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Three Things That Could Be Keeping You Stuck in a Rut and How to Break Through!

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March 9, 2023

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I went from nearly losing my mind and business to an intentional, successful woman all because of systems.
I'm Chelsi Jo
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Are you feeling like you’re stuck in a rut? Maybe you have the hours that you need to complete the work you have planned that day, but when you sit down to work, you just can’t make yourself produce anything. Maybe you feel unproductive in your home, and business just feels hard right now.

If you don’t know how to keep up with your systems, then this blog is especially for you! I’m sharing the key things that might be keeping you in a slump and some encouragement to break through that season. Ready to jump in? Grab your smoothie or cup of joe, and let’s do this!

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

My Own Experience Stuck in a Rut

Here is a little backstory on what we’re talking about today. I attribute a lot of my success and productivity to my systemized thinking and using systems in my life. I want to show up, but when my thoughts are all over the place, I need the walls of a system to help me put things in place.

Throughout the past few years of growing my business and passion for systems, I have been able to produce a lot. For the most part, it has been production after production. There was never really a time when I couldn’t sit down and make something happen.

All that started to change and things started getting hard. I started noticing major anxiety and diversion from my work blocks and my cleaning blocks. I was just trying to escape it without really thinking about it intentionally. Things were actually getting done in my business, but just down to the wire. That is not good when it becomes a pattern. I was back to the habit of my old college days, which is just banking on the pressure and time to force me to produce. That is not the culture I want to create in my home or my company. I was truly feeling stuck in a rut.

Start with Observing

I was really observing what was happening, what my response was, and what the result was. I noticed that even when I was showing up to my work block, I was finding other things to work on to avoid the harder more creative work. Through this process, I noticed three big things that were causing this. The first two are very different from the last.

I’m not looking to teach you a specific system here, but this is going to be a blog where I want to guide you through your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas, about your life. This is something that was going on for me for months. There are a lot of things that can contribute to a downturn, lull, or less productive time or space that you’re working through.

We’re not supposed to always be highly productive. That is not what I am saying. I just know what I am capable of. You may feel like you are capable of so much more than what you’re producing right now. You may feel like you can’t take action the way you want to. That’s when you know you need to make some observations on your own life.

Just by sitting back and observing these three parts of myself while I was in this rut and letting myself observe it with no pressure, allowed me to get out of it as quickly as I did. Let’s get started with the three things that kept me stuck in a rut!

“I’m not looking to teach you a specific system here. I want to guide you through your own thoughts, feelings, and ideas, about your life. There are a lot of things that can contribute to a downturn, lull, or less productive time or space that you’re working through.

#1 My Space Was Killing Me

The first thing that probably dug the rut in the first place is something you might be feeling right now too. My space was killing me. What I mean by that is that my literal physical space for working and taking care of my home was not inspiring me to show up and work.

In my home, my situation is different because we are in a season of transition. We are in the middle of moving, and so that means systems are out of place. There are a lot of things out of the usual. That is to be expected.

Since I work from home for my business, the space in my home was driving me crazy and I was tired of it. I started working as much as I could in my coworking space. Even working in a coffee shop was super helpful. How I noticed this was a problem was that every time I went to sit down and work, I started trying to fix the space instead of actually working. I wanted to get rid of everything because I needed a change of pace in that specific area. It finally clicked with me that it’s OK to change things up.

Your Space Should Inspire You

What dawned on me is that the space is no longer inspiring me, and it was making it really hard to be creative. All of a sudden I was like “oh my gosh” you are no longer a robot in the corporate world. This is creative work, and this is me every day of my life and creating life-changing education and support for my students. I need a space where I can do that kind of work, where I’m providing life-changing support.

Maybe that’s not the thing that sticks out for you, but there is probably something in your physical space that’s causing a block. Maybe you want to move your child’s crib out of your room, and move a desk in. That could be your transition. Maybe you have too much stuff and you need to do a hard reset. You need space to think and breathe if things are feeling heavy. As I move into my next tip, each layer of this is about to get deeper and deeper.

#2 The Micro Matters

You may or may not know this, but I have been very into micronutrition for a very long time, and now I am getting into macro nutrition. I am working on marrying these two for my family. But these terms, micro and macro, are very front of mind for me. It made perfect sense here. I have cared for a long time about time blocks. I still do because those are the macros of your day. They are the big segments of time in your day and in mine. When you’re feeling stuck in a rut, the big parts and small part of your day all matter.

I always recommend sorting out the macros dialed in before you get into the micro-segments of your day. Check out my free Time Blocking Workbook to help get a handle on your macros. You may need to be dialed into the macro parts of your day first, but I’m going to talk about my experience with the micro part of my day. I had gotten away from where those micro-moments were actually taking me in my life.

Tuning Into Your Micros When You’re Stuck in a Rut

The micro parts of my systems had been sucked away by a lot of different things. Some of those were within my control, and some of them were outside my control. Once I started applying myself more to the micro areas of my life, my passion started to come alive again. I started to get that lightness back from pouring into my work and home. Some of those micro things are really what I’m doing now. If you see me on Instagram, I am always showing pictures of my planner and how I put my time blocks in. You’ll see at the bottom of my page every week is my habit tracker.

