You’ll run into all kinds of problems over the course of your career. One of the most frustrating, and the most normal, is feeling “stuck” on a project or task. What do you do when you don’t know how to proceed?
There are a lot of different reasons you can feel stuck on a project at work. You might hit a mental roadblock, or you could run into a technical problem that you don’t know how to solve. Everyone seems to hit a creative wall once in a while.
Thankfully, there are ways to get unstuck before today’s problem has a negative impact on your career. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Shake up your routine
If you’re stuck in a mental rut that you can’t seem to free yourself from, it might be time to shake up your daily routine a little. Doing things differently, even just exercising outside instead of at the gym for example, can help you to see the world in a new way. You might just find some fresh ideas spring up as a result of the shift.
2. Think back
Another trick is to think back on past projects where you’ve been successful. What did you do there that worked so well? What skills or particular ways of thinking did you apply? Can you recreate or reformulate any of those patterns or actions to help you make progress with this problem?
3. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help every now and then. Your coworkers ask you for favors from time to time, right? Your team might be able to offer some fresh ideas that could help you have a breakthrough. So, try reaching out.
4. Take a break
Vacations have been shown to increase productivity and creativity. Even short breaks can go a long way. If you want to boost your problem-solving abilities, try taking a little time away from the problem. You might find you’re in a new place by the time you return.
5. Let go of the past
Past failures can get under your skin and cause a fair amount of self-doubt. This kind of negative thinking limits creativity and can leave you feeling stuck. So, make a point to let go of the past and focus on the here and now. Stewing about things that went wrong recently, or even a long time ago, won’t do you any favors.
6. Put it on pause
Sometimes, you just have to walk away from a problem for a while in order to find a solution. This isn’t always possible, of course, but even a small amount of time away can help. Try putting the task that’s making you feel stuck on the back burner for a few days if you can. Don’t even let yourself think about it. When you come back to it, you might just find you have some new thoughts.
7. Go for a walk
Taking a walk in order to break out of a mental rut is a time-honored technique. Now, science backs up its value. A study from Stanford University, reported by Psychology Today, showed that walking led to enhanced creative thinking. So, take a stroll. You might just find you stumble upon a breakthrough while you’re at it.
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