Sometimes I can approach a problem and know exactly where I want to get started and the first few things I want to accomplish. Usually I’ve been thinking about a particular problem for a while or I’ve just gotten really excited due to the proper dosage of caffeine. I love that situation.

But most of the time things don’t come that easily. Maybe I’m working on a project that I don’t really like but I know that it is important to get it done. Or maybe I’m working on something I’m really psyched about but I’m working on more mundane aspects of it. And sometimes I just can’t figure out which direction to go with a problem.

I have a system when things don’t come easy and I generally use it when starting a new project or when getting going again after a moderate break, like a night’s sleep. I start by visualizing whatever I’m working on. So if I’m working on an app then I’ll launch it and get to the part of the app that I am currently working on. Seeing what I’m working on primes my brain for what I need to do and helps to focus me on the immediate next steps. Once I get that first visualization, I continue the workflow in the app until I come across something that isn’t working right and start working on it.

Getting my mind going by seeing the app sets me up to get back into the flow of working on it.