If you are an employee, you have probably felt stuck in a rut at some point. It’s not easy to admit to yourself that your career has stalled, but work-related ruts are pretty common.
According to a recent Forbes article, about half of the American workforce (53 percent) is unhappy. Workers are unhappy with their current jobs for several reasons, but part of that unhappiness may be attributed to feeling stuck.
Maybe you feel like the workday is dragging on, maybe you are feeling unmotivated, or maybe you are frustrated by a lack of creativity. Here are five things you can do to help dig yourself out of a challenging work-related rut.
1. Evaluate your current life situation
Schedule some time in your day to sit down and evaluate your life as it is right now. Ask yourself the following questions:
Have I taken a vacation or a day off recently?
Am I getting enough sleep? What about exercise? Is my nutrition suffering?
Have I been getting along with my coworkers?
Am I dealing with any work or non-work related internal conflict?
Do I feel like I’m being valued, respected, and/or appreciated by my coworkers/employer?
Are my work life and home life affecting each other too much?
Do I feel like I’m fairly compensated for my work?
Am I passionate about what I do for work?
Identifying the cause of your rut can help you gain perspective and get you out of the rut.
2. Incorporate something new into your life
Many ruts may be caused simply by a lack of variety in your life. To get yourself out of a work rut, you should try incorporating something new into your daily or weekly routine. You could pick up a new hobby, join a club or sports league, start your own side hustle, or go on regular dates with your partner.
Try learning a new skill that could relate to your work, or seek a skill that isn’t work-related but could give you something to look forward to when you leave work. Change is a part of life for a reason. we feel invigorated by both novelty and challenges. Instead of fighting change, try welcoming it. It might be just what you need right now.
3. Get moving
If you have a full-time desk job, you might be in a rut simply because you aren’t doing anything else but sitting and staring at a computer. Stretching or taking a brisk walk could make a big difference. Humans aren’t designed to sit for eight to nine hours a day. If you feel like you are in a rut, your body could be telling you that you need to get up and do something else.
Changing your body position regularly throughout the day could not only get out of your work rut, but it may also help your overall health. According to a Medical News Today article, “sitting for an extended period is linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer.”
4. Set goals and make a plan
You might be stuck in a work rut because you simply don’t have a plan or any goals. Setting goals for your daily work structure and making a long-term plan for your career can help you become motivated, dedicated, and inspired.
Setting goals can help any aspect of your life. For example, if you want to lose weight, you need to make goals and follow through on those goals. Sitting around and daydreaming won’t help you drop the pounds. The same goes for improving your credit. If you want to have a good credit score, you need to make goals that will get you there. If you don’t take action, you won’t be able to build good credit, and you won’t enjoy the accompanying benefits and opportunities. If you’re in a rut, in any part of your life, make a goal and an action plan to accomplish that goal.
5. Start talking
If you are in a work rut, consider talking to someone about it. You could talk to a family member, friend, coworker, or you might even consider talking to your employer or manager. Discussing your work rut with your boss may seem like a challenge, but they might know exactly what you are feeling. Keeping your work rut to yourself could just cause more stress and frustration. Talking about your feelings with others can present you with a different perspective, give you helpful tips, and could introduce new ideas that will help you get out of the rut.
Overall, you shouldn’t allow your work rut to dominate your career. A rut is temporary and can be overcome. Just keep this in mind: the sooner you take action, the happier you will be.
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