Get Un-Stuck: 4 Ways to Reclaiming Your Workflow

Get Un-Stuck: 4 Ways to Reclaiming Your Workflow

Get Un-Stuck: 4 Ways to Reclaiming Your Workflow

STUCK. You know the feeling.

Spinning your wheels, losing motivation, constantly feeling like you have wasted precious time. With even the best intentions, we all can experience the pain of productivity paralysis.

“Why do I do this to myself,” I often wonder, as I became frustrated with my patterns of postponing what I say I am passionate about pursuing. Have you been there? Are you in this vicious cycle of self-criticism? You are not alone my friend. 

Dreams, goals, and aspiration are both life-giving and anxiety-producing.

Recently, I began looking for answers to why I continue to feel challenged by my creativity. I started by asking myself, "What is it that weighs me down?"

"Why do I daily face defeat and frequently feel captive to the up and down roller coaster of irrationality?"

Here is what I have come to realize:

I am guilty of trying to short-hand the script of my story. I want to simply review the spark notes of struggle and study. Skipping the pages of planning and preparing to arrive at the destination of my dreams. Unfortunately, it is this type of mindset that keeps me from having the courage to cultivating my calling. We need the seasons of struggle and study to weed out the bad ideas and grow the deeper ones. Similarly, the hours of planning and preparation shape our success and help us to sustain what we have started. 

One author explains this process saying, “potential is the space between where you, and where you want to be.” 

It is in developing our potential we often get stuck.  

In seeking to overcome my discouragement, I adopted 4 simple strategies to help me navigate the in-between and bring clarity to the direction of my dreams. 

I hope they can do the same for you! 

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

<strong>1. Develop a Daily Direction</strong>

1. Develop a Daily Direction

“Do I focus on my destination or my daily direction?"

I believe this mindset can be the first thing to trip us up. When we focus too much attention on the grand destination rather than our specific direction, we can become crippled by our calling. For starters, this mindset places a tremendous amount of pressure on our ability to produce a finished product right from the start. When I am unable to meet my destination demands, feelings of failure immediately flood my workflow and I quickly became discouraged. In Proverbs 16, David reminds us that God is in control of our destination saying,

"The heart of man plans his way,

but the Lord establishes his steps.”

How often I plan on the pretense of God’s promise, unwilling to prepare for a different purpose. When we are set on an ideal destination, we will be less aware of God’s divine direction.

By learning to stay in the present with each project and task, I have found so much more freedom and formed a stronger foundation for my future destination.

The tool I have begun to utilize in finding my daily direction is goal setting. In my counseling practice, I have been trained to use SMART goals which are comprised of the following elements: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Let’s say, for example, I want to run a half-marathon this spring, that’s my goal and intended destination. Using the SMART model, I would then map out my daily direction using the above elements.

Goal 1: Register for the race by 1/1/20

Goal 2: Create a running schedule by 1/5/20

Goal 3: Complete scheduled runs weekly until race day

In following the SMART formula, I can realistically plan and organize my training goals. This keeps my attention on the daily schedule of my runs rather than the discouragement for not having reached the full course mileage from the start of my training.

As we take daily steps in specific and realistic ways, we can regain our workflow and feel more productive in the process.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

2. Speak Truth to Yourself

2. Speak Truth to Yourself

“Am I listening to myself or talking to myself?”

If stuck had a sister, it would be negative self-talk. I think this is one of the most discussed topics in my work because, let’s face it, we all are stuck with ourselves. Just think back to the last time you listened to a negative self-statement. I believe mine was, “What am I even doing with my life.” 

The messages we feed ourselves are deeply placed perspectives that have a past or present influence on our progress. As we know, words hurt, and we often wound ourselves without even knowing it. Our thoughts and feelings begin to fluctuate when we befriend negative core beliefs.

One common way to ward off unwanted feelings or phrases is through evaluating their roots and rationalizing their reasoning.

When we repeat statements such as, “I can’t” or “I am not good enough to (fill in the blank),” we give power to our perceived limitations rather than seeking to empower our potential. This is the equivalent of black and white thinking, which limits the space between what is perceived and what can someday be achieved. By simply reframing our thoughts, we begin to grant ourselves the gift of grace.

