We all know that anxious feeling of being stuck and distracted. For me, I often struggle to focus on what it is I need to do. Nothing feels easy and my resistance is running high. I may be writing a blog post, facing a deadline, have an hour worth of e-mails to answer, phone calls to make, or loads of laundry to get folded (there is a pile on my bed right now!) When I’m stuck, I want to eat a pint of ice cream, throw the covers over my head, or lie on the couch and watch back-to-back episodes of Downtown Abbeys’ or my latest favorite, the Walking Dead—who would have thought it would be so great?
When we feel overwhelmed and disabled, what are some ways we can get unstuck?
Here are 6 tips that work for me:
- Create a to-do list for today.
This really helps lower anxiety. At the start of the day (or the night before), write out a list of what you need to get done that day. Make it simple and start with your top three most important to-dos.
- Listen to inspiration.
I am a huge fan of motivational podcasts. When I’m feeling stuck, I frequently listen to one. It gets me fired up. If I’m anxious about moving forward, I use my Calm app. When I’m writing and feeling distracted, I put on my headset and turn on the ocean waves—it feels like I’m writing at the beach (check it out here – Calm App). The app also allows you to set a timer, which helps me to take breaks. It’s also helpful to listen to uplifting music while you’re working through your tasks.
- Batch similar tasks together.
Think ahead and batch similar tasks together to help use your time wisely. If you’re out running errands, get them all done at the same time— hit the grocery store, go to the cleaners, and the bank. Or, if you’re at work— try to get all your phone calls done at the same time. You can also do this with your schedule. I try to meet with clients on the same days.
- Reward yourself with breaks.
I like to set a timer so I can take breaks when I’m working. Sometimes my reward is to check social media, take a walk, or listen to a meditation. Other times it’s more relaxing such as, working in my garden or having coffee with a friend. Stepping away actually increases our productivity. When I sit back down, I am able to have a new perspective and renewed energy.
- Ask for help.
Most of us don’t like to ask for help. We might tell ourselves a host of things such as, “I should be able to do this” or “it’s easier to do it myself”. It may be hard to surrender some control. The bottom line is, it’s vulnerable to ask for help. After all, someone might say no or not do the job as well. Yet time and again, I find when I do ask for help, people are gladly willing and it really lightens my load.
- Do something different.
Sometimes, just doing something different or switching things up can jump-start your vitality. Try different things—pray, call a friend, take a walk, meditate, or move to another task on your list. Change up the scenery and return to it.
Whenever you find yourself feeling anxious, stuck in a rut and feeling distracted, know that this is a natural state that we all face. Keep at it. Give yourself a little time to regain your focus and see what works best for you.
Questions: What strategies work for you when you are feeling stuck and distracted?