How to get unstuck

Word count: 485 words

Reading time: About 2 minutes

Need help? Here I tell you about a piece of technology or software for writers. Today I advise on how to get unstuck.

Sorry to mention this to my readers who don’t have iPads, but here’s a fabulous free app if you do. It’s called Unstuck. It’s easy to use if you have a problem (a “stuck moment”) and it gives you a positive way of reframing the trouble.

Once you’ve registered (at no charge) here’s how it works:

Step 1: The app asks you how you are FEELING about your stuck moment and then gives you 18 choices, including “afraid,” “overwhelmed,” and “unmotivated.” (If you’re unsure, you can click on a tab and it will give you a more detailed description of the feeling.) Choose three feelings and then advance to the next screen.

Step 2: The app  asks two more questions: What type of stuck are you (personal, professional or both) and who is involved (you, you and another person, you and others).

Step 3: the app asks what you are stuck on now and gives you a blank screen to type in the details.

Step 4: The app asks you to select the thoughts you are having about your stuck moment. It gives you a variety of choices (such as: “our old way of doing this just isn’t working” or “we’ll get to it tomorrow) and you must drag and drop each one into a pile marked “so me” or “not me.”

Step 5: The app asks what you are doing in this stuck moment (examples: head-scratching, soldiering on) and asks you to select three.

Step 6:  The app diagnoses your problem. I like the language it uses to do this: “In this moment you’re acting like a reluctant adaptor,” it told me. (Love that it emphasizes that I’m not a reluctant adaptor all the time — that’s just the way I’m behaving right now.)  It also let me know that 8% of the Unstuck community behaves the same way and that other reluctant adaptors are boxer Muhammad Ali, Professor Randy Pausch and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. At least I’m in good company!

Step 7: The app then provided a tool to help me address this problem in the same, linear, straightforward fashion it attacked the diagnosis. It helped me create a concrete plan for dealing with my own “stuck moment.”

I had heard about Unstuck several weeks ago and procrastinated about learning to use it because it sounded complicated but, really, it’s not. Here’s the inelegant video that persuaded me to get started. I wish the developers had a similar (but better made) video on their own website.

I LOVE Unstuck and if you have an iPad, I suspect you will too. By the way, there appears to be an unrelated app for the iPhone that’s also called Unstuck. This is NOT produced by the same developer. Look for the bright blue screen (with the word Unstuck underscored in bright green) before downloading.