Stares aimlessly at a blank document…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…!

Crap. Nothing!

How many times have you stared blankly at your computer screen with no idea what to do?

Don’t dare say “never”, you cannot possibly be mortal if you do.

I know people who are really great at what they do who come across projects that are so tough they just want to grab some beer and forget the task (only for a while).

I know there will be times when giving up would seem the easiest option, but hey, it might be the easy way out, but we can do something about that.

Consider telling yourself these reminders.

1. “I think I need time and space.”


It’s a good idea to step away from your overwhelming workload for the day. In fact, it’s proven that taking short breaks throughout the day helps boost productivity at work.

Read: Big Tips to Boost Productivity at Work

A popular technique for doing this is the so-called “Pomodoro Technique”, a personal favorite. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide you with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing you to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue. It is done by budgeting your time into short increments and taking breaks periodically. You work for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break after.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato (Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name).

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a “pomodoro”, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

Keep this in mind, however: Keep yourself accountable when you do need a breather. If you want to step away from your work for a while, make sure you know your deadline. If you know how much time you need to rejuvenate yourself, don’t let yourself go beyond that. Take a break you can reasonably take. Once it’s up, get back to work. Alright?

2. “I’ve been down this road before.”


Find comfort in the fact that wherever you are today, you’ve been through tough times before, and somehow, you had to figure out some tricky problems to get where you are today (or learn some lessons the hard way).

This proves that you have the right amount of determination and skill and experience to face the hurdles life will throw at you (your pesky tasks for example). There’s nothing that will stop you from succeeding, especially not just some tough stuff. You are tougher!

3. “Oh I get by with a little help from my friends”


Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a symptom of failure, quite the opposite in fact. Recognizing that you need help is a characteristic of the strong and the self-aware – vital attitudes for personal development.

Perhaps you are thinking that asking for help will make you look incompetent, or that you would be an inconvenience to the person you are ‘bothering’. Well, yes and no.

If you approach a person the wrong way, well, need we say enough?

Here’s The Muse’s Richard Moy’s take on asking for help:

“. . .Everyone has been exactly where you are, dealing with a project that doesn’t seem to have an obvious solution. And because everyone can relate to that, most people you’ll come across will be pretty empathetic about your predicament.”

It’s implied of course that the person you are approaching knows how to help you. You don’t want to burden someone who doesn’t even know what you are talking about, right?

If someone on your team has a solution, they will probably be most willing to share what they know.

Don’t be afraid to ask for other’s help. After all, most of the time, we turn to people for help or advice for reaffirmation – a little reminder that you’ve already figured it out and you can do it.

4. “I can really do this!”


Yes, you can. No pressure, though, but you can. You wouldn’t land your job if you can’t. Take comfort in the fact that your boss hired you not just because you are brilliant, but most importantly because you get things done. And nobody else can do what you can do. 

Know also that you are not alone. This happens even to the best of us. While that’s not an excuse, may that give us the comfort and not be too hard on ourselves. Remember to step back for a while, ask for help if necessary, and believe that you can get through the tough times.

They say that the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do is to do it (whatever it is)!