Every once in a while, you can start to feel like you’re stuck in a rut at work. You find yourself unmotivated, bored, tired and easily distracted. Most people go through these phases and get out of it within a couple of days. However, if you find you cannot shake this feeling ignoring the problem will not solve the issue. 

Here’s how to get out of a rut at work:

  • Evaluate
  • Create a plan of action
  • Think of a solution
  • Effectively communicate
  • Figure out what motivates you
  • Assess your job

Feeling like you’re in a slump can be highly problematic for your career and also your own happiness and wellbeing. As you are feeling disengaged from projects, the quality of your work will start to decline which will lead you to feel even less motivated than before. This feeling can then follow you home, and start to affect your personal life. 

Addressing these feelings as they start, head-on will help reduce the impact and the longevity of your situation. We’ve created a step-by-step plan of how best to get out of a rut, and help reduce the likelihood of them happening in the future. 

Step 1: Evaluate

Start by evaluating yourself. Try to pinpoint when this feeling started and if anything happened that could have triggered this feeling. Look into both your work and personal life. Finding the trigger of this feeling can help create steps to overcoming the issue. It may not have been an event that you can define, multiple things such as mental, emotional and physical exhaustion can cause the feeling of being stuck in a rut. Is your business affected by seasonality? Are you not very busy or perhaps are you too busy doing tasks that you simply do not enjoy? 

Step 2: Create a plan of action.

Creating a plan may be difficult especially if you’re unmotivated, however, it will help guide you on days where you are feeling especially distracted. Get organised and prioritise your tasks. Breakdown less enjoyable but essential projects and work on them for shorter periods, so you can do your best work before getting mentally switching off. Set yourself deadlines. Knowing that there is a clear cut-off point, will improve motivation and keep you on track. 

Step 3: Solutions

Before complaining about the issue and creating a negative workspace, try to think of some solutions to your situation. If you are bored with your current projects, try to think of what you’d prefer to be doing. Is there scope in your current role to branch out and try new things? Perhaps you can take part in some training and learn a new skill that will develop your role or branch out into new territory. 

If you’re really stuck for ideas, google your job role, and read the descriptions which will help you understand what other people in the same role as you are doing, which may spark some ideas. Write down what you think sounds more interesting and speak to your manager about possibly trying out some of these new projects. 

Step 4: Effectively communicate. 

Tying in with Step 3, speak to your manager about your feelings. It is quite possible that other people are feeling this rut, which could mean it’s just the natural cycle of your business. Explaining your situation to your manager may seem intimidating, however, your manager will want you to feel fulfilled at work, and will be able to help you overcome these negative feelings. Going to them with a plan and offering some solutions will show that you want to overcome this rut, but just need some help doing so.

Step 5: Figure out what motivates you.

Nothing will motivate you more than the reason why you started this job in the first place. Reminding yourself of this can help you keep pushing through the harder times. Ensure you know your objectives/key performance indicators. If you don’t have any, ask your manager to set some. These are milestones you need to achieve to progress in your career. Having these can help you see the bigger picture of what you’re working towards. A helpful tip is to break these tasks down into more digestible segments. For example…

Objective: Build stronger relationships with clients

Steps: Organise a client phone call every month, ensure I go to site once a quarter, organise and manage a client networking event. 

Creating more tangible steps will help keep you motivated and will help you from feeling overwhelmed by tasks. 

Step 6: Assess your job. 

Take time to properly assess your job. If you haven’t been enjoying it for a while, and you’re not motivated to try to make it better, this may be a sign that you need a new job. Research what type of role you’d be interested in. Perhaps you need a change of role or industry? Think of what you are passionate about in your personal life and try and incorporate that into your next role. 

If you’re really stuck, speak to a specialist recruitment consultant, like us, and we’ll be able to get you on the right track.