7 Ways to Get Out of a Work Rut
Or, how to make work not feel like *work*
You loved your job when you started, but now you dread going to the office. You’re bored, stressed or just over it. You’re in a work rut. But before you start looking for a new job, try these seven ideas for getting your head back in the game and rediscovering why you love doing what you do.
Figure Out the Root of the Problem
Before you can get out of a rut, you have to figure out why you’re in it. This means self-evaluating. When did you start feeling this way? Was it when your work bestie left the company? After a poorly received presentation? A change in responsibilities? Also keep in mind that the cause might not have anything to do with work, since personal stress can seep into your professional life. Once you identify the root cause of your unhappiness, you’ll be better equipped to tackle it head-on.
Focus on Self-Care
It seems fairly basic, but taking care of yourself can solve a host of problems. That means making sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right. When you’re healthy and well rested, you’re more likely to be in a good mood overall. At work, make sure your work area is clean and tidy (clutter breeds stress) and make a point of eating lunch away from your computer screen.
Take On a Side Project
Let’s say your nine-to-five is in accounting. It pays the bills, but you’re not necessarily jazzed about the concept. What you’re really passionate about is fitness. If that’s the case, consider turning it into a side project by, say, getting certified to teach Spin classes on weekends. But your side project doesn’t have to be a moneymaker; it could be as simple as taking up a new hobby like jewelry making or photography or teaching yourself a new skill like coding or a second language.
Learn Something New at Work, Too
You know the ins and outs of your job and you’re good at it. So good, in fact, that you could do it with your eyes closed (read: it’s uninspiring). When this happens, try to broaden your horizons and challenge yourself to learn a new skill. If you work in sales, for example, reach out to someone in manufacturing and ask to see how they do their job. This will give you a new perspective and might inspire you to think more creatively in how you approach your own job.
Change Your Surroundings
If possible, try working from somewhere else than your cubicle every once in a while. If you have a communal area with couches or comfy chairs, go there. It’s a short-term fix, of course, but a change of scenery could be invigorating.
Remember Why You Wanted the Job in the First Place
Especially if you’ve been in a position for a long time, it’s easy to forget about why you were excited about it in the beginning. The less jaded you are, the less you’ll let things get to you and the happier you’ll be.
Take a Break
Even if you can’t swing a weeklong trip, plan a quick three-day weekend getaway. Getting out of your routine, if only for a few days, could be just what you need to clear your mind and refocus. And if you’re a workaholic who freaks out about being away from email for a day, relax—your coworkers won’t run the company into the ground over the course of eight hours without you. That pina colada, however, just might make you more productive next week.