

What to do instead: After you’ve written your draft, do a quick search for exclamation points and use your judgment to determine which (if any) to keep based on your relationship with the recipient. As a general rule, try to keep it to one or two per email with colleagues.

 Next-level email moves

Once you’ve got the basic structure and you know what mistakes to avoid, it’s time to focus on making your drafts stand out from the myriad emails most people get every day. Here are four strategies to take yours to the next level:

Think positive

Sending an email that is remotely negative, or even neutral, can put you in a tricky place. And as with any written communication, there may be room for misinterpretation.

“In the absence of other information, our interpretation often defaults to the negative,” explains communication-etiquette expert Post Senning. “When you’re talking about negative communication, you’re [missing] the information that is tone of voice, the twinkle in your eye, the good humor that you intend something with or even the genuine care or concern with which you’re offering critique. So be really careful. When something reads as negative to you it probably comes across as even more negative to someone else.”

Personalize each interaction

You wouldn’t want to get an email that reads, “Dear [client],” or which references your work in public relations when you’re actually in sales, because it would immediately show that the sender is either mass emailing you, or they didn’t do the proper research to find the right contact. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure that every email you send is crafted specifically for the recipient and that you’re sending it to the right person.

So even though it may be tempting to use templates, it’s important to personalize it and keep in mind the communication style of the recipient before hitting send. To accomplish this, a quick Google search or a peek at the recipient’s LinkedIn or Twitter feed can do wonders. Before sending, try putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes for a gut-check on tone and content.

Follow up—in good time

If you’re sending an email, you’re likely looking for a timely response. But with the large amounts of emails most people sort through each day, things can end up getting lost. As a general rule, a follow-up message should never come less than 24 hours after sending the initial email.

In other words: Don’t be the person who sends a follow-up request two hours after sending your email. In extreme cases, that kind of behavior can even get you blocked. “When you’re taking more time and actually caring about the person on the other side of the email, you’re immediately going to see a much higher response rate. I had to learn that the hard way,” says copy chief Schafer.

Make it easy on the eyes

Most of the messages you send will likely be on the shorter side, which is great for rapid responses and getting things done. But for longer emails, scannability is the name of the game. That’s when things like bolded font, bullet points, underlined sentences, and a TL;DR (too long, didn’t read) section come in handy.

There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when composing an email, and there’s a wide margin of error. But after all is said and done, it isn’t about perfection. It’s about effective communication.

“I think people feel this pressure that you need to be this perfect communicator with this huge vocabulary and these perfectly structured sentences. And I don’t know that that’s always the case because you’re just two people, communicating,” says freelance writer Boogaard.


 

This article was originally posted on Grammarly.com/Blog and reposted with permission.

 

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Success Story: Membership Growth of Legal Staff Professionals of South Carolina

Posted By Katherine Helms, PP, SCCP, Thursday, November 29, 2018
Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2018

Edited By: Jamie I. Early, Certified PP, PLS-SC, SCCP

 

On April 19, 2017, the South Carolina Supreme Court signed an order recognizing the NALS Professional Paralegal (PP) certification as one of three national certifications that paralegals must have earned through passage of a national examination in order to obtain the designation of South Carolina Certified Paralegal (SCCP).  The SCCP is administered by the South Carolina Bar through the South Carolina Board of Paralegal Certification as promulgated by the South Carolina Supreme Court. Our NALS state association, Legal Staff Professionals of South Carolina (LSPSC), utilizes this designation to increase and retain membership and to bring more awareness of NALS to both attorneys and staff in our legal community. For the past two years, LSPSC has held a statewide drawing and funded certification exam registration fees and study materials for three lucky members who plan to take any one of the NALS exams.

 

Since this state designation, we have held paralegal school presentations to create relationships with the students and their schools and to inform them of the SCCP designation which can be obtained through earning the NALS PP certification. We now have two LSPSC members who serve on these schools’ education boards and two who have been appointed by the South Carolina Supreme Court as members of the South Carolina Board of Paralegal Certification. Some of our local chapters waive the students’ membership fees and some of the schools pay for the students’ state fees.  A few of our local chapters even offer free study groups to their members for those who want to take a NALS certification exam. One of our chapters has held a career fair for graduating paralegal students where their resumes have been reviewed and mock interviews conducted prior to their meeting with recruiters. In return for these benefits, our goal is to encourage the schools and students to invest in our associations because they will see we are investing in them.

 

The next step LSPSC has taken is to reach out and network through social media. Facebook pages, such as Perfectly Paralegal, Paralegals Connect, and Paralegals of the Carolinas, have enormous resources for networking and marketing. Our association encourages its members to Like, Follow, Comment, and Post on all these pages and asks others to Like our local, state, and national Facebook pages. Our state association and all six local chapters now have very active Facebook pages. We post job positions, current events, announce membership meetings, welcome new members, and post anything else related to legal topics or association news. Once we began to interact and invite others to our pages, it was very  enlightening to learn that many paralegals had no idea there were even paralegal associations in this state, let alone in their area. In addition to Facebook, we also have LinkedIn pages for LSPSC and some of our local chapters.

