Productivity Tip: When You Can’t Move Forward, Move Sideways

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Do you ever get stuck working on a project?Image of word "sideways"

You’re rearing to move forward, yet can’t move backwards…it looks like the only way left to go is to move sideways.

As annoying as this may sound, your project’s sticking point isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

In this post I cover an interesting approach to productivity you might want to consider the next time things prevent you from moving forwards.

Most of the time we consider productivity as a one-track way of thinking, moving linearly through time space and time.

It’s the same type of thinking where if we are at point A, we must do everything possible in rapid succession to reach point H.

Moving forward is one thing, but there’s much to be learned from the power of branching out or working sideways on a project.

Here’s some interesting items to keep in mind:

Going sideways means you expand yourself and your capabilities.

When you expand the breath of your capabilities, you become more well-rounded. If you can’t make headway in a particular project from one approach, try expanding your knowledge and abilities to get things done. This might mean learning a new skill or technique to help you get things done.

Taking a side trip often leads to interesting discoveries.

The straight path isn’t the most interesting, educational or rewarding part of doing something. When you take the side path you might just discover a new way of doing something that increased your productivity ten fold! You might clarify what it is a time waster or energy drainer and you might even uncover a hidden or latent talent you didn’t even know existed.

You get a chance to look at a puzzle from a new angle.

Have you ever worked on a crossword or jigsaw puzzle? What seems to be an impossible puzzle to solve becomes a breeze once you’ve taken a step back from it. (I’m always amazed at how I miss seemingly obvious crossword clues when I come back to a puzzle in a few days’ time). Productivity puzzles are the same way. Sometimes you need to either take a break from your progress, or approach the puzzle in a different way, only then will the puzzle complete itself.

Now to you…have you ever had to work (or end up working) on a project in a non-linear fashion? What did approaching the project from a different vantage point do for your productivity or ability to get the job done? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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