There are times in projects when you get completely stuck.
You may find yourself going in circles, with a million reasons why you can’t continue. These could be the fault of the client, overload of tasks, or a general bad feeling about how it’s all progressing.
For example you’re:
- waiting for more information from someone else
- not enjoying the project
- struggling to understand the clients needs
- overwhelmed by too many tasks
Every way you turn there is another reason NOT to progress, so nothing gets done.
This happens to me from time to time. I am often working on several projects at a time, and it can be easy to keep heading towards the easier ones than the harder ones. As a freelancer I don’t have a line manager to talk to, so this is one of those times when I need to play both roles.
That’s why I started using a Stuck Wheel.
Some of this stuff may seem really obvious, but it’s helped get me out of a stuck project many times.
You Will Need
A4 sheet of paper / large notebook
2 pens of different colours
Write the name of the project in the centre of an A4 sheet of paper and draw a circle round it.
Then, creating a ‘spider diagram’ (and leaving space between each entry and the edge of the page) write down each of the problems you are facing with the project. All of them. They can be an insignificant or as personal as you like, no one else is going to see this. The idea is to capture all of the BLOCKS you are facing with this project. Think carefully about all the things you need to do, and why you can’t do them right now. Remember: there are no stupid entries here, so if you just hate the project, and don’t want to work on it any more, write it down. Just make sure its not the ONLY thing on your wheel!
Connect each problem to the central circle with a line.
Now it’s time to act like a boss for a moment.
Using the other pen, go through each of the problems and write a response to them. for example:
BLOCK: waiting for a response from client
ANSWER: email or call client for a response
BLOCK: don’t have the software i need
ANSWER: set aside some time to download and install the software
This seems pretty obvious, but it’s amazing how often these little easily solved problems can sit and fester, and halt the whole project.
However, when I do the STUCK WHEEL there are always some emotional blocks as well. The answers to these will depend on the particular project but could go as follows:
BLOCK: I’m worried XYZ will happen
ANSWER: it might. Plan for XYZ to happen by doing ABC
BLOCK: I don’t feel like doing this right now
ANSWER: (if the project is not urgent) – schedule a time to do this in the future, forget about it for now and do something else
ANSWER: (if the project is urgent) -TOUGH! you have a responsibility to your client and your business. JUST GET ON WITH IT
Seriously, this is how I talk to myself in my STUCK WHEEL. Sometimes you need someone to kick your arse, and in this instance, it has to be yourself.
Read back through your answers and transfer any actionable items to your to-do list (in my case a bullet journal).
- email client for confirmation on something
- schedule a day to work on this another day
- download X software