Everyone has days when the clock seems to be running at half speed. Back-to-back meetings may leave us struggling with virtual fatigue. Repetitive tasks might make us feel sluggish and unable to focus. We might be dragging our feet, killing time without feeling particularly productive or inspired. It’s normal to fall into a rut from time to time, but when this feeling persists, it’s important to take action to feel more meaning and joy in our work. We may even find that some of the obstacles we’re facing have more to do with our own mindset and habits than any outside forces trying to hold us back. 

If you’re feeling stuck, these Microsteps will help you break out of your funk and take back control of your time. Even one small change can open up new possibilities in your day.

Consider who benefits from your work.

Purpose-driven employees are more likely to report being satisfied and fulfilled in their jobs. To connect with your purpose at work, try this Microstep: When you’re struggling with your work, think of a person who might benefit from it. Meaning is a motivator. When you consider your work’s importance and potential impact, you’ll be much more energized and driven to complete it.

Prioritize high-priority tasks.

Whether we feel like our workday is moving slowly or quickly, we can take comfort in the fact that we’re in control of our time. Try this Microstep: Start your day by writing down your priorities. Keep it short, no more than three. This can help you focus on high-priority work and increase your sense of autonomy, which ultimately boosts your work engagement, productivity, and happiness.

Connect with your co-workers.

This last tip may not seem obvious, but human connection is essential to our ability to produce good work and maintain good mental health. In fact, a 2020 study found that employees with strong social connections at work are more productive than those who are more isolated. Social connection has also been found to elevate our mood, reduce stress, increase engagement, improve our health, and foster a sense of belonging in the workplace. So if you’re feeling drained at work, try this Microstep: Invite a coworker you don’t often connect with out to lunch or coffee, even virtually. Taking this quick break will help you return to work feeling re-energized and productive.


  • Jordan Hutchinson

    Associate Editor of Content Development at Thrive

    Jordan Hutchinson is an Associate Editor at Thrive. She started at Thrive as a Content Fellow in 2021, and is now supporting the development of new content and curriculum across the company. She is also a recent graduate from George Washington University with backgrounds in English literature, creative writing, French language, and psychology.