Photo credit: *clarity* (CC BY 2.0)

Many times a month, week, or day you feel directionless.

I can totally relate, so you don’t have to worry; you aren’t a freak or loser that doesn’t know what they want to do with their life. You just may be stuck.

But, good news, “directionless one”. The holidays are a great time to step back from your work-life and rethink what and how you are trying to get things done.

Rather than give you some of the reasons that you feel directionless in the first place, let’s just dive into the 18 ways that you can find your direction so you can be on the path again to get things done faster and better over this holiday break.

1. Mind map

We have talked about mind mapping in the past at Lifehack. If you sit down and spend a little bit of time connecting thoughts and ideas to each other either paper or digitally through mind mapping you may start to see how all the pieces fit together and feel some sort of direction.

2. Learn what you don’t want to do

If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, sometimes it’s a good idea to find the things that you aren’t supposed to do. This can clear up your vision of your project or business model and help you move forward.

3. Day dream and doodle

Over the past few months since I’ve graduated from college, I haven’t daydreamed and doodle as much. But, I know that this is one of the best ways for me to find new ideas on topics that I was stalling on. We sometimes need to just let our minds wander and not put so much pressure on ourselves. Day dreaming and doodling allows us to have some “no-pressure” creative time.

4. Find some “non-technology” time

Sometimes we lose our direction on projects because we are buried in our work. And with most of us being knowledge workers, being buried in our work means being buried in our computers and technology devices. It’s a good idea to step away on a daily basis from these devices and work on some of your own personal creative time. Over the holiday break is a great time to do this.

5. Read

Reading is a great way to find inspiration. But, you have to make sure that you aren’t just reading to avoid what you’re supposed to be working on.

6. Reach out to friends and other creatives

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your new project, a good way to get some is to talk to other people that are like-minded as well as friends and family. Sometimes these people can be a little bit strong in their criticisms, but it may just be what you need to find your direction.

7. Free Write

This goes back to my favorite thing to do every single day; write 750 words. Writing every single day helps free thoughts from your mind, making them more concrete. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had something in my mind but haven’t been able to express it until I wrote for that day.

8. Simplify things

I’m sometimes a little weary of the whole minimalist movement, but, simplifying and going “minimal” can be a really great way to concentrate on what you’re trying to work on.Cut out everything that you don’t need and concentrate on only the things that you do to find some direction.

9. Change up your tools and processes

I’m a staunch proponent of keeping with your tools and productivity processes for the long haul, but every once in a while you may just need to switch things up, especially if there is something about your process that is holding you back.

10. Exercise

I’ve gotten some great ideas on projects that were “stuck” when I was out walking, biking, or running. Make a habit of exercising and you will get ideas on a regular basis to keep you unstuck and moving in the right direction.

11. Meditate

Being mindful is an important thing to do whether or not you need to find your direction. Sitting in silence can help you clear your mind and be in the moment, opening you up to new ideas and helping create motivation for something that is stagnating in your life.

12. Create rituals and blocks of work

Block out times during your day where you work on the the things that are important to you. If you don’t schedule your time diligently, it will possibly be lost to something that isn’t as important to you.

Also, having lists of things to do every day is a great way for you to keep “treading water”, allowing you to concentrate on the bigger picture.

13. Force yourself to create ideas

Sometimes you just have to force yourself to come up with new ideas to get a project back on track. Make ideas happen is part of being a knowledge worker.

14. Stop analyses paralyses and get started

Sometimes we already know what we want and have to do to get something moving forward. Instead of actually doing it though, we think that we need more information to get it done. You probably don’t.

If you think you know enough to start or keep a project moving then put down the tutorial or the book and get to work.

15. Follow a framework

If you feel no direction on a project try running through something like David Allen’s 5 Phases of Productivity. Maybe you just need to know what “wild success” looks like to make it over the hump.

16. Spend quality time

Some people that are consumed with projects and getting the next thing done forget to have a life. Instead of stressing and struggling, how about spend some quality time with your family and friends and try to remember why you do what you do?

17. Step away from the problem

Stepping away from the problem can sometimes give you instant direction on what to do to solve the problem. Once you stop thinking so hard about something, new ideas and direction can come easier.

18. “White knuckle it” and get to work

While meditation and free writing and all the other “nu-nu-na-na” stuff can help you find your direction, most times you just need to sit down, white knuckle it, and work hard. There is no replacement for hard work.

Feeling directionless can be a horrible way to go through your workday and life. But, the holidays are a great time to rethink your work strategy and to make sure that you have everything that you need in your productivity framework to move forward on projects. Finding your direction on a stalled project may only be one free-writing or mind mapping session away, so give these above recommendations a try if you are feeling directionless.

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