Getting Unstuck (PT 1)

stuck in mud

Booking under: Keith

Ever been stuck on a problem? Of course you have. I know at least I do (at work), which makes this month’s chapter of Designing your life essential reading. As we face various difficulties in our lives, let’s see what Bill and Dave have to say about tackling these issues in our work and living.


mind map

My mind map probably won’t be so colourful 😦

For any problem we might encounter, our authors recommend we do a mind map so as to help us explore different options. The reasoning for this is because as humans, we often only come up with one idea in response to a problem and then focus solely on that response.

Unfortunately, Bill and Dave observes that our first idea to any given problem is normally not the best one. Instead, we need to explore as many options as possible and get ourselves in a creative head-space. The mind map is the perfect tool to help us do this.

To do a mind map, we need to start by choosing an idea or topic (e.g. going outdoors), then brainstorming and writing down any related ideas that come to mind. The key is to do several cycles of this and to allow even crazier and sillier ideas. While they may seem unpractical initially, these ideas might come in later as we create concepts by linking up the ideas we wrote down.

So if our initial idea is going on holidays, we might come up with various destinations in our first ring of ideas, different activities to do in our second ring of ideas, and then a list of travel necessities for our third ring of ideas. After we have our ideas laid out, we can go through and combine them into a useful holiday concept.

Sounds crazy? I’ll be having a go at this in the coming week. Let’s see what cool work ideas come to mind!


port boat ship black

Are your problems bulky, orange, and rusted?

Remember a few chapters ago when we discussed gravity problems? To recap, gravity problems are issues in our lives we cannot change. It’s simply a waste of time trying to deal with them and we’re better off devoting our efforts elsewhere. Anchor problems, on the other hand, are issues that arise when we focus on one particular solution and run into a wall.

When we run into anchor problems, Bill and Dave suggest we reorient ourselves. What is the problem we’re trying to solve? Is there another way around it? The key, then, is to reframe our goal and to prototype our solution by taking steps and trying it out. If it works, great. If not, let’s reframe and prototype again.


summary notes

That’s it for this week, folks! I’ll be trying out the mind mapping method to come up with new tasks at/approaches to work. Right now, I have no idea what’s going to come out of it – and that’s part of the excitement! In the meantime, do give this method a try yourself, and tune in next week as the prettier writer of this blog shares her learnings. Til then!


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