How to Get Unstuck - 5 Steps

5 steps to breaking through the wall

How often do you have a project / task to do, but find yourself in neutral, with your wheels spinning? Staring at your computer screen, messing around with email, flitting from one piece of paper to another, and getting more and more frustrated because you have an objective, a deadline, and you are getting further and further behind?

It happens to me, but not as often as it used to.

There are different forms of being stuck and in an upcoming article, I write about conquering those things that you are resisting. Often, however, your being stuck is less about resisting something, and more about not being clear (and right) about what to do next. Here are 5 steps to get you unstuck:

1. Stop. Breathe.

If you have to, take a quick break to clear your head.

2. Answer these questions

Am I really clear about what the exact next action is? What do I think it is?

3. Then, answer these questions

Why am I not doing it? Am I missing information, do I need to make a decision first, or is there some other step that precedes this action? If so, what is THAT action. (And, can I do that action right now, or is there another action that precedes it?)

4. Do the very next action.

(This part is actually really simple when the rest is clear.)

5. Now, what is the next action?

Voila. Unstuck.

The idea of focusing on the exact next action item comes from Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. A virtual “cult” of productivity fans has formed around this book, known as GTD. I highly recommend for anyone who can squeek out more productivity…not by doing more or working harder, but rather by setting up structures that free your mind from worrying about what is not getting done. Great coaching.

What's Holding You Back in Your Career?