I believe that God’s grace is a beautiful example for us go-getters who often measure our worth by our work. The grace of God invites us to acknowledge our limitations and humbly ask for the wisdom and way to develop our dreams through dependence on His power and purpose.

So, when I am overwhelmed and begin to blame myself for not being “good enough” to “get it all done," I speak truth to myself. I go back to the grace I have been given and fight against the feelings that tell me to forget my dreams and give up on developing my gifts. I am reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus when he said, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up” (Ephesians 6:9).

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

3. See the Worth in Your "Why"

3. See the Worth in Your "Why"

“Do I work for my worth or do I see the worth in my work?”

Have you ever completed a project, achieved a goal, only to feel a sense of dissatisfaction? I remember completing my Master's degree, walking across the stage and smiling for photos yet feeling an ambivalence towards the accomplishment. I was glad to be done, but instead of feeling as though I had gained something, I felt like I had lost something.

Here is where stuck can really get sticky.

There is a large portion of our population that have lost their purpose in the pursuit of performanceFor we know, there will always be a better book, a better boss, better blog post or better business, but there will never be another person with our specific purpose and passions. 

When we begin to work for our worth, we will lose sight of our why. Think about the reason you started your business or blog. What inspired you to apply for college or seek a new skill set?

Friend, your worth is what makes you human and nothing in this world can be added to the value you already possess. So, let us explore the worth in our why. Look deep into the desire that sets your heart on fire and seek to share it with the world.   

I remind myself daily that my ultimate why is to give God glory. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 saying, "in whatever we do, we are to do it to the glory of God." 

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

4. Plan for Productivity

4. Plan for Productivity

“Do I use a timeline or time-block in developing my dreams?”

I love timelines! They are forecasting at its finest. But what if our timelines are what trip us up?

Paul Angone, author of 101 Secrets for your Twenties, explains it best saying, “Our big dreams are not the problem, our crazy timelines are.”

Creating an unrealistic timeline can rush the process and provoke our procrastination. This discouragement is what creates even more delays in achieving our dreams. 

Okay, so maybe the timeline of our lives is nothing like we had planned—it does not mean our dreams are dead.

Have you ever lost interest in a project or passion? It was most likely due to self-imposed stress. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 gives us an important view of work when the writer says, 

“There is nothing better for men than to rejoice and do good while they live, and also that every man should eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his labor—this is the gift of God.”

Do we find satisfaction in our work or are we avoiding the stress of incomplete tasks? 

One way I have learned to reclaim the satisfaction of my work is by using a time-block system within the greater timeline. This is not new stuff but for those of you new to workflow wonders, here is a little lesson in time-blocking.

Instead of constantly looking at the forecasting of an entire timeline, time-blocking stays in the present. It focuses on what is foremost and frames our free time so that we can focus on one task at a time. As someone who thrives on structure, I find that my productivity rises when I have time-frames for each task or objective of the day. Ultimately, this structure decreases stress and also assists in setting aside time for both study and self-care.

So, if you have been feeling stuck and stressed in this season, I hope these strategies can shift your mindset and reframe the why in your workflow. I pray that we may begin to reclaim our calling with more clarity as we pursue our passions with an eternal perspective. 

Keep dreaming! 

Carley Marcouillier is a northerner by heart southerner by choice, and currently calls Virginia her home. After completing her Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, Carley began to develop a passion for integrating the principles of counseling practice with the foundation of Christian theology. In addition to her clinical work, Carley is passionate about discussing topics of faith, theology, psychology, and everything in between on her social media platforms, Instagram, and Facebook

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Uber Images

Carley Marcouillier: A northerner by heart southerner by choice, Carley currently calls Virginia her home. After completing her Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, Carley began to develop a passion for integrating the principles of counseling practice with the foundation of Christian theology. In addition to her clinical work, Carley is passionate about discussing topics of faith, theology, psychology, and everything in between on her social media platforms, Instagram, and Facebook