How to Get Unstuck from Difficult Problems

When you make the same mistake twice.  The second time its a choice. Think about that for a minute… you are choosing to continue to make the same mistake over and over.

Its time for a little introspection… Think about one thing you in your job that you doesn’t work, yet you continue to do the same thing over and over.

Jeremy Callahan

Are You Stuck in a Rut?

It makes no difference what line of work you are in these tips will help you let go and move on.

I’ll give you an example of what happens to me and almost every other developer I know. Last week I discovered a bug on my mobile App Shoe Swipe. It was with the back button… when you hit “back” you when back a page, then forward a page, then back again. So you ended up where you needed to be but the screen flashed twice. I could re-create the bug so I thought this was a 10-minute fix at most. 3-hours later I still had no idea what was causing the issue.

I was frustrated and believing that persistence would win. I was like a fly trying to get out of a room by flying harder into the window.   I had isolated the lines of code causing the issue, made some changes and nothing working. And just like the fly… I figured the solution was to Try Harder.

If you find yourself stuck in a situation where nothing you are doing is working. I’d suggest you try these techniques:

Find Easy Tasks – Find the easiest tasks you can possibly do and be successful. Recently my best developer on a project was sitting and staring at his screen because he couldn’t solve a bug that was holding up the whole project. He wasn’t working because he had struck out 100’s of times on the same issue. I pulled him outside to get coffee and told him “when we get back to the office I want you to do these three simple tasks”. They were literally text changes. But he needed success! More success breeds more success. If you continue to fail you are going to be less motivated to do anything.

Get Outside & Exercise – The main reason you cannot solve the issue is that you are in a tunnel. Your mind has tricked you into believing that the only way out is the light at the end of the tunnel. The only way to break free is to realize your limiting beliefs are preventing you from success. You have to change the game. Get up, leave your desk and go outside. Take an hour off and go do something else. The sun and or exercise will cause chemical reactions in your brain

Put on Music – If you aren’t listening to music put some on immediately.   Music will alter you mood instantly and therefore change your thought pattern.

Do the Exact Opposite – You are not a fly… you have the option to observe the room and fly in a different direction. The reason you can’t solve your problem is because you are committed to your current course of action. Persistence and commitment are great qualities but you can’t let them be your only method. Instead…

Clear Your Mind – Go somewhere quite and meditate. It’s a super easy method and very effective. Go somewhere quite, close your eyes and start taking long deep breaths. All you have to concentrate on is your breathing and nothing else. When you mind wanders to other thoughts just bring your mind back to your breathing. Continuing to ask your objective mind for a solution is insanity. You need to tap into your subconscious mind for a solution.

As for my programming issue above, it turns out a week earlier another developer had added a registration page for new customers. When he added that process he was calling a function that was already called. Hence, when the user hit the ‘back’ button that process was happening two times. DUH!!!!!

It turns out it was a simple 10-minute fix if I was looking in the right spot. Don’t be a fly!

Jeremy Callahan The App Man

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Twitter: @jeremycallahan

Jeremy Callahan is a Mobile Commerce Expert, App Developer and Founder at Flip Shop Marketing