I’m always on the lookout for smart phone and iPad applications that can improve my productivity. It’s probably not a good idea to keep app switching all the time (it certainly makes more sense to stick with what works), but if I did that I wouldn’t have discovered Unstuck, a free iPad app.
Basically, if you’re stuck in a rut, Unstuck can help. It helps you to get rid of said rut, take action, and “live better every day.” I’ve decided to use it for a project that’s been hanging over my head for a bit, and it’s time to get it moving.
But, first, a test run. Here’s the process:
After downloading and registering, the app asks you to select three emotions in response to “How are you feeling in this stuck moment?” Some of your choices include hazy, high and dry, tired, unprepared, uninformed, indecisive, to name a few. Then, you get to rate how strongly you feel each emotion. I chose conflicted, uninformed, and up in the air, all with medium strength.
In this step, you drill down the type of stuck you’re in (personal, professional, or both) and who’s stuck with you (alone, you + another person, or you + other people). For my test, I chose professional and to go it alone, but if you select that you’re working with others, you’ll be asked to name the people in the rut with you.
You get to answer why you’re stuck and see examples of what others have written. I entered: “I’m stuck because there’s so much I want to do.” Even though this is a test, that statement is 100 percent true.
Now for the fun part. You get to sort your thoughts using these cool thought cards (they look like playing cards except they have words on them) that you drag and drop into two categories: So Me and Not Me.
Here are some of the cards:
- I thought I knew what to do but now I’m not sure
- I don’t know why this is not working
- It doesn’t seem real yet
- Remind me why this is important to me
- Maybe I need to ask somebody else what to do
- I NEED HELP
- Why is it so hard to decide?
- Doing a lot but getting nowhere
Can you see how these might be helpful? I really think this app forces you to think about the nuances of why things are not going the way you want them to.
Here, you’re asked to pick three (out of twelve) things you’re doing. I randomly chose:
- Letting yourself get distracted
- Doing busywork that gets nowhere
- Debating an issue over and over again
You wait a second or two until Unstuck diagnoses your problem. The app decided that based on my entries, I’m a Waffler. I may not like being called wishy-washy, but I like knowing that I’m not the only one in this spot. And, I know this because the app tells me that three other people, like Amy Tan, Ellen Degeneres, and Wallace Stevens, are just like me. Well, if they can get past that … you know the rest. I also learn that 9 percent of the Unstuck community is also having a “waffler” moment.
There’s an explanation of what it means to be a waffler, and I’m asked to confirm if this really sounds like me. I clicked yes, but when you click “no,” you get to start over, save and start a new stuck moment, or keep going. You also get a few tips.
This is where the work really begins as I’m asked to select a tool to help fix my flip-floppy self. But, first, I’m greeted by a lovely note that tells me not to give up and that change is a process. I’m also encouraged to be creative. I’m so in love with this app!
And, it loves me back by telling me to Take a stand, a.k.a., make a decision.
The next three steps really help you to do just that. It’s a very simple process, but that’s the beauty of it. It makes you think things through and gives you several tools (e.g., Map it out, Get your game on, Shake up your routine) so that you’re not just muddling through. If you don’t think that you’re quite through the woods, you can try out other tools.
So far, Unstuck seems different from all other project motivation apps I’ve seen. It seems to ask the right questions and help you to really think through your next steps. It’s similar to having a mentor or coach.
Could this app help you make life-altering decisions? Maybe. Could you get a few steps closer to a project’s goals? Definitely.
And, just to be clear, Unstuck didn’t pay me or reward me in any way for writing this post. I’m just really fond of it and think it can help anyone who is stuck on a project or problem.