This is an excerpt from How to Get Unstuck: Breaking Free from Barriers to Your Productivity, coming May 1. (Pre-order and get 6 bonus chapters and a preview of my next book also.)
How do we break free from the productivity obstacles that get us stuck? First, we need to understand the causes better. At root, we get stuck in our productivity in three chief ways:
- We don’t know what God wants us to do.
- We know what God wants us to do, but we don’t know how to make it happen.
- Obstacles in our way are preventing us from doing it.
We Don’t Know What God Wants Us to Do
Sometimes we aren’t sure what we need to do or want to do at all—with our lives, with our career, with the next project, or even with the next hour. When this happens we may feel disoriented, lacking direction, or just confused (that is, stuck!).
Lack of direction is a very significant—and much overlooked—source of being stuck. For you can’t get where you are going if you don’t know where you are going!
The problem here is lack of vision.
We Don’t Know How to Make It Happen
Very often, even when we do know what we need or want to do, we aren’t sure how to do it. We aren’t sure what the path is—or how to chart the path and move along it. This is like being in the water and seeing your destination, but not knowing how to swim. You know where you want to go but can’t move yourself there. This, also, is a much-overlooked cause of being stuck.
Here you can feel trapped stuck in the most literal sense. Stuck in the mud and immobilized. The problem here is lack of planning and execution.
Obstacles Are in Our Way
Beyond that, even when we do start on the path, obstacles threaten to throw us off. These obstacles often take the form of our being overscheduled, overbusy, and overwhelmed. And, interestingly, sometimes fear is an obstacle. One of the biggest obstacles is fear of risk—or even fear of success.
This is the problem of obstacles in the way. We know how to execute and may even be pretty good at it, but our execution has holes. We are more vulnerable to obstacles than we need to be. This is the most recognized cause of getting stuck, and it needs to be addressed. But it can’t be addressed first, because often the obstacles are actually symptoms of being stuck in one of the first two ways.
Summing It Up
We are stuck when we don’t know what we want or can’t accomplish what we want. Not knowing what we want is the problem of lack of vision. Not being able to accomplish what we want breaks down into two subproblems: we don’t know how to execute, and obstacles are in the way.
Lack of vision, lack of execution, and obstacles—those are what get us stuck.