Leadership Tip: When You Can't Do the Big Thing, Do Some Little Things

For any leader, especially those whose jobs involve tasks on the creative side, we will occasionally get stuck.  For me, this usually happens when writing a sermon.  There may be an outside stressor that is weighing on me or an inner blasé with no discernible cause.  But for whatever reason, the big important task just isn't happening.
At this point, my old pattern response is to stick with it, to buckle down, and to try to hammer something out.  One of three things usually happens.  (1) By some kind of miracle or sheer will-power, I'm able to push through the fog and create something meaningful.  (2) I write something, but it's actually pretty mediocre.  (3) I try and try to write, but I end up doing basically nothing.  I may surf the net trying to get inspired or simply procrastinate by playing solitaire.  So, trying to buckle down only has a good result one out of three times for me.
Here's another option that I'm finding much more helpful.  Instead of trying to pound out the big task when it just isn't working, sometimes I put that task aside for a few hours or for the whole day.  Instead, I pick up some smaller - less demanding tasks - like emails or organizing receipts or making phone calls.  Those tasks will have to be done eventually.  They aren't going away.  If I'm not going to put in quality work on the big task, I might as well get something productive done.  Then, two good things happen.  (1) I'm not ridiculously behind, when I finally finish the big task.  (2) I give myself some mental and emotional space to get a better grip on the big task.  Usually, my subconscious keeps working, and when I pick it up again after lunch or the next day, my creative juices are flowing, and I'm ready to roll out some quality work.