Full disclosure: I am stuck right now.
And by stuck, I don’t necessarily mean that I’m experiencing writer’s block. I know what I need to write. I just don’t want to write it. (I’m refering here to feeling stuck in my work, and not stuck in my life, which is a whole different kind of stuck I still struggle with.)
I find that in my work, there are definitely ebs and flows. Some days are super productive. I work hard, cross things off the to-do list, and get shit done. Other days? Not so much. Today started out strong but I’m sliding into a bit of a rut.
So how do I get un-stuck?
Take a walk
With Ellie, I go out for a few walks a day. It is super helpful to just get up, move and enjoy some fresh air. It helps to kind of restart the brain. But sometimes that’s not enough. I read about people who work from home and whenever they’re not feeling the work, they take a walk around the block and then come back and they are ready to go again. That’s not quite the case for me – especially if I’m coming back after having been out in the cold and the rain. Usually, I want to curl up on the couch and ignore work even more.
Take a break
The nice thing about working from home is that there is always something non-work related that I can busy myself with. When I’m not feeling the work, I can get up and do some dishes, start laundry, write a card or figure out our dinner plan. It’s a nice change of pace. But again, if it’s just another chore I don’t really want to do, it doesn’t actually motivate me to get back to work.
Do the fun work
I currently have eight clients that I’m working for. And while that can be really hard to stay on top of at times, I love the variety that it affords me. If I don’t feel like writing a blog post, I can switch gears and schedule photos for social media, check on emails or do some other task. So technically, I’m still doing the work; I’m just doing the most fun work first. That way I can still feel productive without having to get into the hard stuff just yet.
Break it down
An oldie but a goodie: break a big project into digestible bites. If I don’t want to finish an entire article, I’ll set myself the task to just finish the intro. Usually, by the time I’ve done the intro, I’m inspired to at least write the first few paragraphs. So I trick myself into actually doing more and I feel better about it since I’ve surpassed my own goal.
If I’m really feeling stuck and know that work isn’t going to happen, I’ll compromise and give myself an incentive. I’ll work on it while watching HGTV on my second screen, I’ll make a hot chocolate to get me through or read a magazine once I finish the task. It’s not always the best option, but when I’m really stuck sometimes compromising and rewarding myself with something fun or delicious really helps.
Lean into the stuck
And other times, I decide to just lean into feeling stuck and not wanting to work. I don’t want to write anymore? Awesome, then I don’t. One of the pros of working from home is that I don’t have a strict work day schedule I need to follow. If I don’t feel like working right now, I don’t have to. I can put it off until later this evening or even tomorrow. I can go bake something, curl up and watch TV, or even write a post fo my own blog (case in point). If I give myself permission to not work, it means I don’t have to feel guilty and it means that I usually come back to the work sooner.
If none of these tricks work or I find myself feeling stuck more often, it’s time to re-evaluate. Is it one type of work that I’m always stuck on? Maybe it’s time to figure out whether I want to continue with that client or how I can change the work to make it something I want to be doing. Is it the time of day? Maybe I realize I’m always stuck at 4:00pm and that’s because my brain turns off then. Is it the location? Maybe sitting at my desk in my office all day long isn’t working out anymore and I need a change of scenery.
The whole point of me pursuing this freelance career and working from home is that I’m doing something I love and it’s allowing me to enjoy a lifestyle I want. If there’s something that’s keeping me from enjoying the work or the lifestyle, then I need to look into it and find a solution. Of course, that’s often much easier said than done!
What do you do when you’re feeling stuck?