Getting stuck is no fun, but it happens to all of us from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up for getting stuck. Instead, channel that energy into getting rolling again.
Here are six tips for getting unstuck and regaining momentum:
1. Revisit purpose
Revisit your purpose or fundamental reason for pursuing the activity in the first place. If your purpose is compelling, it may provide the inspiration you need to break through a sticking point.
2. Commit to a time block
Instead of feeling like you always have to complete a major project, just commit to allocating a pre-determined amount of time to make as much progress as possible. I often employ this technique when I need to work on something I am not looking forward to. I simply commit to a 30 or 60 minute sprint. At the end of time block, I generally feel much better about the project, having made meaningful progress. Sometimes, I find that the sprint gives me the energy to finish the work altogether.
3. Put yourself on deadline
I tend to procrastinate when I am not under the gun. A hard deadline (with a promised reward – see tip #4) can provide the needed focus to get moving again.
4. Celebrate progress
Reward yourself (and the team) for completing key milestones. I like to identify the reward for completing a milestone in advance. For example, once I get this <critical activity> completed, I will reward myself with <dinner at my favorite restaurant, a fun hike or run, movie night, etc.>.
5. Lose the distracting clutter
Identify anything that is distracting you from the critical issue at hand and get rid of it, move it, or shut it off. This might be physical distractions (a messy work area, competing work documents), electronic distractions (email or social media notifications) or simply a worrisome issue. Perhaps you need to change your work environment altogether to isolate yourself from the clutter. Consider an enhanced work space for the afternoon, for a two-day retreat, or perhaps as a new permanent workplace.
6. Get an outside POV
Sometimes it’s your perspective that needs to change in order to make it over the hump. To test that idea, reach out to trusted advisors to see what you can learn from their point-of-view. A fresh set of eyes and a creative suggestion may be the subtle nudge you need to break out.
Getting stuck happens to all of us, but don’t stay stuck!