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How to get “unstuck”

We all get stuck. It may be in the middle of a project, a manuscript, a meeting or a presentation.  It may be something we have done before or something that is completely new.  We may have prepared and planned for months and thought we had it all figured out or it may be something we have procrastinated on until the deadline is way too close for comfort.  Regardless of where you are right now, here are 3 ideas to help you get “unstuck” today!

  1. Recognize you are stuck.  This is critically important.  You have to recognize that you are staring at the same screen or the same people and not making forward progress. You may be beating yourself up or feeling guilty about it, but don’t!  Just pause, reflect and face the fact that you are stuck.
  2. Ask for help.  This is the best way to get unstuck.  Find someone you trust, who has the ability to support you in whatever project you are working on and ask them for their time and perspective.  They don’t have to have all the answers or be an expert in what you are doing, but they do need to know you well and have a general idea of the topic or project or situation.  Schedule time with this person and try to see one another – whether it’s in person or via video chat.  Show them what you are doing, where you are and tell them you are stuck! For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I was working on a manuscript that has an impending deadline.  I had collected 35 pages of data and information and was completely overwhelmed with it all.  I asked for help from one of my closest friends and colleagues and scheduled a video chat with her to discuss it.  She was able to see the frustration and discouragement on my face and listened to my struggle.
  3. Take their advice. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get stubborn and think you have to keep trying what you’ve already been doing – only more diligently.  NO! This is how you got stuck in the first place!  During the video chat with my colleague about the manuscript, she told me to stop looking at the 35 pages, start a new document and begin writing what I already know.  Wow…she was SO right.  This fresh start and perspective helped me get unstuck and actually have fun again with the manuscript.  It seemed really simple, but it was critical for me to take her advice!

As you think about where you are stuck today, I encourage you to recognize you are stuck, consider who might be able to help you get unstuck and schedule that meeting with him or her today!

What about you? How has someone helped you get unstuck recently? 

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Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

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