On Feeling Stuck

There’s a feeling I get sometimes. It’s a stressful, sometimes even anxious feeling. And it comes from feeling stuck, creatively or practically. Having come back from a week’s vacation, I should have been feeling energised, but instead, I had a feeling of a significant loss of traction, and it took me a little while to figure out why.

We all get stuck sometimes in our lives. Sometimes it’s in a role that doesn’t allow us to develop. We can become stagnant in our education – either formal or self-driven. Relationships that don’t provide us with what we need can be veritable tar-pits of stickiness. And a loss of direction or support can cause a sense of aimlessness.

I’m happy to say that I’m in a good place from a relationship point of view – my wife and I have been married for 19 years, and we are good for each other. My marriage has very rarely felt like a cause of that stuck feeling – quite the contrary a lot of the time. My wife supports me in my ambitions, helps me with my doubts, and I do the same for her.

I discovered, after a little thought, that the cause of the stress in the past couple of weeks was something I’ve fallen prey to before. I had way too much that I wanted to get done, and hadn’t spent the time to prioritise. My job is particularly busy at the moment – I’m working on a strategic project which is full of challenge and learning. While I’m getting a kick out of it, my days are getting longer and longer. My writing has fallen by the wayside, even though I enjoy it when I write. I’ve gone from writing one post every couple of weeks to maybe one post a month.

I’ve been thinking about writing another book, and I haven’t even begun to plan it. And my Amazon Web Services certifications are up for renewal this year, and I’ve not started studying.

All of these things have been floating around in my head, sometimes waking me at night. The work is first and foremost, because it allows all the other stuff. Even there, I needed to focus more on ordering what needs to be done and by when.

I needed to get unstuck, mentally. So I sat down and spent just 30 minutes taking things in my to-do list and prioritising them. I created a priority list for that day and then did the same the following day. And to take some of the pressure off the work week, I started to carve out a bit of time at the weekend to catch up on things that were falling behind.

I’m not out of the woods by any means, but I no longer feel stuck. I know (and reminded myself) that I am in control of what I do and when. So if you’re feeling a bit bogged down, try a bit of prioritisation. It might not be the full answer, but it never hurts, even if you’re not feeling stuck like I was.

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