I did a habit tracker for a long time but fell away from it for a while. Those are the things that are micros in our lives. Our macros for our time are the five-time blocks. Within that, we have microelements. That is our eating, sleeping, habits, and routine stacks we have. It could even be our communication and the way we relate and move through our day. Those are the microelements that have a much bigger impact than you will be able to know or see.

Evaluating Your Time

It’s very easy to see where big chunks of our days go, but it’s so much harder to find tangible evidence of where 15 minutes will go. You can see where those microelements are where you can squeeze out elements of efficiency. I was noticing that while I was stuck in my rut, those things were gone. My day was being lived in macros and big-time blocks. What I was doing inside of them was not what I wanted to be doing anymore.

It was really discouraging for me to notice that. Imposter syndrome started to show up because of what I do and the standard I set for myself. I had to reevaluate what are my microelements and how am I going to track them. How am I going to have accountability? I am super excited that I have mapped out my habits inside my planner. I have a total number that I want to hit for how many times a week I go to the gym or am in my Bible study. At the end of the week, I divide how many I hit by my goal so I get a percentage. That tells me exactly how I’m doing. Did I get an A, B, C or am I failing for the week?

Keeping track of those things and keeping myself accountable is a fun way for me to notice these important micro parts of my time. Maybe tracking in that way will be helpful for you too.

#3 Things Change

This is the last tip, but it’s the most impactful and incredible experience. When you are feeling that resistance and feeling heavy, you have to understand that things always change! Things HAVE to change! Every single time things change or shift, and something is coming on the horizon, you are going to feel resistance.

The opposition is heavy. There is weight and it is 100% there. It will keep every single one of us from growing. What I know is that I am just as susceptible to this force and being held back from making changes as anyone else is. I often think about Brene Brown and her book Dare to Lead. She also has a Netflix special that is very worth your time to watch. Her work helps me get over these humps. There are literal uphill humps that we have to get over. Sometimes they are massive.

You May Not Actually be Stuck in a Rut- You’re Changing!

When we’re talking about change, you might not even see the change coming, but you will definitely feel it. It might feel like you are stuck in a rut, but that feeling might be what it’s like before the change comes. Picture yourself going up a big hill and getting over that hump is the resistance and the hard part before the change.

I was not spending enough time in quiet and journaling. If I would have been journaling this experience, I probably would’ve seen it instead of being blindsided by it. Looking back I’m like “of course that was happening!” I’m so glad I was able to change things like my physical space and my micros to help me get through this to lighten the resistance.

What was actually happening is that I was going uphill because the change was about to take place. That ride uphill happens before any change does. Thinking about the change, planning the change, and the work that happens before, every bit of that is this huge trek up a hill. There is constant gravity and weight on your back. There is a constant pull to go back down that hill.

Navigating the Hills

The more fit and capable you are of going up and down these hills, the better you can navigate them when they come. There will always be change. There will always be hills. You have to be able to handle it.

When you get to the top of the hill that’s the announcement, and the downhill is the really fast warp-speed work that you have to do to actually make the change happen. You are committed, you’re all in, and you’re just trying to keep up!

Then you can kick your feet up and ride down that hill! It feels reckless and scary. That’s where I am now. Looking back I’m seeing that all that resistance was there because the change was coming, I just didn’t see it then! That resistance that I felt for that whole time was heavy because I was sitting on something. We are supposed to change, you can’t resist that. Dig in and go up the hill! I know now that we can actually lighten that resistance with systems, organization, good food, healthy sleeping, and relationships.

You Can Get Through Hard Things

I want you to know that too. But I also want you to know that you can do all those things, and the resistance will still be there. That’s because you’re supposed to change. You’re supposed to evolve. You’re supposed to do that big scary thing even though it feels like you don’t have the ability to get up that hill. The only way to get up is to dig in and keep trying. At the end of all this, I want you to have the chance to process where you are.

If things are feeling hard for you right now, ask yourself why. Ask yourself what you’re on the verge of changing. You already know the answer, it’s screaming at you right now. What do you need to break through? Or is it because you are bogging yourself down with endless clutter, excuses, negative attitudes, terrible food, and not enough sleep? Those are all great things to inventory. Maybe it’s a combination of both like it was for me.

Either way, the answers are 100% within your control and so were mine. Little by little and day by day, I am figuring out how to become OK with the number of uphills and downhills that I’m going to experience in this journey. I’m just really happy you’re here to experience it with me. I am really excited that you joined me. If you want to connect more with me and other women who are on this journey together, check out our free Facebook community, and share the change you might be experiencing now.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get more of this kind of support to get out from being stuck in a rut?

You’re more capable than you think. But if you are anything like me, trying to do it all without systems created complete chaos. You don’t have to feel stuck in a rut. To learn more about how to implement those in your own home check out the Systemize Your Life Academy. I created the Systemize Your Life Academy so you can access the exact systems I use to juggle kids, a marriage, a house, and my business. When you learn the Systemize Your Life Method you become efficient and productive which allows you to have the balance you need to grow in your business without drowning in your home. 

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