Getting unstuck

Ever just feel stuck? Yes, we have too. But don’t worry. You can do something about it. Here are our top 5 tips for getting unstuck.

1. Get out of your head.

We can torment ourselves with panicky thoughts, frantic googling and everlasting note-making. Breaking the thoughts that circle us is the biggest challenge to getting unstuck.

Do something that makes you move physically can help. It might be just doing a physical task for half an hour, for example a small cleaning job (easy things like the bath and sink) or other chore (washing up, dusting one room) to a whole day out doing whatever inspires you. The key thing is to go – away from your desk, notebook, and concentrate on something else. Don’t try to hard to work all the time.

Being able to recognise when you’re stuck can be a great discipline to learn to recognise the signs of procrastination. Before long you will be more attuned to your mind and body. When you’re ‘blocked’ the first step to ‘unblocking’ is awareness which then means you can figure out a plan to get it solved.

2. Leave the part your stuck on

You can all email me with your exceptions to this, but don’t let one thing hold up the whole project. Even if you think it’s a crucial part of what you’re trying to achieve, the nub of it, don’t let that stop you. If you don’t know your audience, you could start thinking about logistics instead. Don’t let the one thing stop you from developing the rest of it. A project is multi-faceted and there is always something to work on. Giving the problem to your subconscious can also be useful. ‘Why don’t you sleep on it?’ is a phrase we’ve probably come across before, and we can try and think too hard about a problem. By leaving it to your subconscious, the brain will make patterns and you will find yourself with possible solutions.

3. Change something

You can get yourself all tied up in knots when you get stuck on something. It might be a decision you’re trying to make between two options. Remember that you can adjust as you go along. If something doesn’t work out, try something different. We often get caught in ‘either/or’ thinking. If I do X, I can’t do Y. Perhaps you can have both. But if you set off down the path of X, it’s very often that you can change it, if it’s really not working out. You can get another job. You can sell the car. You maybe can have tuna AND cheese for lunch. Is it a #firstworldproblem that’s getting you in a twist? Is it a NO LOSE situation? In every decision you make, along the way they’ll be good and bad, whatever you choose. Learning how to handle both is the key, not the ‘right’ choice. See? No lose.

4. Read about amazing things people have done.

Sometimes when you’re stuck, it’s because a little voice in your head says: You can’t do that. You’re not good enough. It’ll never work. Real life isn’t like that. That’s not possible. Or, (my favourite) that’s not realistic.

If you have grown up around people who live, work and function in certain ways, and you want to do something differently, the voice can be exaggerated because it’s lived out in the people around you. You believe that’s how people do things. But if you’re a lawyer who wants to create read: “This Time I Dance” by Tama Kieves. If you want to live life on your own terms, travel and change the world, get to know Chris Guillebeau at the Art of Non-Conformity. Read about the dancer who happened to be the first black woman in space and appeared in StarTrek: The Next Generation. Get on Escape the City. See what’s really out there, the possibilities, the opportunities.

5. Get someone else involved.

It’s a lot easier to get unstuck when you’re not alone. Have you got a friend who you can trust to be non-judgmental, helpful and full of ideas? Can you hire a coach? What favours can you pull in now it’s you that needs help? Talking things through with people can help you see what possibilities are out there, come up with creative solutions and leverage each other’s networks. Two heads are better than one.

Here at Creatives Hub, we are all about getting together to clear creative blocks and help each other get inspired. Our mini-hub groups are just that: regular monthly meetups with others like you, where you get to chat with, brainstorm and help each other on your projects, whether big, small or not even a fully formed idea yet.

Next steps: To get a taster of mini-hubs we run an event called CH Live! every quarter. The next one is Jan 28th in London. Find out more and book before Dec 31st to get an early bird discount. We’d love to see you there.

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Claire Meredith

Claire Meredith is a speaker, writer, and coach who loves to inspire people to go for what they REALLY want. She left her job in May 2014 to live in Italy and splits her time between la bella Italia and good old England. Claire has previously been co-host of Hatch podcast and blogger here at Creatives Hub. Her website is www.clairemeredith.co.uk

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