There are times when I get stuck. Badly stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck. Cause: Overworking and overthinking. Unable to progress I make more mistakes. I work harder. I stretch too much. Force it. Elbows burn at the desk. Eyes hurt. Back gives away to pain. I still persist. I go to the deep end of stuck. End result: I am no where away from the point where I was stuck a while back. No more than maybe 3 pixels or 2 lines or 3 snaps away from when I had that feeling of being stuck. So what’s the best way out of this labyrinth of recurring, loopy way of working that leaves me frustrated, and exhausted? When what I love to do seems like work? The answer is: I unwork.

Why it actually happens

Take a break. Let new ideas rush in as a result of the unwork.

Here’s what I do when I am working hard (eventually and unknowingly hurtling toward that feeling of stuck). I stay put when I should ideally leave. I just sit there with some or the other distraction (damn you Internet) hoping that some idea will come by and I will pen it down or doodle away. Sometimes I am lucky. I get lots of ideas and being in front of the machine always helps. But most of the time, it never happens. My best ideas usually happen when I am away. A little away from it all. Staying at the workstation too long only results in one of the few things – my hands, arms and shoulders go numb with the sedentary lifestyle I have adopted for myself and my brain goes mushy with all that ‘lack of fresh air’.

Unwork. Leave the party

So here’s what I need to remind myself of and do for a change to avoid the ‘stuckiness’. Just get up and leave the party. I have overstayed. I had fun, I had a blast. I did some good, worked on some ideas and got a soft high from the appreciation I got from complete strangers (Thank you). Now I got to leave the party before the entire fun element goes overboard. Give the back a rest, give the limbs some activity and the mind some peace (and fresh air).

Unwork tactics

  • Walk
  • Do not read. Do not.
  • Hydrate
  • Avoid coffee
  • Call a friend
  • Call mom
  • Sleep
  • Meditate
    • Go thoughtless (tougher than you can imagine!)
  • Workout
  • Sleep

Hope this tiny post made you leave your station. I left…….a while…………………back 🙂

Thank you

Thank you for stopping by. Have a nice day ahead. May the force be with you. 


Salil Lawande is a writer, photographer and illustrator living/working/traveling in India.

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