Digging Deeper: How to Get Out of a Professional Rut

Are you feeling unmotivated or generally unproductive at work? If so, it might be time to start fresh and make a major change. If left untreated, being stuck in a professional rut makes your run-of-the-mill 9-to-5 seem like a modern-day torture chamber. While many accept being confined to a cubicle, dreading 7:00 alarms, and working for the weekend as our inevitable doom, your workday doesn’t have to be the way.

Fortunately, you can do a few ways to climb out of your professional rut and maximize company time—without tanking your mental health.

Wander outside your comfort zone

More often than not, we find ourselves headfirst in a professional rut when our world becomes too comfortable. Boredom does not inspire working professionals to aspire for greatness. However, wandering outside of one’s comfort zone can send a jolt of energy rushing through even the most unmotivated employees.

To push your comfort zone boundaries, ask your boss for a different shift or a new office. You also could ask your employer for a different position or a one-on-one tutorial on new technology or systems.

Another surefire way to move out of your comfort zone is to relocate. When you relocate for work, you might come across invigorating job opportunities, new experiences that can broaden your views of the world, and a friendly community of like-minded individuals with similar career ambitions.

For those interested in relocating (whether abroad or cross country), you shouldn’t have to start from scratch. To get your belongings to your new home safely, consider investing in car shipping services. That way, you opt out of pain-staking road trips and fast forward to adventures abroad.

Shift your focus

All too often, employees tumble into professional ruts when trying to do one too many things at once. Rather than trying to accomplish too much, take time to focus on one thing at a time. When you focus on too many things at once, you risk falling behind and digging yourself deeper into an unproductive rut.

Before you move to a new task, complete the one in front of you first. As you cross off each to-do list item, you’ll slowly squirm your way out of these professional ruts’ tight grasp and start to feel productive again.

In situations where you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, you might have to tackle a project step by step rather than swallowing an entire project whole. With this strategy in place, you can build a to-do list and cross off each item individually, enabling you to recognize your productivity.

Give yourself a break

If you’ve been working so hard that you’ve fallen into a rut, it’s time for a break. Rather than continuing to suffer, you should give yourself some time to relax, refocus, and recharge.

You can do this by taking a few days to evaluate your purpose. Ask yourself important questions about your life, how you are feeling, and what you can do about it.

After spending a day or two focusing on yourself and taking your professional pulse, you might realize what you want and need at work. Ultimately, it’s critical to remember that sinking into a professional rut is not doomsday. Instead, it’s a bump in the road that is trying to tell you something.

Make a decision

Often, slumps at work indicate that it’s time to make a decision. Sometimes, we feel frustrated before we need to ask for a promotion or a transfer. We might find those old solutions, like venting to colleagues, no longer work.

Rather than doing the same thing and expecting different results (the very definition of insanity), reenvision your professional rut as a sign that it’s time to take a risk or make a change.

Wrapping it up

Rather than staying in your professional rut, do something about it. Refocus, relax, and realize that only you can fix the problem.

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