When you hit the wall try Switch Thinking

Sometimes you get stuck.

You hit the wall.

And you start procrastinating.

When this happens, what do you do?

Here are 4 strategies:

1. You can think harder and longer.

Whilst this sounds like a good idea in my experience in a fast-moving environment it can cause even more frustration. In fact, the more you think about something in the same way you entrench your existing thinking patterns and you can become even more stuck.

2. You can wait for an ‘aha’ moment to hit you in the shower for example.

This is a valid and sometimes very effective strategy. Using this approach you let go of the problem at hand and let your mind wander. Or you can work on another problem or challenge and sometimes – bingo a new idea pops in your head at the most unexpected of times and places.

The disadvantage?

It takes time and there is no guarantee that a magical insight will emerge.

3. You can talk to friends, colleagues or team members and hope a random comment or suggestion might help you break free of an impasse.

I like this approach as well. Sometimes just talking about a problem to others can help you better understand the challenge at hand.

Also they can challenge your thinking in an informal way and may add a diverse perspective or experience that you have not considered.

The disadvantage?

Sometimes just talking to people is not enough.

Particularly (as I often do) you talk to the same people, in the same way. This means that you often are interacting with people who tend to agree with you and often see the world the same as you.

4. Do some switch thinking.

This is a semi-structured approach to helping you get over, under or around your own thinking wall.

You can use any one of the 6 switches (e.g. perspective, problem, outcome, focus, questions or rules).

Almost by definition your thinking will be different.

You will often see the situation differently and hence new ideas, solutions and opportunities often emerge.

The other advantage is if someone you are talking to is trained in switch thinking then they can help you to switch in a more proactive, dynamic way.

In Summary:

I have outlined 4 different options to help you when you (or your team) hits the wall.

These options of course are not mutually exclusive.

In my experience however only options 2, 3, and 4 actually work and I often use these in combination.

My preference is for switch thinking however because it’s proactive, quick and helps you make early progress which creates momentum.

Check out the 6 Switches Canvas. It’s simple, practical and free.