Getting unstuck

It is so important to toot your own horn because no-one else will, especially if you’re a small business owner! 

I absolutely believe you need to be your own biggest cheerleader because self-employment is hard enough without needing constant external validation that rarely comes. (Said with much gratitude to the amazing clients that do give me lovely feedback and share my info with others – I appreciate you!)

As well as celebrating your wins both big and small, and having the courage to tell the world about all your successes – because, if you don’t how will they ever know?! – you also need to be ready to give yourself a gentle and loving but swift and firm kick up the backside from time to time.

Whether that be because there’s something you have to do but don’t want to and are putting off, or it’s because your attention is being pulled in other areas and you need to focus, or because you get caught up in analysis paralysis not knowing where to start with something. 

There are lots of reasons we can lose momentum and get a bit stuck, and the only person who can do something about it is you, although it can be worthwhile getting a little help.

When you notice yourself getting stuck you have to do whatever it takes to get out of your own way and take one small step forward. 

Here are a few things that work for me when I feel stuck that might help you. 

Focus on just three priorities

Limiting my to do list for the day to just three tasks that are either important, urgent, or both, that way I’m not getting overwhelmed by how much there is to do and the decision of what to focus on has already been made.

Get away from your desk

Getting away from my screen and going out for a walk so that I’m not sitting there stewing. Taking some kind of action, even if apparently unrelated to the problem, is almost always the answer for a chronic overthinker like me. 

The Pomodoro Technique

A 25 minute burst of focussed work followed by a short 5 minute break to reset on repeat – timings can vary. Setting a timer and refusing to move, pick up my phone or switch to another task until the bell rings can help me break down huge tasks into manageable chunks and get something done, and because the breaks are built in, I don’t forget to move. I find this particularly useful for things I don’t really want to do. The things that aren’t fun or easy but are necessary evils. 

A change of scene

That might mean getting away from my desk to spend some time in a local café or coworking space, but it might just mean working from the couch for a while if I don’t need my second screen for what I’m working on, or sitting at my dining table so I can be closer to the kettle (and the biscuits…). 

If all else fails I give myself a talking to out loud that usually involves a ‘Come on SJ,’ and occasionally a swear word or two. That usually works when it’s the odd day of feeling stuck. 

One of the best things about what I do – providing sales, marketing, communications and training support to small business owners and charity leaders – is that often I get to be the catalyst for helping other people to get unstuck on a much bigger level.

I work with people to develop a clear strategy then translate that strategy into action. I give you the tools to operationalise the advice we provide to make sure it’s easy to implement, will make a positive difference now, and have a lasting impact on your business. Who wouldn’t want that?

by Sarah-Jane Dale

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