The best way to get unstuck

I started dabbling in entrepreneurship over 20 years ago and have experienced the feeling of stuckness more than I can recall. It is one of the most common struggles with this career path and can be difficult to shake off.

Stuck City is a place any creative, self-employed, and curious people travel to regularly. It's a difficult place to escape.

The feeling of being stuck amplifies anxiety and accelerates demotivation. It is the great vocation-killer. How many incredible creations will never reach us because of it?

Stuckness appears when we deal with too many opened loops, during or following a period of hard work, or when we have several good options or none.

The cure is simple: do something.

Do something because the way to escape stuckness is by taking action.

Originally, I wrote "do anything" because what matters is to do the very opposite of staying still. However, to some, anything can be more intimidating than something because it has implications of limitless possibilities. Something, on the other hand, makes it sound like a smaller range of options.

At first, what you do matters little as long as you are not sitting on your hands. Note that trying to think your way out of stuckness also counts as doing nothing. You need movement. You need momentum. Reflection will come later.

Don't be afraid that doing something else will equate to quitting on the situation you're in. Sometimes, it will end up that way, but we are not aiming at a decision for now. If necessary, give yourself permission to step away for a determined period by setting a deadline. Knowing the last possible return date will free you from guilt and make your escape easier.

During that time, make progress on some other projects. Clear your mind. Regain confidence. Get re-acquainted with progress.

I like offering my help to others or writing. A few years back, I spent as long as six months doing nothing but writing and advising people (mostly pro bono.)

Now, the trick is to learn how to respond appropriately.
Not every case of stuckness requires as drastic of an action plan as I described. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and accept the stuckness for a short while. Sometimes, all you need is to take the rest of the day off and return refreshed the day after. And occasionally, you need to seek new momentum.

How do you learn that? I don't know, but experience is a great teacher.

If you liked this article, read this next: 7 Sure ways to get stuck (do the opposite)

You can also steal my productivity system: