10 Ways to Break Free from a Work Rut

For whatever reason you’ve lost your work mojo. Whether it’s a lack of inspiration, a lack of motivation, or just an overwhelming feeling of “blah”, something about your current job has you in a bit of a work rut. It happens to the best of us but, with these 10 tips, you can easily break out of it and get back to your passionate, driven self!

1. Start a Creative Project: Creating something is a great way to shift the gears in your mind and change your perspective. It could be as simple as coding a side project to further develop your technical skills or trying your hand at a creative hobby that has nothing to do with your job. Either way, spending some time to create something will help you forget the woes of your work rut and will remind you that you’re capable of stretching your creative muscles.

2. Offer to Help or Shadow a Coworker: It’s easy to fall into a work rut when you’re used to doing the same things over and over again or if you don’t have enough work on your plate to keep busy. Offer to help one of your coworkers with their projects or ask your boss if you can shadow a coworker whose job seems more interesting and appealing than your own. This change of pace may be exactly what you need to reinvigorate you or it could be the catalyst for a career shift.

3. Have Walking Meetings or Active Lunches: A lot of It jobs ask that you sit at a desk for extended periods of time day after day. For some people this lack of movement is enough to inspire a lack of motivation. If you’re looking to combat your work rut by adding more activity into your day, there are several ways you can do it. If you have regularly scheduled meetings, ask your coworkers if they’d like to make some of those walking meetings. Try to get up and stretch your legs once every hour, even if it just means walking from one side of the office to the other, to get your blood flowing again. If your boss is strict about short breaks and walking meetings won’t work for you logistically, take some time out of your lunch break to exercise or walk around the building.

4. Change Up the Ambiance: Whether you work in a small cubicle, a large open plan office or from the comfort of your own home, it’s easy to forget what an impact your work environment can have on your motivation. Poor lighting, unpleasant scents, or uninspiring visuals can distract you throughout the day and drain the energy you could otherwise be using to tackle your work. Make as many ambiance adjustments as you can so that your workspace becomes an inspiring, energizing area rather than a demotivating distraction. Brighten up your work space with a lamp or a scented candle. Add a few tchotchkes to your desk that make you smile. Even changing your desktop image can reinvigorate your passion for what you do and get you inspired to work again.

5. Clean Your Workspace: If everywhere you look there are piles of unsorted papers, unorganized office supplies, and general chaos, we may have found the source of your work rut. How can you be expected to focus on the task at hand when you can see a mess lurking in your peripheral vision no matter which way you turn? Taking the time to clean and organize your workspace could be exactly what you need to help you out of your work rut.

6. Collaborate With Someone You Have Never Worked With Before: Fresh eyes have the amazing ability to take what appeared to be a stale, ordinary project and filter it through a perspective that makes it interesting again. Is there someone in your office you’ve never collaborated with? Look around and try pairing yourself up on an unlikely team to add a new element to your daily routine that will challenge your way of thinking and motivate you to make progress on your projects.

7. Learn a New Skill Outside of Work: If your work rut stems from feeling inadequate or stuck, take the time to learn a new technical skill outside of work! Pick up a book or take a course on some cutting edge technology that you’ve never gotten your hands on or brush up on a technology that will help you perform better at work. The process of developing your skillset and continuing the learning process will help you further your career when the time comes but it will also help you break out of your work rut and become confident in your skills again.

8. Take a Vacation or a Staycation: You may have fallen into a work rut simply because you’re burnt out. Have you been putting in countless extra hours recently in order to finish a big project? Have you forgotten the last time you used any of your paid time off for something other than an illness? It might be time for you to take a long weekend and relax. Whether you go on an adventure you’ve always wanted to have or stay in the comfort of your own home, time off can be an invaluable tool that keeps you from falling into ruts at work.

9. Evaluate If You’re Ready for a Promotion or Career Change at Your Company: Sometimes work ruts come along because you’re ready for a major change. If you’ve put in your time and energy and are ready to move up in your current field, look into promotion opportunities at your current company. If you’ve realized you’d rather pursue another career avenue, see if your current company has any opportunities in the field you’re most interested in. The easiest way to make the switch from Java Web Developer to Android Developer is to do it with a company who already knows how much value you can add.

10. If All Else Fails, Start Looking for a New Job Elsewhere: You’ve tried everything but, no matter what you do, nothing is getting you out of this work rut any time soon. Nothing, that is, except a new job. The final way you can escape a work rut is simply by finding work elsewhere. Start preparing your resume and get ready for a rewarding job search that will land you a more motivating and invigorating position.

Your job used to make you want to sprint to work but now you’re dragging your feet. With these 10 strategies, you’ll find your way out of your current work rut in no time. Give them a try and tell us how they work for you!