 

To encourage retention, we also hold incentive drawings for our state meetings during the year to include CLE seminars, lunch, and meeting registration fees. These drawings are open to all levels of membership, including potential members. We continue to influence attendance at monthly membership meetings by encouraging the local chapters to hold their meetings during different times of the day, such as rotating meetings after work and during lunch. Some chapters provide lunch/dinner for a fee, other chapters welcome you to bring a bag lunch/dinner, and some chapters’ attendees bring light appetizers and desserts. Also, providing speakers in-person at meetings to discuss current topics  in which new or potential members may be interested is a huge plus, as it both encourages attendance by all and offers CLE hours for NALS certified members. We involve others by asking them to assist and reach out to speakers so that they feel invested in the meeting. In addition to these meetings, some of our chapters are becoming sponsors for certified CLEs through the South Carolina Bar. This sponsorship means that the CLE hours from an approved seminar may be counted toward the ten required hours to annually renew the SCCP.     

 

Due to the state certification designation (SCCP), our involvement in local paralegal schools, social networking with other associations, statewide incentives, and the promotion of monthly meetings, our overall membership has grown over 30% in one year, and we are looking forward to creating a new chapter in our state by the summer of 2019.

 

We have so much more work to do, but we continue our dedication to creating and maintaining relationships, while keeping open communication with our current and future members. LSPSC is enhancing membership to be more than numbers, as it’s about them and not us, by promoting new friendships, inspiring others through our passion and love of this association, and engaging everyone around us to the betterment of the legal profession as a whole.  

 


 

You can find Legal Staff Professionals of South Carolina online at LSPSC.org. They are also on Facebook here. 

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10 Ways to Push Yourself to Think Outside the Box

Posted By Veronica Ramirez, Thursday, October 18, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2018

Although the jargon may be a bit overused, people who think outside the box are often labeled as innovators, a desirable quality in life and business. It’s easy and safe to go with the flow, but leaders buck trends rather than follow them.

Why is it hard to think outside the box?

We’ve all been in that meeting where the team was encouraged to “think outside the box.” The problem is that we’re creatures of habit and most of us prefer the comfort of familiar routines. Thinking outside the box can mean challenging long-held beliefs. It’s about answering “These are our best practices” not with a nod but with a raised eyebrow.

Companies often avoid risks that could hurt their profits, even when there are plenty of success stories to illustrate that some risks not only pay off, they pay off big. Steve Jobs was fired by the board of directors of the company he founded. But later, after Apple bought the NeXT Operating System his team created, Jobs went on to become the CEO of Apple and stocks rose 9,000 percent under his leadership.

Despite the chance for failure and rejection, risks are essential for growth on a personal and business level. And yet, although we’re often told we should think outside the box, we’re rarely told how.

 

 

How to Think Outside the Box

When you’re struggling to come up with fresh ideas, there are some simple tricks to help you step out of your comfort zone and think innovatively.

Ask a child what they would do.
With their vivid imaginations, kids are natural innovators.

Simplify it.
If you think your problem is too complicated for a child to understand, take some time to figure out how to explain it. Richard Feynman, the late Nobel Laureate in physics, is attributed with saying, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it.” Sometimes the very act of figuring out how to explain a complex problem in simple terms results in an innovative solution.

Ask “What would I do differently if I were starting from scratch?”
Routine is the enemy of innovative thinking, but so is a precedent. Sometimes, we struggle to shift away from the way we’ve always done things. Imagining a clean slate can help you change perspective and think outside the box.

Ask why.
Most of the pushback we get—whether from management, colleagues, or our brains—comes with a simple phrase: “That’s how we’ve always done it.” We’re hardwired to resist change, especially when what we’ve been doing has been working okay, if not spectacularly. When the routine is the roadblock, “why” is the battering ram. Asking “But why have we always done it that way?” can reveal flaws and make way for creative thinking.

Flex your brain muscles.
Psychology Today suggests a few surprising exercises that can get your brain unstuck when you’re trying to think outside the box.

  • Alphabetize letters in words. Take any word (the one you’re reading, or just thinking) and alphabetize the letters. So, the word B-R-A-I-N would become A-B-I-N-R.

    What makes this mental gymnastics so terrifically boosting to your brain is that you’re forced to use all the information—all the letters—and entirely rearrange it in your mind. Try this for five minutes a day, three days a week. Increase the number of letters in words you are alphabetizing as you get more proficient.

    —Mike Byster, Psychology Today

  • Lose the letter E. Challenge your friends to use words in conversation that don’t have the letter E (the most oft-used vowel in the English language) in them. It’s excellent work that will get you thinking in new directions.

  • Add a series of one-digit numbers in your head . . . fast. Quick! What’s 8+6+9+3+2+4+7?

Take a class.
Learning something new can help you look at the things you already know how to do from a completely different angle.

Freewrite.
Freewriting is the act of picking a topic, setting a timer for a short amount of time, and writing as fast as you can without stopping to edit. It flows best if you do it with a pen and paper rather than on a computer. The timer adds some pressure to keep writing, forcing your brain to think creatively instead of conventionally.

Draw a picture.
You don’t have to know how to draw, pick up whatever tools you have on hand (even crayons!) and tap into a completely different part of your brain. It can free your thoughts.

Mindmap.
Write a word or phrase. Draw a circle around it. Draw a branch and a related word or phrase. Circle that. Repeat. The practice unlocks ideas. You can find examples here.

Take a walk.
A Stanford study revealed that walking frees your creativity both during the walk and for a short time after. Give it a try!

 


 

This article was originally posted on Grammarly.com/Blog and reposted with permission.

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