11 Ways To Find Inspiration In Your Work Again For When You Just Can't Deal
Your office is the place you come to five days a week, 52 weeks a year, and for over 300 days a calendar. Is it any wonder you have to stifle a yawn every now and then? But when your batteries run low, you can still find inspiration in your work again — it doesn't mean it's game over for you yet, sister.
While it might seem tempting to just throw all your stuff into a box and finally tell your boss you're off to more interesting pastures, it's also important to point out that we get as much from the job as we're willing to put into it. Granted, we have office roles and job descriptions, but there's always some wiggle room to mold and shape it into a position we truly love and are excited about. And that reshaping is where your inspiration actually lies.
So are you ready to roll up your sleeves? If you're feeling stagnant at your desk and can't bare to find any passion in your work anymore, let's work to turn all that around. Below are 11 tips on how to find inspiration in your work when you're in a rut — make that job the one of your dreams.
1. Celebrate All That You've Accomplished So Far
While you might be used to your success, chances are that the road you took in order to be where you currently are wasn't a straight shot. So take the time to happy dance over all the amazing opportunities you've created for yourself and the risks you were brave enough to take. Janet Wise, a strategic Talent and Career Strategist at Wise Advantages, tells Bustle in an email, "As a career strategist and strengths based coach, the critical first step I ask of my clients is: Celebrate you. Review past accomplishments, accolades and awards, and glowing post performance reviews. Breathe in past successes and draw inspiration from what you know you can do well." You've worked for a lot, and now you can work for some more.
2. See Where You Can Contribute Your Interests
There's a reason you chose this job in the first place — there was something about it that caught your interest. So take stock of what you're most passionate about in your position and see if you can create projects around it. Wise suggests, "Ask yourself: How/where you can add the greatest value. Shining a light on your brilliance to illuminate the bigger mission you and your company are working towards is another way to reconnect with the meaning and what really matters." By creating work for yourself that revolves around your strengths and passions, you'll feel jazzed coming into work every morning, not bored.
3. Use Pinterest As Inspo
No, that doesn't mean you're going to go pin cocktail recipes and fashion DIYs during working hours. Instead, create a Pinterest board that will be your ultimate source of career inspiration! Business writer Ariella Coombs at career development site Careerealism suggested, "A good way to inspire yourself is to create a Career Inspiration board and 'pin' anything that inspires you to push a little harder at work." Whether that's badass tips, interviews with inspiring entrepreneurs, cool work spaces, or motivating quotes, let that board be your catchall.
4. Research Your Competition
There's nothing that gets a fire back under your butt than a little friendly competition. Business writer Kevin Daum at entrepreneur site Inc suggested, "There's nothing like a little competitive action to get your interest back on line. You'll get to play detective, strategist, and hero all at once as you knock off the infidels." Whether you look up other people in your field to see what cool, innovating projects they're doing that you can try, or to just get inspired by how completely obsessed they are with their field, scoping out your competition can get your blood moving again.
5. Find Yourself A Muse
This one is going to get a little hippie-dippy, but it's a cool idea: Pin down a muse, and channel her awesomeness to help you create your best work. Wise explains, "Homer began his two epic poems (Iliad and Odyssey) with an invocation to the Muse. I encourage my clients — many of who are senior leaders and c-suite executives — to invoke their muse to be inspired to produce meaningful work, and to allow inspiration from an outside force to take the next right action."
For me, that Muse is Leslie Knope and her never-ending energy and go-gettum attitude. Who would yours be?
6. Aim To Change Positions
Maybe what you need is a new title — meaning, a whole new set of tasks and responsibilities. Daum encouraged, "Perhaps you are too settled in the position you currently have. Look for the opportunity in front of you. You may need to boost your education or improve the way you handle people, but personal growth is the most stimulating activity." If it's time to move on up, creating a battle plan on how to make that happen will reinvigorate you.
7. Put Your Career Goals On A Post It
Take an evening to really think of where you want your career to go and what you want to accomplish and then turn it into an affirmation. Coombs advised, "A great way to motivate yourself is to create a list of your career goals and post them somewhere you can see everyday. Make sure you don’t hide it on your computer or in a drawer somewhere." By seeing it every time you glance up from the keyboard or file away another to-do, you'll be reminded of the exciting things just on your horizon. And why they're worth building towards.
8. See How You're Creating Impact
A lot of the times we feel bored in our roles because we don't really think we're making a difference. In order to combat that, take some time to pinpoint ways your work helps the company or brightens peoples' days — knowing it will help you to reconnect with your work. Lily Zhang, Career Development Specialist at MIT, told career development site The Muse, "Are you delivering great customer service or elevating the company brand? Maybe you’re just brightening one person’s day — whatever it is, take a moment to just recognize the impact you might be having."
9. Pitch New Responsibilities
If you can't shake up your position or move ahead, try pitching some new responsibilities you'd be interested in having to spice up your workload. Daum suggested, "Investigate the needs in your company that have fallen through the cracks. Picking up the slack will give you a new way of contributing and will make you feel good for resolving a problem." Maybe the problem was your workload was stale — try it out!
10. Get Risky
If your days are dragging on in a boring blur, then you need to start getting riskier. Think of an innovative, out-of-the-box project, and pitch it to your boss. Zhang advised, "Try suggesting a new project to your supervisor for you to tackle or innovate on your current responsibilities by reevaluating how they’re carried out." If you put something exciting and new onto your calendar, you might just shake off those cobwebs.
11. Track Down Motivating Books
If you're an artist, borrow a couple of books on how to find inspiration or how to create when you don't want to. If you're an entrepreneur, track down biographies or advise-heavy books that talk about clever risks and strategies moguls took when they were starting out. By updating your reading list with inspiring reads, you might just get re-motivated with your industry. Dave Kerpen, NY Times Best-Selling Author & Speaker, pointed out on LinkedIn, "There are thousands of great, time-tested books available for inspiration and motivation." Go and invest in them.
It's normal to feel stagnant now and then, even in a job that you love. What matters is what you do with that feeling once it comes