How I Got Unstuck

For several months, I felt like I was stuck on a road going nowhere with regard to a particular project. Everyone at my weekly MasterMind meeting was tired of hearing about its perpetually undone status. My husband and other business colleagues and friends were sick to death of me repeating my vow to get it done “next week.”

Traffic Jam

I considered scratching the project for good, but that would have been unwise in this particular instance. I considered hiring help, but with no groundwork laid, help would have been pointless because I wasn't sure what to tell people to do. Sound familiar? It was not a good place to be, but today, after several fits and starts, I'm excited to say that the project is moving forward. Here's what I did to make that happen.

  1. Think. Sometimes, we're stuck because we haven't put adequate thought into what we say we want to do. When I stepped back from the busyness of my life and business, I was able to think about the project itself. Why was it important? How would it help me? How would it help others? I imagined how I would feel when the project was completed. This was not a quick process. It lasted several days.Thinking helped me to see the project in the overall context of my life and the goals I had set for myself. As I considered these things, the consequences of not moving the project forward were magnified. Thinking things through in this way helped me take the next step.
  2. Plan. Once I confirmed the value of the project, I felt silly letting it just sit there undone. I felt so silly in fact that the uncomfortable feeling of feeling silly drove me to go from thinking to planning. I called my assistant and asked her to take notes while I rattled off all the things I needed to do to move the project forward.This was a very important part of the process. In fact, because I was able to simply close my eyes and talk, knowing Glenda was capturing my every thought, it may have been the most important part of the process.After making a long list of things to do, Glenda and I divided the tasks into two categories: “things only I could do” and “everything else.” I could do and everything else. Glenda did “everything else,” of course. By the end of that day, I had organized my to do list in order of what needed to be done first. Glenda prepared a spreadsheet containing the information I needed to take each next step.
  3. Act. Armed with my list and spreadsheet, and knowing that Glenda was going to handle tasks that didn't need my personal attention, I put a date beside each item assigned to me, and added it to my calendar. (I use Google Calendar and the Calengoo iPhone app.) I set pop-up alarms so I would be reminded of the tasks for each week. Then, I simply followed my instructions.

I know it's not rocket science, and I supposed there are other methods that would achieve the same result. This worked for me, and I think I will be using it again in the future.

Question: What do you do when you feel stuck, and can't move an important project forward?

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.