You’re stuck. We’ve all been there.
Whether it’s on a project for work, in a relationship with a partner or a friend, or just a general “What should I do with my life?!” existential inquiry, we all experience moments of “stuck-ness”; not knowing where or when or how to start (or what to do next).
But you don’t have to stay there. And it may be easier than you think to move forward.
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
– Mark Twain
We’ve got a few tips to help you find clarity and start fresh.
Break It Down & Map It Out
Start by breaking your project—or your problem—down into the smallest possible chunks. Instead of saying that you need to finish the Board Meeting presentation in three weeks, figure out the first small step (maybe it’s to find out who will be in attendance) . . . and the next (create an agenda) . . . and the next (select a location) after that.
You may find that this process requires a couple of rounds, too. Once you’ve listed out your tasks, go through them again, and see if you can break them down even further!
Once you’ve done that, work backwards from your final deadline and give each task its own mini-deadline. Then, map them out in your Day Designer, ensuring you have a plan to keep yourself on track and on deadline!
A lot of “stuck-ness” comes from a feeling of overwhelm or just not knowing where to start. By breaking things down and mapping them out, you take care of both of those issues in an instant.
Start With Small Wins
Start small. Ask yourself: What’s the one thing I can do right now to make progress on my goal or start moving in the right direction?
We feel stuck without forward momentum—but too often we think that to get going, we have to accomplish something big. Not true! Start with a small win.
Pick a task that is quick and easy, and get it done immediately. Like, right now. What could you do in this moment to start making progress?
This small win may just give you the motivation you need.
Begin At The End
Sometimes (okay, almost always) the first step is the hardest to take—so why not skip it?
We’re not advocating for skipping over important tasks or avoiding tough steps, but sometimes beginning with the end in mind (or, in this instance, literally starting at the end) can be exactly what you need to get started!
Think about it: Can you start at the end (or in the middle) of your next project? This shift in perspective—and forward momentum—may help you find an even better way to begin than you thought of before!
And once you’ve gotten the ball rolling—even if you don’t start at the “start,” as it were—it’ll be that much easier to go back to the beginning and work your way through!
Try Something Different
We get stuck when we approach different things the same way over and over and over again. Often, all you need to get “un-stuck” is a change—a change in environment, a change in process, a change in communication.
What can you change to help you see your project or your problem from a whole new perspective? The aforementioned tip to “begin at the end” is a great example; you might also try taking your laptop to your local park and working in the sunshine or talking an idea through out loud (and recording yourself on your phone) instead of trying to write down everything in your head.
Try something new. Shake things up! And get excited by all that spills forth once you “un-stick” it.
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Remember, you don’t have to stay stuck. Every second is a new moment for a fresh start!