Getting stuck sucks. It's frustrating at best, and makes you doubt of yourself at worst. It also is kind of inevitable. For everything in life, there's always these moments when we feel like we are making actual progress, we're learning, and then, all of a sudden, stuck. In a rut. Dead-end. It's not like you get worse, you just stop moving forward. You reached the plateau, they say.
And there are a lot of solutions for getting out of that rut, and you should definitely follow them. In my case, I found out that there's one thing that can help me get moving again, and that is —maybe counter-intuitively— to stop focusing on myself. Help out and reach out a hand to others. That, of course, is not to say you should only help for your own benefit, but lately I've realized it is a nice byproduct.
So, let's say you are struggling with your project right now. You can't seem to understand what it needs in order to take it to a next level, and it's been like that for a while now. You brainstorm, and you try out some stuff, and nothing. You are officially stuck, right?
You feel burnout from the frustration, so you decide to take some distance from your stuff, and then you remember that text from that one friend: Hey, you know stuff about websites, right? Ok, why not help them? It might be at the very least a good distraction.
But actually it's so much more!
Helping others literally takes the focus off you and what is worrying you, shifting your mindset and allowing you to perform better. That is why it is sometimes surprising how easily you can do something when helping out, in comparison to when you were doing it for yourself or under stress.
Lending a hand can also spark creativity. Looking at something with fresh eyes, as opposed to the project that has made you pull several all-nighters, can be truly inspiring. Perhaps your friend, who's a little inexperienced and still doesn't know how stuff works, had an idea that with some tweaks might be great! And actually, because they don't have that know-how tunneled vision, they saw a way around their problem in a very creative way that might help you as well. They just didn't know how to do the technical stuff.
Finally, helping out can be just a good break and a necessary change of mood. As I said, getting stuck can be very frustrating and you can easily become very annoyed. Getting out of yourself and actually fixing something for another person is great because, well, you fixed something for another person, but also it is a boost in morale, in self-esteem and in mood in general. Seeing someone grateful for a thing you did always bring joy. Heck, seeing someone even ask for your help should bring positive feelings. It's validation from someone else that you are knowledgeable and proficient in something. And to feel that is super great, especially when you are in a rut.
So help out, be supportive and sympathetic. It might help you more than you think.