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9 minutes ago

Unstuck Yourself

By Jim Remsik

We've all been there. You have a deadline or a goal that you, or perhaps your boss, desperately wants to meet. But when you sit down all that comes to mind is thoughts of an unending abyss filled with nothingness.

We asked our team what things they do when they get stuck so hopefully you’ll get some new ideas you can use to unstuck yourself.

Kaylee – Designer

"I hop into another to-do so that I can continue making progress. If I'm still stuck, I’ll dance around to the kitchen, get more coffee, and find new scenery to work in. Otherwise I will call Kelly or someone else on the team."

Julian – Señor Developer

"I'll try walking away from the problem. Occasionally, making my way to nearby Solsbury Hill and posting photos in our team chat to make them jealous."

Jim – Founder

"I try to talk it out. For a conference talk I presented in Madrid I did some research on pair programming and learned that the speech center of our brains is one of the most recent developments. Given that, it's got the best tools for problem solving in the modern world. You've probably experienced this yourself. You are stumped by a thorny problem and you talk to somebody else and tell them the problem. Simply the act of reciting your problem leads you to solving your own problem."

Kelly – Creative Director

“My brain seems to work better in the morning. If I hit a really big juicy problem later in the day I’ll switch gears and come back to it the next day. Or I’ll call up a team member and talk through the challenge to find an answer or hear a different perspective.”

Joyce – Admin Assistant

"I like to free write. I can vent out all my frustrations around my stuck-ness and allow my thoughts to free flow without fear of judgement. After a few minutes, I usually find my way back to “well, what can I do about it now?” and find that it’s easier for me to see the next step or action I can take to bring me closer to reaching my goals"

Amanda – Developer

“I walk away from the problem. I have a bad tendency to try and pound away at something until I solve it but with programming, that isn’t always a good solution. Instead, I go out into my living room, give my dog all the love and refill my glass of water. Then I try to come back at it. Other times I try to do the “rubber duck debugging” technique and talk out the problem to my dog or just out loud if my dog looks especially comfortable in his bed sleeping. I think my neighbors thoroughly enjoy this last method!”

Yossef – Developer

"I find that the best way to figure out a problem I’m banging my head against is to come at it from a different direction. This could mean walking away, talking it out, working on something else for a while — all of which are the sort of thing that either lets your subconscious loose on the problem or taps into other resources, like a different part of your brain, or any part of someone else’s. Sometimes I even just hack together something messy or incomplete that mostly deals with the main problem and gives me a new one to consider: ‘How do I clean this up?’, or ‘How do I get the last part done?’”

Jonathan – Developer

“I relate to all of the above. One more solution to add to the mix is sleep. Still the best medicine around for all that ails you including code bugs”.

What helps you Unstuck Yourself? Let us know on Twitter: @be_flagrant