Stuck? Do the Unstuck. Here’s how:
1) Do something embarrassing. (Yes, on purpose!)
Let’s face it: often we’re stuck because we don’t want to look bad. Doing something embarrassing on purpose makes that pretty irrelevant, doesn’t it?
2) Tell people you’re stuck. (If you find that embarrassing, see #1)
Why not a Facebook post: “So much to do, but just can’t get myself out of the house today! Help!”
3) Get in the shower and get dressed. Right now.
Do not stop to put away the dishes, check your email, or make the bed. Do not continue reading the rest of this post.
4) Do something! Anything! (Even if it’s wrong).
Showered and dressed? Ok, what’s next?
5) Create Accountability with Others.
Having a hard time getting those student loan consolidation papers done? Or tackling the laundry? Or getting your wedding gift thank you cards in the mail? Call up a friend and set a deadline together and ask him or her to call you back to check in.
6) Don’t assume it’s about laziness.
I think “lazy” is a word that need to be tossed in the compost bin: After years of use and misuse, I’m not so sure it has any useful meaning anymore. Most often, I think stuck-ness falls into one of three categories:
- There’s an emotional block. (Something about that loan application is freaking you out.)
- There’s a skill deficit. (Maybe you haven’t gotten to re-building your resume because you don’t know what you’re doing.)
- You just need to do it. (And laziness is just a story to distract you from getting it done.)
7) Give up your belief in motivation.
This is one of psychology’s favorite scams, and I’d just as soon compost it along with lazy if I didn’t think it would contaminate the compost. Why do I dislike it so much? It creates an extra step between you and the thing you want to get done. Motivation becomes some thing that has to happen in order to accomplish whatever it is that needs doing. With this in mind, “I just can’t get motivated to write those thank you cards,” is roughly akin to, “Some ethereal act has not taken place that will result in my writing these thank you cards.” Come on. You’re smarter than that.
8) Check in with your body: Don’t assume it’s all in your head.
You are not a head floating in space. Your leg bone’s connected to your thigh bone and so on, and it’s all connected to your head (in fact, even saying it’s connected isn’t fully accurate—they’re all part of a whole, otherwise known as you). In other words, there’s probably a relationship between being stuck and feeling lousy physically. Newton is helpful here (I’ll paraphrase): Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion; bodies at rest need to drag their butts to the gym.
9) Don’t conflate being stuck with feeling stuck.
As you can probably tell by now, I think we put much too much emphasis on feeling to the detriment of doing. So you feel stuck; that doesn’t have to determine how you spend your afternoon. In fact, you could hit the gym and the grocery store and call three friends and get your bills paid and make a healthy dinner all while feeling stuck the whole time. (You really can. I promise—try it). Maybe you’ll feel less stuck, or maybe you won’t. But you’ll be less stuck, and that’s what counts.
10) Throw away The Plan
Plans can be helpful in getting things done, but we can forget that they’re absolutely not essential parts of getting anything done. They can keep us stuck. If you can’t figure out how you’re possibly going to sort through all the junk in the garage, stop trying to figure it out and get a nice sturdy pair of gloves and have at it.