Ever have one of those days where you feel completely stuck in your business? Where you feel unmotivated, unfocused, or can't seem to find the creativity you need to make progress? Maybe you're having one those days right now?
We've all been there! The good news is that you can get unblocked. And sometimes end up even more focused, motivated, and inspired creatively. They key is figuring out which ways work for you.
Below are the top 5 ways that I have found to get unblocked and get back to being productive.
1. Complete Something.
Finish something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what. It doesn’t even have to be business related.
The act of finishing and the accompanying feeling of accomplishment is an incredible motivator to finish something else... then something else... then something else. Eventually you will be back to your business and full of ideas and motivation.
This is simple, but incredibly powerful. It my go-to #1 technique when I feel stuck.
2. Clean. Organize. Tidy Up.
Marie Kondo the shit out of something! If you've read Marie's book, "The life-changing magic of tidying up," or watched her show Tidying Up on Netflix, you know what I mean (if you haven't, go do that the next time you get stuck and you'll be cleaning and feeling motivated before the show is even over. :) It's for your home what 5S is for your business). Spend some time organizing and clearing out the clutter and organizing a space.
Wondering where to start?
Start where you are currently working and feeling stuck.
Are you in your office? Great, take a look at and around your desk. What do you see? Is it clean and organized with things that inspire and motivate you visible? Or is it dirty? Cluttered? Stacked with bills or piles of unfinished work? Things you secretly feel guilty about not getting done, or even worse, may be late on?
If so, it's no wonder you may be struggling to stay focused and motivated. The best thing you can do about it? Just get it done and take care of it! Clean the space, pay the bill, finish the project... That may feel hard to do but it will clear physical and mental clutter and may be exactly what you need to get unstuck. If it just isn't going to happen right now, then physically move whatever it is out of sight and clean and organize what's left.
How about next?
If you are still feeling stuck, tackle your digital space next.
Is your inbox overflowing with dozens, or even hundreds, of unread emails? Do you have so many things saved to your desktop that it looks like a mosaic and you can't find a damn thing? Cue the overwhelm!
I personally use a variation of Inbox Zero to manage my inbox and I have found it has a big impact on my productivity and ability to focus without distraction. If you aren't ready to tackle something that big just yet, I recommend clearing out your inbox in 3 passes.
- Delete all junk mail, promotional emails, or things you don't need to look at.
- Create a folder called "To Read Later" and move anything non urgent into that folder.
- Read and take the appropriate action on what's left.
TIP: If you haven't looked at the emails in the To Read Later folder within a week, mark them all as read and move on.
Cleaning and organizing can be a big stress reliever and really clear your mind, which in turn can help you get unstuck.
3. Spend Time in Water.
Take a bath, float in the pool, take a shower, stand next to the ocean, or a river or stream. Somehow surround yourself with water. Something I recently tried was a float tank. If you've never tried it before, it is a really great way to get the ideas flowing.
There is something about the act of being in or near water that can clear your mind and inspire creativity.
"Jumping into the shower can turn into what scientist call the “incubation period” for your ideas. The subconscious mind has been working extremely hard to solve the problems you face and now that you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into your conscious mind." - from Buffer's article The Science of Creativity
TIP: I highly recommend having something to write with nearby. I love AquaNotes. They are waterproof pads and pencils that you can hang in your shower that "provide a way to use the shower to organize your thoughts" and "help you capture and preserve your ideas before they're forgotten." We have them by our pool, on the wall in our shower, and next to the bath tub - and you can always find tons of ideas and sketches all over them. :)
4. Get it Out.
If you find yourself spinning, you may be overthinking it. It usually helps to get out of your head.
Talk it out.
Call your coach, your accountability partner, your business bestie... whoever that person is that motivates you, draws out the best in you, and can help you sift through the noise to gain clarity. Sometimes that's all you need to get unstuck, and once you talk it out, you may end up with even better ideas than what you started with.
Write it down or draw it out.
Get a whiteboard, or notebook , or sticky notes and start to write and sketch. Put down on paper whatever you are thinking. Don't worry about making it pretty or polished, just do a brain dump. Similar to the way completing something inspires you to complete something else, writing something down inspires you to write something else, then something else. Until eventually you are back to being productive and "in the zone".
TIP: Be sure to physically write and sketch. Doing it on your computer or phone isn't as effective.
5. Take a Break!
When all else fails, take a break. Forget about getting unstuck and go do something else. Your brain needs the distraction to regain its focus and creativity.
- Put on your favorite music and dance like a crazy person
- Go shopping
- Hit the gym (a good workout can do wonders to clear your mind and get you motivated)
- Watch a movie or start a new show on Netflix (I'm currently obsessed with The Umbrella Academy)
- Go for a drive (driving always works for me! Just be sure to have a voice recording app ready to go on your phone to capture your ideas).
Do anything else and take your mind completely off what you are stuck on.
How about you?
Do you have other techniques you use to get unstuck? Please share them below! XX
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.