Sometimes You Just Get Stuck

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This is one of those moments for me. I’ve been scanning a coding project that I’ve been working on in Codecademy’s Javascript course, and I have been unable to debug it. In fact, I keep getting the same error. Maybe you have a similar problem. Maybe you’re stuck on how to write the next chapter of your novel, or on what your next priority should be at work. It’s easy to get frustrated, but wouldn’t you rather do something productive?

What to do first: 

  • First thing’s first, before you switch to another task, write down a question that sums up the problem that you are having. You don’t want to forget what it is you were thinking about!

Next… 

  • Think about what resources are available to you. If you have an internet connection you have a vast resource of information to you online. You can even think about a friend, family member, or coworker, who either has experience with what you are working on, or would be a good person from whom to get feedback.
  • Plan to use these resources after a short break from your current task.

How long have you been working on the problem? And how urgent is it?

  • The answer to these two questions can help you to determine whether you should switch to doing something else, and how long you ought to spend time away from the problem at hand.
  • If you’ve been working on a task that should only take 30 minutes for an hour, then you need to give your brain some time to rest. If you switch tasks and then come back to the problem, you will be able to see it with new eyes, and will likely be able to find the solution that you weren’t able to see before.
  • If something is urgent and must be done within the next few hours or so, then you should give your mind a quick 5 or 10 minute break. Don’t stray from your project for too long, or you will find yourself struggling to meet your deadline.

What should you do instead? 

  • The type of thing you do is probably a personality preference. For me, I like to do an easy task that I can do quickly. Being able to check something off of my list makes me feel productive and more confident.
  • You may also want to take a break and watch a funny video, but set a limit for how many videos or how long you will watch them. You don’t want to let a short break turn into procrastination.

Anyway, after writing this blog post, I now feel ready to approach my coding project with a fresh look. Hope this post was helpful to you!

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