Having a “block” is kind of a funny way to describe the circumstance we associate with being stuck in our work. Sometimes, we call it writer’s block. It might as well be called do-er’s block — or probably, more accurately, fear of doing. Because that’s really what’s happening. We freeze up about doing: taking the next step or tackling the next phase or writing the next sentence.

We’re searching for that next action we need to take to move the work or project ahead.

But how?

One of the best ways forward, in those instances, has to do with steps that likely came (or should’ve come) far earlier. Planning can help with avoiding getting stuck in the first place. Know where you need to go. Figure out what path is most likely. Research and strategize about the most fruitful options.

Of course, you need to be open to changing those assumptions. Be flexible. And be nimble. Not doing that is a separate way to get trapped and stuck.

But the blocked path is often just an unplanned path. Make yourself a map. And then follow it. Pause, sure. But get blocked? That’s not nearly as likely if you put significant effort into figuring out the way ahead as one of your first steps.

If you did that, and then get stuck, consult the map you made.

If you didn’t make a map, it’s not too late. Just retrace your intentions and goals for the work. Frame it. Design the best path forward. Outline and take baby steps, if you want. That’s fine. The important thing is that you thaw the fear of doing — through the act of doing.