How to climb out of a workplace rut

If your job lately has felt more like the example given above than what you were hoping for, it may be time to reboot.

When you were a child and an adult asked you, "So, what do you want to be when you grow up?" It's likely you didn't respond, "I want to spend 10 hours a day in a mind-numbing environment that causes my health to deteriorate until my will to live ceases to get me out of bed each morning."

If your job lately has felt more like the example given above than what you were hoping for, it may be time to reboot. Discovering ways to make your work life more rewarding and less of a grind might simply mean adopting a new perspective. Whether you're selling widgets, entering data, or are the chief executive of Megalacorp Inc., it can be easy to fall into a rut where boredom sets in and angst abounds.

Here are six suggestions to turn things around:

1. Believe in possibilities. Think back to a time when you first accepted your current position. Everything felt new and the possibilities seemed endless. It's unclear how you got talked out of this idea, but after a few years of listening to lunchroom gossip and watching your co-workers wither, you found yourself resigned to a similar fate. Guess what? Things may not feel new anymore, but the possibilities are still quite endless. Your success and workplace happiness depends upon you believing that.

2. Believe in yourself. A storyteller once relayed this thought as he watched a 6-year-old child walk the top edge of a narrow brick wall some 8 feet off the ground. He suggested this child was only able to manage this feat because no one had told him it couldn't be done.

Too often, people are willing to listen to naysayers and negative Nellies, until one day you find yourself unable to achieve even the slightest maneuver for fear of failure.

3. Believe it is OK to fail. Putting this fear aside is a good place to start when rethinking your position. Yes, you might fail. Yes, someone may not like what you're trying. But what if you don't fail? What if what you tried boosts production, adds to the bottom line, or simply makes life easier for you and your staff? The odds are better than most people think. But you must be willing to try.

4. Believe in the power of focusing on one task at a time. When was the last time you felt relaxed at work? This doesn't mean behaving nonchalantly about your assignment or sleeping at your desk. It means feeling calm, cool, and collected as you complete each task.

Smoothly and effortlessly transferring your energy to each new assignment is a sure way to help you feel better about the job you're doing and make far fewer mistakes. This will translate into less stress, and in turn, will keep you more relaxed.

Focusing on what's in front of you versus thinking about the next 10 things awaiting your attention will ensure that you stay out of the stress trap.

5. Believe in mirroring positive behavior for your staff. If you're in a supervisory position, this is even more important. Your staff will no doubt feed off of whatever demeanor you demonstrate. If you're relaxed, they will be as well. If you're a ball of nerves, don't be shocked to learn your staff is hiding from you, or worse, making mistakes that could have been avoided if everyone wasn't so afraid of your next tirade.

6. Believe in personal recharge time. Lastly, and maybe even most importantly, don't fail to have a life outside of the office. It can be hard to turn things off just because the whistle blows, but carrying your work home to your family and friends could leave you without either eventually. If you don't recharge your batteries, you may feel like you never left work at all. This will lead eventually to the attitudes warned against above, and you already know that doesn't work. Your office, reports, boss, and co-workers all will be there tomorrow when you arrive. This sounds simple, and it is when you make a conscious effort to make it a part of your life.

Kick back and relax. You've earned it.

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