Unstuck: An app that helps you achieve your goals

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:

Step One

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.

Step Two

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.

Step Three

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.

Step Four

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
  • 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.

Step Five

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

Step Six

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.

Step Seven

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.

13 Comments for “Unstuck: An app that helps you achieve your goals”

  1. posted by Maria on

    This app has a great concept. Will check it out!

  2. posted by Emily on

    Sounds helpful, I hope they release an iphone version soon

  3. posted by Mama Minou on

    I just happened to check Unclutterer today because, well, I’m procrastinating on a big project. It’s been hanging over my head and I’ve been unclear about why I can’t seem to get moving with it and am feeling stuck. How timely!

  4. posted by Patti on

    Seven steps? Deciding which of several pre-arranged feelings are yours? Sorting cards? Looks to me like the app itself is way too complicated, a distraction itself, which is the opposite of what a “stuck” person needs

    The time spent getting through that app one could BE unstuck by just taking baby steps working on the actual project that one has been procrastinating, which led to being stuck in the first place…

  5. posted by Shalin on

    Awesome awesome app idea!

  6. posted by Shalin on

    I would love to see how this works for folks with ADHD and other learning disabilities…

  7. posted by Jaxx on

    I think this is a grea idea even if it just gets you thinking on the emotions, thoughts, and fears holding you back. I already loaded it onto my iPad 🙂

  8. posted by Ady on

    I like the idea – taking a traditional methodology and digitising it. However, I agree with Patti that it may be more of a distraction than a solution.

    I have a pack of the “Mental Notes” cards (http://getmentalnotes.com/) that suit me both individually and for group work, but will give this app a try.

    Thanks for the review!

  9. posted by Jesse on

    This is really cool – the interface is awesome!

    I did find it humorously ironic, though, that as I was having an “avoider” moment, I had to continue avoiding what I was doing and dedicate a few more minutes to filling out the “Now or Never” action steps in order to avoid being an avoider. 🙂

  10. posted by Bytheway on

    I liked it. Congenial tone. Easy steps. FREE! And, It’s helpful. Thanks, Erin, for thought-provoking, concretely-helpful posts like this one. Lone leader is a great way to name what I’m feeling. I will refer to this again.

    Re:the app Give it a try. You might like it, too.

  11. posted by Glasses Girl on

    What if you don’t own an iPad? Any suggestions for a similar program that you can use on your computer?

  12. posted by Hippolyta on

    I’m an Android user. I want to play too!

  13. posted by Firesheep67 on

    Wish this were available for the iPhone.

    And on an unrelated note, signed up for the newsletter and found out that the app creators are housed two floors down from my cubicle! What a small world!

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