5 Ways to Escape the Work Grind
No matter how much you love your job, sometimes you just don’t feel like going to work.
Crawling back into bed sounds much better than dealing with your co-workers, working on projects that don’t interest you, or staring at a computer screen all day. You’ve gotten caught up in the work grind.
When these sorts of days start happening more often, it’s hard to feel excited about work anymore. When I don’t want to go in (and I love my work, so it doesn’t happen often,) I realize that my sudden-felt animosity towards my job is largely because I’m in a creative rut -- my regular routine is bogging me down. I’m searching for the spark again; the one we all feel when starting something new.
Remember when you walked into the office on the day you were hired? It was a beautiful day full of possibilities and over-the-moon excitement to start innovating. Being able to feel that glorious sense of optimism about your goals is more important to your work life than I could ever express. Being inspired and challenged will make you a better employee, and a happier person. Getting you back to that feeling can be one of the most important things you do for your career (and your mental health.) Whether it’s through learning, engaging with peers or just making your space cleaner, here’s how you can feel all the work fuzzies again.
1. Spruce up
Spring cleaning is just around the corner, and couldn’t come at a better time. A clean space equals a clean mind, and my very being feels lighter and more organized when I declutter. Better yet, a cleaner desk has also proven to make you more approachable and promotable. Get some folders for all those random notes on your desk, and buy a no-maintenance plant (because your first one died...just me?) Throw away those Post-Its glued to your monitor and get ready to love coming into work again. And go beyond your desk: clean up all those files on your laptop and delete the ones you no longer need. Your brain will thank you.
2. Adopt the 5-Hour Rule
The learning doesn’t have to stop when we leave school. Join the ranks of Oprah and Bill Gates and use the 5-Hour Rule to your advantage. Dedicate one hour a weekday to learning something new. Whether it’s taking leadership courses on Lynda, teaching yourself Photoshop using YouTube tutorials, or finally learning to code (me), make learning and growing a priority. If your job is stricter with hours and schedule, read articles on your commute home, or grab a book before bed. Not only will it amp up your skills for your current job, you’re armed and ready for that next promotion or opportunity elsewhere.
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3. Brainstorm with a buddy
I love brainstorming with smart people. The problem-solver in me comes alive when working collaboratively with someone I gel with. You can almost feel your brain muscles doing reps. Whether it’s a work project, goal-setting, or something you’re stuck on, getting someone else’s perspective and encouragement can fuel your creative fire, and help you perform better. Using this person as an accountability ally is also a great way to persevere, even when you’re feeling worn out. Not only will they keep you in check, they always have your best interests at heart.
4. Ask for an informational interview
Gaining some valuable information from a co-worker, a local thought leader, or someone you look up to can be so important for your continued career success. Speaking with someone in your industry can give you the alternate view you need to make work rock again. Better yet, scheduling a meeting gives you a valued connection and possible mentor.
5. Attend a local meet-up
Nothing pumps me up like a good creative talk and discussion. Creative Mornings (with local chapters in a city near you) is a go-to for Friday AMs (check out my feature with them here!) Lean IN chapters focus on women in the workplace, and kick my butt into advocating for myself and others. If you can’t make it in person, here are some great TED talks on creativity. And if you’re feeling really inspired, start your own meet-up with friends over happy hour to talk about issues important to you, or to get your creative juices flowing.
Any other tips that boost your creativity? Join the conversation!