We all have bad days at work from time to time. Some days we just can’t seem to focus on the tasks at hand, we don’t feel engaged with our work, and we feel a general lack of passion for the job. This occasional bad day is normal, but what happens when those bad days turn into weeks, then months. You find yourself showing up for work each day, hoping things will turn around but being confronted with the same unhappy feeling.
While you might think a rut like this at work is just an unpleasant experience that will pass, the truth is that it can be a lot more serious than that. The feeling that you are not happy at work can affect your life in general, leaving you with a depressed feeling at all times. Beyond that, a loss of interest in your work will certainly negatively effective the quality of work you’re producing and put your job in jeopardy.
Certainly, you want to address the problem and get yourself out of this rut as fast as possible. Here are some ways you can bounce back.
Take a truthful look at your career.
When faced with times like this, it’s important to do a lot of honest self-reflection. This is easier said than done for most people. You’ve probably already come up with some reason or another why your work life has changed for the worse. You can blame it on simple things like co-workers or office environment, but if you really want to work this out, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. Consider what you have been bringing to work lately. Have you approached the job any differently? Are there things outside the office that you’re bringing into work? This is not to suggest that the problem is certainly your fault, but going immediately to the blame game rarely gets at the heart of the problem and therefore, it becomes impossible to fix.
Remind yourself why you love your work.
When you find yourself unhappy with your work, one way to reconnect to that old, more fulfilled feeling is to remind yourself what makes you happy about your work. Chances are you chose this job, this career for a reason other than a good pay cheque. You found something about it to be passionate about and you need to realise once again what that was. Once you identify what that aspect of the job you love, it can be easier to recapture it. Failing that, you might realise that whatever it was you liked about the job has changed or you no longer feel that same passion for. In that case, it may be time to consider if a more dramatic change is needed.
Change your office space.
While the solution to your work rut might be something as serve as changing careers, the problem could also be a lot simpler than it first seems. Sometimes, it’s not so much the work that we’re doing that is making us feel unhappy, but rather the circumstances surrounding the work. For example, working in the same office day after day can become a real slog after time. You can be as passionate as ever about the work, but feel stale and stagnant in the same office. In reality, it’s ridiculous to think people can stay inspired, efficient and creative working in the same workplace forever. Make some changes to your workspace. Move offices if possible, and if not, bring in some plants, pictures or anything that helps to brighten it up. Move you desk and other small things that might help energize your work.
Be flexible about where and when you work.
More than where you work, when you work can be a very influential in your mood. In reality, the 9-to-5 work structure is quickly becoming outdated as people are beginning to realise that people’s productivity works on a variety of levels. Try changing up your work schedule as well as where you work. Set up a work station at home, or go to the local library café. Sometimes a simple change in scenery can do wonder in reigniting things. As for your work schedule, you still need to make yourself available to clients and colleagues, as well as keep hours that allow you to live a healthier life, but beyond that you can experiment.
Enjoy the rest of life.
It’s important to like the work you do. In fact, most of us strive to find a career that we are actively passionate about. The kind of career that we enjoy going into work every morning and take general pleasure in every moment of it. But no matter how great your career is and how much you love working, everyone needs a work-life balance. Sometimes we find ourselves in a rut at work simply because we’re not experiencing the rest of our life. Things get busy, you become preoccupied with your work and suddenly you find yourself at the office all the time. It becomes exhausting and frustrating. Taking a breather from work is not only a good idea, it’s necessary for your own sanity. Enjoy weekends, go home for supper each night, take breaks during the workday. Work is important but it should never come at the expense of what else is important in life.