Five Ways to get Unstuck on a Blah Day {The Kind Side}

Last Monday I got bogged down.

And Tuesday I had a bogged down hangover. That’s a thing right?

Today is Wednesday and I was still feeling a little glum because of it, but I had writing on the schedule. So here I am. Writing words.

Even if you have nice specific goals, sometimes especially if you have nice specific (but a little unwieldy) goals, it is really easy to get bogged down or stuck.

On Monday, I had so many goal oriented choices – crochet projects, books, writing, homeschooling, housework – but instead of doing something enjoyable, restful or productive, I scrolled my way through the kids’ rest time. I usually make good use of these few semi-quiet minutes, but I felt tired and stuck in an apathetic way. It was a little frustrating.

At the last minute, I ended up drafting out a flexible schedule to add in a few more helpful routines into my family’s daily life – which will help with the overwhelm, but still left me feeling a miffed for how I spent my time.

So for next time, these are a few things I might try that I have worked for me in the past:

Five Ways to Get Unstuck on a Blah Day:

-> 1 – Pick a fast task or choose a first tiny step. – Choose one small step and start there. If you’re staring down a to-do list, make that phone call you’ve been putting off. If your reading pile is taller than you are, read the first 20 pages of the most interesting book. If you have a project, but it seems daunting, just gather your supplies: find your yarn, crochet hook and pattern.

Often I’ve found if I just do one thing then I keep going with another thing. I tell myself I only have to run for 10 minutes and then I can quit, but usually after 10 minutes I can keep going and run the rest of the distance I have planned. If not, I’ve run about a mile and that’s good too.

For a little extra creative momentum: Put it on your list. And cross it off. Accomplishment and possibility achieved!

-> 2 – Try something completely different. – At this point, nearly anything is better than this pattern of checking all the apps over and over again. So if you’re caught in a time trap, try something completely new. Choose something not on your list. It doesn’t have to accomplish anything at all. It can be useful or not.

Just do something. Click off the screen. Get out that grown up coloring book (I think we all have one at this point, right?) and find some joy in bright colors or the calming monotony. Read aloud to your kids. Go play a sonata, or a sonatina, or look at that big book of Beethoven you’ve never played because you find the Forte is very Forte, and improvise something instead. Do something in the yard. Make cookies. Match the socks. Write a poem. Read a cookbook.

Do something that just sounds fun.

-> 3 – Create some structure. I find some days I have wayyy too much freedom with my schedule. Which is fine, if that free-flowing structure is working.

But recently I’ve a felt a build-up of expectations that I don’t know how to fit into my day. I realized it’s been a few years since I’ve thought about our routine and how it works for us specifically in this right now. We’ve been in little kid mode, centered around naptime and nearly 100% free play, but now that they’re a little bigger, we’re need to add some things that weren’t necessary before like more specific learning time, chores, more reading time, etc. Also I need to make more room for my writing, reading, and my crocheting projects instead of wasting time on my phone.

So I made a schedule. Because now, instead of feeling ALL the ‘shoulds’ whenever I pause in an empty minute, I can choose to spend my time on specific ‘shoulds’ or just for fun projects instead of dropping into my phone to avoid choosing between all of them.

I resisted the idea to make a flow-chart for nap/rest time though, because it is so hard to get three little kids to rest or be quiet when there are only two rooms and only one of them sometimes sleeps. We’ll see what adding in a couple more routines does for their ability to chill during our quiet reading time routine.

Also, be advised, this is a loose schedule, which is brings us to the next point.

-> Create structure, But allow for spontaneity. Life and the kids are forcing me to get better at this, but it’s still easy for me to get stuck my plans. Even if it’s one I made up myself.

For example: I often choose to force the kids to be quiet and read or rest, because I need a break from the constant questions. But sometimes it just doesn’t work and it would be better to just gather everyone up and go to the library, the park, or on a quick pre-dinner hike.

Sometimes sticking with the structure helps, but sometimes we all just need a change of scenery instead of fighting naptime one more time.

-> 5 – Take a nap or just chill. I routinely napped when my littlest and middlest still napped – I don’t anymore because kids just get into stuff – but even a 20 minute nap can be really refreshing. These days I sometimes just consciously choose to chill, watch a movie or start an easy-to-get-into, really entertaining novel. Sometimes you do actually need a chance to just veg.


What do you do when you find yourself stuck in a maelstrom of helpless scrolling or not being able to choose what to do? I’d love to know!

Also: You’re totally not helpless. You’ve got this.

But I’d love to help figure out some strategies for you! Email me: erikashirk.writer@gmail.com

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