We all get stuck in a rut at work every now and then. There are times when getting up to get ready for another day on the job is more than a chore -- it’s downright exhausting. It’s a natural part of the ebbs and flows of any professional’s career. Work can start feeling repetitive, the people you work with can get annoying, and your boss can be a total hardass.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the job is bad or your workplace is turning sour on you. You might just be hitting a seasonal or random attitude and mood obstacle that you need to get around. And while a great way to do so can be to find a new job, you can also focus on some attitude changes that will make your current job less of a daily nightmare.
Here’s how you can revitalize your enthusiasm for your job with just a few changes to your everyday behavior.
Wake up early - for your own benefit
A common piece of career advice is to start waking up earlier -- early bird gets the worm, right? But it’s not just about less stress when you don’t have to rush to get dressed or actually have time for a proper breakfast. By using that extra time properly, you can do more than your morning routine.
Instead of doing it for your work, start waking up early for yourself. Do something you love to do every morning. Avid reader? Knock out a chapter or two of that latest novel you picked up. Gamer? Play a round or two of Halo multiplayer. Photographer? Take advantage of the gorgeous morning lighting. Even watch an episode of Netflix. The day doesn’t have to start in overdrive.
Whatever it is that you love doing, wake up an hour or two earlier each morning to do it. That way, you won’t go to bed each night fearing the coming morning, and you won’t have to drag yourself out from under the covers just to get ready for work. And by the time you have to leave for work, you’ll already feel like your day has amounted to more than just the job.
Make learning your primary motivator
And not just in a “love what you do and keep learning” kind of way. When you’re disenchanted with your situation, you’re likely going through the dread of your work routine because of money and responsibility. To break out of it, find something new to motivate you and force you to change it up -- your career goals.
Up until this rut with your job, you’ve likely focused more on productivity, pleasing your boss, and and going home for the day. Change the gears of what you do and how you do it to focus on learning and taking advantage of the resources around you.
Take a new project or do something in a different way, purely to expand the horizons of your expertise and workplace responsibility. Ask to go to work-related conferences or classes. Seek out coworkers you haven’t interacted with and find ways to work with them and get to know their side of the business. Whether for the sake of your own edification, or because you want to use what you learn to get a promotion or switch jobs, you can use learning as a way to get yourself motivated. This is especially useful when you’ve lost your passion for your job or your company.
This drive to learn should come in the form of pushing the boundaries of your own perceived skill ceiling. It should involve using innovative and outside the box solutions for the various projects you work on. Soon, you might find that you’re no longer doing everything just for the sake of the paycheck, but instead are waking up every morning with an ambitious drive to do something new.
Change up your daily habits dramatically
If part of your problem at work is a lack of positive reinforcement from your boss and co-workers, or if you’re stuck dealing with tons of interpersonal drama, or if you’re simply bored by the routine, it might be helpful to change up how you experience the workplace while you start a job search.
What does that mean? Well, consider your daily routine. Who do you speak to in the morning? Where do you have lunch? Which co-workers do you chat with during momentary breaks? How do you communicate with your boss? These, and so many other parts of your day, can be changed to help you experience less of the same. Less of the same tension with your boss. Less of the same lack of social chatter. Less of the same annoyance with teammates or stuck projects.
You might not find a long-term solution in these changes. For example, having fewer conversations with your boss over email and instead meeting them in person might not solve a fundamental disagreement in how you two operate with each other. But if it helps you dampen any sense of monotony or dread when coming into work, it can buy you time to figure out a solution, whether that’s a new job or a new approach.
So before you start your job search (or while you’re job searching but stuck with a job you don’t love), remember that a few simple attitude changes can make things more bearable. In the end these changes can help you continue to do your job effectively while you look for greener grass.