I am stuck. I’ve got a story due and my daughter’s birthday to plan and gotta call the cat sitter for that weekend we’re away in June and my calls are not being returned. Like no calls from anyone anywhere.
So far nothing is coming together. It’s all hard like slogging through. Sloppy mistakes – mine — miscommunications, fatigue, fussiness (also mine) – all a part of it.
Now what? How can we finish our must-dos when all we want to do is quit early, eat a bag of chips, and read the newest Coben, after the nap of course.
I’ve got five fail-safe strategies that are super simple, (and by simple I mean that even I can do them) to get you moving again when you are stuck.
1. Get your butt up. I just did this one. I got up, poured a cup of coffee and went out on the back deck for a couple of minutes, took some deep breaths. A brief change in environment can signal the end of the time-wasting and the beginning of the getting-shit-done phase, by disrupting the pattern of Super Stuckedness.
2. Keep it short. OK, so even though I did signal that it was time to work, it helps to know that I’m only going for 10 minute chunks. Research shows that we can only really stay focused and on tasks for 20 minutes at a time. Today, though, and many days, I’m lucky if I get a solid 10 minutes. Ten minutes. I can do that, right? After the 10, I get up, take a two minute break and hit it again. These baby-sized work chunks also help me make progress without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of some of the projects looming.
Now, here’s a little secret: By the time I’ve put in a solid 10, I am often so sucked into the work or the good feelings that come with knocking stuff off the to-do list finally, that I’ll keep on a bit longer. Always get more done than expected in those highly-focused chunks.
3. Blurt out a gratitude. When I’m feeling sucked under by the mundane tasks of life, I really get whiney and complainy — to use the technical terms. I can get fussy and upset over all the little things that are not that big of a deal. Mountains of molehills.
And most days, at exactly the same time that I am whiney and complainy there are approximately a zillion other things that I do like and appreciate. My heart is still beating – that’s a good thing. I usually find my work to be interesting and meaningful. And, I love my big lug of a cat.
So when I stop and settle and take in what is good in my life, it gets me going. It allows me to drop the negative energy and feelings that have me ruminating and stuck and shift into better feelings. Those good feelings of gratitude propel me forward. This is where stuff gets done.
Try it. Just take a minute to blurt out a few of the things you are grateful for, just Idina-Menzel it at the top of your lungs and let the good stuff move you.
4. Get over yourself. Usually after blurting gratitude, I’m over it. Seriously, my challenges today, such as the edits on the article that I don’t want to work on and the cat sitter not calling me back, umm, they are not all that challenging. With a little perspective you can shift your thoughts and flow into the good energy of inspired action.
5. Focus on something that excites you. I have a few things I need to finish up and then I get to work on the Next. Big. Project. That has me excited and I feel a little more energized and less like laying my head down on my desk and typing with one finger.
When I’m in the clutches of the frustration, I remember that as soon as I finish I get to move on to the dream project. Then I put in my chunk of 10, blurt, and get going.
Find that one thing today – happy hour with friends coming up later, quitting time, a fun project you get to work on – anything that energizes you just a little bit and keep it there in your mind. That’s your reward for getting the must-do’s done. Use it to motivate you to move forward.