What to do when you encounter a life block?

I define a “life block” as a perceived block that threatens as the as-is condition.

You encounter a situation in life where you just feel uninspired, unmotivated and un-everything. Your grades are going down the drain, your career seems to be going nowhere, you seem to have encountered a plateau which is not to your liking. What do you do?

Write everything down!

You saw that right.

Writing provides a platform to collate everything on your mind. Collate what is right or wrong with your world right now, as you perceive it, and see it all in one place. A structured form of putting down those thoughts will help you see what is wrong today, what are you doing or not doing about it, and derive the short/long term goals.

 

What to write?

I just use the WTF headers – not the WTF you know, but the one below.

What am I doing today? Things going wrong today Freedom plan
   

By putting words to thoughts, I often find that the problem is right there to see and so is the solution. The solutions just reside in the background while I procrastinate, or buy time to browse TV stations and Facebook posts.

Write the 3 big things that matter:

  1. First define how things look today. This is a (hopefully objective) view of things as they stand today. Do not gripe about what is wrong with the world here, or how your life suffers because of things not in your control
  2. Next, attempt to write down things going wrong today. This is where you rant, but against bullets. You do not need to go through paragraphs to find out what is wrong with your life today, else you will not be attempting this anyway. After you write the significant bullets, review what you have written down. Contextualise everything something worth it. For example, the first draft can be “I do not have money to buy a house of my own”, which can later become “I am not satisfied with my current home”.
  3. Draft your freedom plan. What can you do in the short term to address the problem? How do you think you can eliminate the problem in the long term?

Keep things simple. Try to address one problem at a time rather than overwhelm yourself by writing what exactly is wrong with the world.

 

Where to write?

There is no straight answer. But I have benefited from multiple ways of doing this:

  • A whiteboard that is visible while you are running around in your work place or at home. This is of immense help since the problem/solution stays there. I try to spend 5-10s looking at the board, and let the processing happen later. This will also tell me if I need to change the problem statement or the solution at anytime, and stay current on my objectives Problem Whiteboard.

 

  • A mind map helps, even in cases where the problem is not quite clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I can even use a note taking app on my desktop or my phone

 

  • I may not be structured at all. For example, when I flat out and uninspired by what I am doing at my job, I can just update my resume with the work in past 6 months. The things I have done, and planned to do get refreshed and I come back feeling much better than before

 

I am not saying that writing down your problems will make them go away. In our busy lives it is easier to accept some of the problems, let them nag on a daily basis but try to ignore them and focus on something different. But, the problems are very much there.

Thinking about the problem, making it quite clear on why there is a problem, and thinking about solutions make us better humans. You have the satisfaction of doing something about what is nagging you – one bit at a time. Writing down gives space to focus on that one problem that is refusing to go away. It is just formalizing and structuring your own thoughts to look at yourself, look at the world, and start sorting out the issues.

What do you think? Have you tried it before, or found this approach useful?

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