If lately you’ve been feeling disengaged at work, like you’re lacking motivation to complete daily tasks or like you’re just generally unhappy with how your career is going, you may have fallen into a work rut. While easy to fall into, ruts aren’t always easy to get out of, especially if you don’t have the right mindset or the right strategies in place.
To provide some guidance, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer 13 tips for how to effectively pull yourself out of a work rut and get reengaged with your career goals. Try these steps to see where your newfound motivation takes you.
1. Delegate and Reorient
If you’re feeling swamped, don’t feel like you have to carry the weight all yourself. Instead, delegate the responsibility to a trusted team member and focus on an issue that you feel prepared to tackle. This way, your fellow team member will feel empowered with a new responsibility and you’ll feel the relief of having a rut-inducing issue off your back.
– Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions
2. Review Your Goals
To try and pull yourself out of a rut, review your goals. Reviewing goals allows you to confirm that you are spending time on the right things. Generally, I find ruts are caused by losing direction or focus. Realign yourself and go crush those goals!
– Zane Stevens, Protea Financial
3. Switch Modes
I am very fortunate that I love what I do. However, anyone can tire from the demands of their day-to-day job. My favorite way to get motivated again is to switch modes and work on a different portion of it. Tired of crunching numbers? Check in with your marketing team. Can’t finish writing an email? Go chat with that employee you’ve been meaning to touch base with.
– Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment Group
4. Work on Your Passions
Work on things that you’re passionate about. It could be outside of work or something you do for fun. Go back to what makes you happy. You may need to file a leave or ask your boss for an opportunity to work on other projects that really make you happy. Our jobs are supposed to make us happy. Then, once you go back to your real work, you can start pinpointing what makes you feel demotivated.
– Daisy Jing, Banish
5. Take a Mental Health Day
Taking a mental health day can be a great way to get out of a rut, reduce stress and burnout and increase motivation at work. I encourage my team members to take one a quarter so they feel refreshed.
– Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
6. Start Building Your Skills
Feeling like you’re stuck in rut can be the result of reaching the limits of your current skill set, and the problem you’re dealing with could be greater than usual. Build your skills by doing online courses and reading books. You’ll get new information that helps you come up with solutions you’d never know otherwise. You’ll also feel more motivated to improve your work.
7. Think About the Big Picture
When I fall into a rut at work, I have to stop and remind myself why I’m taking this path. I’ve found that we can lose motivation when we lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes, reflecting on how far you’ve come and what you will achieve at this rate is enough to help you refocus.
– Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
8. Take Time to Reflect
When you find yourself in a rut at work, I recommend spending time reflecting on why you feel this way and how you have handled previous encounters. Practicing a regular journaling routine can help anyone gain self-awareness. Taking time off or taking things slowly can shift your perspective. When I get anxious, I reduce working hours and take more time for myself to focus on areas outside of work.
– Libby Rothschild, Libby Rothschild
9. Create No-Work Time Blocks
A constant focus on the same issues and a lack of fulfilling rewards will often lead you into a motivational rut. Try and give yourself time blocks where you aren’t allowed to focus on or worry about work stresses. This can be difficult for many business owners. Take up an activity like yoga or martial arts that forces you to focus on something physical and takes your brain away from the typical issues.
– Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
10. Disconnect to Reconnect
I travel, meditate and absorb new experiences, disconnected from the office, to rebuild motivation to meet new challenges at work. If I am in a rut, most often it is because my way of looking at the same problems needs a reboot. It is just like restarting your operating system after an update. When I go to new places and experience new things, I update my system.
11. Reset Physically and Mentally
Do something that will shock your system. Take a cold shower, go for a run, push yourself really hard during a workout. Take a day off and don’t allow yourself to check email or work on any projects in or outside of work. Give your mind and body a break and allow it to recalibrate.
– Chase Williams, Market My Market
12. Take a Mini-Vacation
I’ve found that a mini-vacation is the best way to break a mental rut at work. In my experience, a long weekend is enough to refresh and get back into action. If you feel chronically exhausted, don’t hesitate to schedule some time off for self-care. You’ll find that this strategy will supercharge your motivation and productivity.
– John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
13. Talk to Someone
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it helps to talk to someone about it. Whether you seek professional help or call a friend, it’s important to have an outlet to vent your true feelings and frustrations. It’s not healthy to bottle up your emotions or act like you’re okay with a situation when you’re not.
– Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.