Unstuck in Action: Just the right kick in the pants

Name:  Brian O’Donnell

Age:  39

Location: New York City

Occupation: Electronic musician, engineer, producer. “Since I was a teen, I’ve been working in music, so I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. I’ve produced everything from heavy rock to teen princess pop. I do music full time and I also teach Bikram yoga part time.”

What are you working on now?
“My current album is an electronic dance album. I write the music, perform all instruments, vocals, produce, engineer — I do everything. This is my first under the name ‘Fits of Genius.’

“The first track is titled ‘Say’ and is available via fitsofgenius.com for free. The track is also available on iTunes and Amazon as well a deluxe version on the website.”

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?
“One of my best friends in the world noticed I was looking for clarity on how to finish a project and passed it on to me. I tried it and was immediately hooked. It’s making me answer questions I never ask myself.”

What’s was the project you were stuck on?
“Two years ago, I got Kickstarter funds for my album. Ten months into it, the drives were erased, and the backups, too — completely destroyed. I spent three months not knowing what to do, thinking maybe it’s a sign that I’m going in the wrong direction — I had 20 different paths I was going in.”

How were you acting in this stuck moment?
“Like an Ad Libber. I’m always flying by the seat of my pants. I have so many things in mind so I go with the flow but can’t get anything done like that.

“It made me focus on the most important points of what I want to accomplish with the album. Narrow my choices down, and then prioritize and put an order to what I do. It helped me set up this plan, and I’ve stuck to it.”

How else have you used the app?
“Mostly for my music. One of the songs I wrote is a story, and I kind of used Unstuck in the characters’ shoes to come up with an idea.

“I also used the tools ‘Mirror, Mirror’ and ‘Visualize It’ together to create the spark for another song I’m using on the album.

“And I used the app to guide me through my design decisions and to help make the choices for song release order.”

How often do you get stuck?
“I get stuck all the time. Varies on a scale of 1 to 10. I probably get seriously stuck once or twice a week.“

“I think I’ve known I’ve been stuck for many years, but I never put a name to it. I just called it frustration. At first, I thought ‘I’m not stuck I’m getting all this stuff done!’

“The app has made a small but fundamental change to the way I think. I’m starting to recognize when I’m stuck in a moment and my behavior is changing because of it. If you get kicked in the butt in just the right amount, it can push you in the right direction.”

How do you know when you’re stuck?
“I call it the endless-loop syndrome. In music, in particular, when I’ve been listening to same eight bars over and over, I get frustrated, look to the distance, and it becomes hazy.”

What’s it like to get unstuck?
“A light comes on and fireworks goes off in my brain.”

If you could change one thing about Unstuck, it would be:
“I would like tickler reminders every once in a while, asking if I’m stuck.”

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