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I am stuck..how to get going?

Ok, I am visiting this site, drinking cups of tea..but my project is stuck. What do you folks do to get it rolling again?

Any ideas?

What do you music people do when you cannot create music?

HELP!..any ideas welcome.. It is like my feet are running on a sheet of ice...and no forward movement is occurring.


Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Kallal@msn.com

Albert D. Kallal
Monday, August 12, 2002

> Ok, I am visiting this site, drinking cups of tea..but my project is stuck.

Eat, sleep, and exercise (not necessarily in that sequence); try again tomorrow or the next day when you're awake.

name witheld by request
Monday, August 12, 2002

Think something different, clean up your harddisk, delete all those temp files and clear the cache.

It might give some clear thinking and remember the secret of getting ahead is Getting Started...

Sunish
Monday, August 12, 2002

I like to make a to-do list. Then I improve my productivity by not reading sites like JoelOnSoftware.com and Slashdot.org.  ;-)

Zwarm Monkey
Monday, August 12, 2002

from art: When you are stuck unable to draw, try making lines on paper. It sounds simplistic, but most of the times you can't come up with something, its because you don't have a pencil in your hand. Maybe you don't feel like it, but that will (usually) come once you've been drawing for a while. The beginning part is like, 'how am I supposed to eat that!' - chew chew chew swallow, works every time. You don't have to like it.

from running: If you are too tired and you need a rest, never rest at the bottom of a hill, always at the top. It is very hard to start again when you are at the bottom of a hill! In computer terms, that would be, always leave yourself something fun and easy to do first thing the next day. Much easier to get back into it that way.

from personal experience: Get shit-faced, which means a few beers for me. Really drunk to the point you are well removed from yourself and see things from a new perspective. Take the next day off to recover/sleep in the park, contemplate your life. After this you will either feel refreshed and your project will go well, or you will move to a cabin in Jasper without electricity for the rest of your life.

the big one: Turn off all the music, unplug the phone, and DO DAMAGE TO YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION! Something that will take a few days to repair. Sure you won't be able to google a code snippet, but productivity will still soar. How much music would their be in the world if your guitar could tempt you out for a round of drinks? Its unfair.

I tried giving myself  shocks once too - it sometimes helps to just freak yourself out a bit, however you do that...

Robin

Robin Debreuil
Monday, August 12, 2002

Go for a long walk. Get your head as far away form the problem as possible (I usually accomplish this without chemical enhancement) and get back to it the next morning.

Dan Sickles
Monday, August 12, 2002

Force yourself to do something productive, even if you feel that you have no good ideas or have no motivation.  You'd be surprised sometimes how things tend to snowball (in a positive way) from just taking a tiny, seemingly-pointless step toward your goal.

.
Monday, August 12, 2002

My brother is a professor and I asked him this same question.  Most of his time is spent researching and writing on his own, so I wonder how he gets ANY work done.  I would end up playing games or watching TV or fishing, but generally just being unproductive.

He said when he gets in those modes, he has learned to just accept it and do all the other mundane things like spending all day cleaning up your hard drive.  Eventually it goes away, and it goes away much faster if you don't beat yourself up over it.

Michael H. Pryor
Monday, August 12, 2002

I don't understand why you are stuck.

Objectives... if you don't have any goals then it would be difficult to be going places.  Review them, without any implementation plan.

Constraints.  Everything has constraints.  Find them and list them.  If you are stuck because of a lack of creativity, then constraints can be your best friend - they help define edges, the outline of a structure.

Despite popular misconception, creativity needs a structure on which to operate.  There can be no creativity starting with a blank sheet.

Maybe you are "overloaded"... running the same loop through in your mind and getting nowhere.  Get away from it and let whatever you need to do simmer in the background.  Do something else to take your conscious mind off of it.

Joe AA
Monday, August 12, 2002

Whatever problem you have, don't try to code.
Focus on problem solution, this could be design, or just 'how the hell will it work?', get some exercise.

'If you dont know where you are going, all roads will get you there' - wait until you know where you are going.

Alberto
Monday, August 12, 2002

Pay me money.

Alternatively, think of ways not to pay me money.

Stuckness is usually a form of overload, there are so many inputs that deciding which is the one to do NOW, itself becomes an input which vies for attention with everything else.

Distractions can work, sleep may well work but if you're experiencing anxiety at the same time, which it sounds as if you are, then any activity not connected to what you're stuck over may increase your anxiety.

In which case don't bother with trying to order all the possible inputs and all the competing priorities.  If you have sufficient grasp of them make a list of them, in any order.  Then randomly select one by whatever means, dice, ripping them up and choosing out of a hat, which one the cat licks, whatever.

And whatever the choice, don't second guess it, don't think oh but this is more important or I really need to do this, just do that one element.

Whilst you go through this process, you will start to become unstuck, you'll start to see the relationships between things again which you've lost.

Or, you can pay me money to kickstart you.

Decide.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I had a friend who is a psychologist in Chicago.  He had what he called hiw 3-5-7 methodology:

"Cannot get motivated?  What if I put a .357 to your head?  Would you be motivated then?"

He says its always a matter of perspective.  He's a distance cyclist too.

Nat Ersoz
Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I do coding-related stuff without really changing code: usually I'm writing new code comments or improve older ones. That's easy and warms you up quite nicely.

If you fell like drowning in code and work and you just need a break you may want to call your girlfriend if she'd like to ... ahem ... er ... ah, walk in the park for an hour =)

Sebastian Wagner
Wednesday, August 14, 2002

There's a story about the famous physicist Richard Feynman losing perspective on why he had become a physicist in the first place. So he started working out the rotational properties of frisbees (or maybe it was paper plates being used as frisbees), just because it seemed like fun. This gave him back his enthusiasm for physics.

Maybe you could add something to your project that is completely frivolous, but fun. Perhaps an easter egg of some sort.

Rod Buchan
Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Evidently the MS Excel 97 team started questioning why they'd become spreadsheet coders at some point.

Adrian Gilby
Thursday, August 15, 2002

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