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Getting Unstuck: Tools to Empower Your Creative Decision-Making


Sometimes, despite an abundance of information at our fingertips, it can be tricky to make decisions, or come up with ideas that feel truly unique.

As a writer I get stuck all the time — whether it’s writing a new tweet, blog post or even trying to finish the next sentence in a paragraph. Writers often refer to this feeling as a “block.” I’m not a fan of the term. Instead, I like to think of it as being stuck on an idea. For me, getting stuck often means that the idea I’m trying to convey with my writing just isn’t fully formed yet. In other words: I don’t know what to do next.

But getting stuck doesn’t only happen to writers. You might feel stuck at work or with a school project, or with a big (or small) decision. Regardless of what you’re stuck on, it can be helpful to look outside your current situation or ‘stuck moment’ for some creative decision-making guidance. These tools should help you build some momentum and propel you and your decisions forward.

Sometimes we make decisions based on our "gut feelings." This is called intuition.

Sometimes we make decisions based on our “gut feelings.” This is called intuition and it can be very powerful.

Idea Generators

Maybe you just need a great idea to get you started? There are some fun idea generators on the Internet, from silly to serious, that can help kick start the creative process. The only problem with them is that the ideas they come up with often sound like everything else out there — still, they can be valuable in helping spark your imagination. Portent’s Content Idea Generator and HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator are two tools primarily geared at bloggers and writers but can be helpful for anyone trying to come up with fun ideas.


Unstuck is a tool wonderfully grounded in all the worst kinds of emotions. Feeling lost, uninspired or conflicted? Unstuck might have some answers. It’s available on the web, although to take full advantage of all the tools, you’ll need an iOS or Android device.

Once you sign up for the free service Unstuck will start to narrow down the root of your conundrum by asking you to how you’re feeling. You choose three (of 18) feelings like paralyzed, afraid or overwhelmed. It helps to pick three feelings because our emotions are often complex and simply selecting one doesn’t accurately define our felt sense. After answering the best you can, Unstuck will take you through a series of exercises to help tackle your ‘stuck’ moment.

What’s truly great about Unstuck is it’s ability to handle all sorts of problems, from what you’re having for dinner to whether or not you should make a big change in your life. Use it as a quick brainstorming tool, or spend hours working through your problem. The best part about Unstuck is that it doesn’t just give you an answer, it gives you tips and tools to help you achieve your goals.

Making a Decision

This breakdown of two books on decision-making by the New York Times, explains that when we’re stuck on making a decision, we tend to gather information that confirms our own biases. That’s called confirmation bias. We also let emotions play a big role. A great way to start making effective decisions in these cases is to “take our emotional temperature.” Be aware of your own feelings and how our relationships tend to impact our decisions.

Now that you’ve got some tools, what’s stopping you? Go forth and make decisions, get unstuck, and come up with your next great idea! If you’re still feeling stuck after going through some of these steps, there’s always the traditional decision-making tool we’ve relied on for decades: brainstorming with a friend. Getting a fresh perspective from someone you trust can sometimes make all the difference.

What is your favourite strategy for getting unstuck? Share them below.


Christopher is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. He has a fondness for strong coffee, good books and foreign news services. When he was five years old his father helped him raise a family of chipmunks over the winter, you should ask him about it. Professionally, he’s spent time as a technology journalist, PR consultant, and freelance blogger. Christopher’s work has appeared in a lot of trade magazines you’ve probably never heard of and maybe some you have. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Media Foundations from Humber College in Toronto.