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How to Bust Out of a Rut

Topics: Career Advice

Sometimes, feeling not-so-great about work is a sign that it’s time to move on to something else, whether that be a different job with a new company, or an entirely new career altogether. Other times though, it’s just a sign that you’re stuck in a bit of a rut and need to find some renewed inspiration. So, if you enjoy the work you do, but feel stuck, bored, or just generally uninspired, here are some tips that could help you turn things around.

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  1. Get some rest.

One common cause of feeling a little less than inspired is plain old-fashioned exhaustion. So, if you think you might just be feeling some of the warning signs of burnout, try taking some time to take care of yourself, and see if that doesn’t change your outlook. Take a day or two off, or even plan a vacation, if you can. At least make sure to get lots of rest, eat well, and exercise. Basically, take some time for you. By eliminating the burnout variable, you’ll be better able to understand how you’re truly feeling about your work, and then you can start making moves to do something about what’s really troubling you. No matter how deep the source of your fatigue runs, a little time away from work will help you feel refreshed and ready to move forward.

  1. Change things up.

After years and years of doing the same thing (or even just after a series of months, for some) it’s understandable that your work can start to feel a little stale and boring. It might be time for a change. Maybe you’d like to travel more, or less, or to different places. Perhaps you think it would be an exciting challenge to work with clients more directly. The first step is to do some soul searching. Ask yourself what exactly you’d like to change about your job — what would you like to do less, and what would you like to do more. The next step is advocating for yourself with your boss. Have a sincere, and level-headed conversation with someone you trust, a person who is also in a position to help you make some changes, and see if you can’t work on implementing some shifts. If you’ve been at the job for a while, and if you’re great at what you do, there is likely someone out there who is going to be willing help you make the needed changes happen.

  1. Get moving, preferably outside.

If you’re having trouble finding creative inspiration, or if you’re stuck on a problem and just can’t seem to come up with that much-needed fresh approach, try getting some exercise. Among other more obvious beneficial effects to your health and well-being, exercise helps boost your energy levels, and could help reduce your fear, stress, and anxiety. With all of that junk pushed aside, your creativity and your problem-solving abilities will have a much better chance of blazing a path to your conscious brain. When you feel good, you think better. Additionally, research has shown that exercising outdoors could do even more to heighten your creativity. So, take that into account when deciding whether to head to the gym or a local nature trail for your daily workout.

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  1. Know that it starts with you.

It’s important to keep in mind that, for the most part, we are in control of our own fate. If you want to feel better, chances are that change is going to start with you. The world often reflects back what we project onto it. That’s actually pretty logical when you really think about it. Imagine that a friend comes to you, head hung low, with a sad expression, and starts talking about everything that’s going wrong in their life right now. You aren’t going to come back to that person with a cheerful report about where you stand. Instead, you’re going to reflect that energy and that tone back to your friend. When we’re low, the world is low. When we’re having fun and feeling creative, the world reacts and responds with more of the same. So, if you want to feel more inspired, try pretending that you already are, just for a little while, and see if that doesn’t draw more of what you desire toward you. You are more powerful than you think you are.

Tell Us What You Think

What do you do to work your way out of a professional rut? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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