11 Ways To Find Inspiration In Your Work Again When You're Totally Burnt Out
Losing interest in a job you love feels a lot like a mini break up: There are tears and accusations, frustrations over who got lazy where, and finger-pointing over letting the relationship get stale. But instead of dumping your vocation, aim to find inspiration in your work again with a couple of simple maneuvers. While you currently might be religiously counting down to the weekend and keeping a desperate eye on the clock come after lunch, you can change that stagnant feeling around with a little bit of effort.
After all, there was a point and time when you were excited to come into the office and contribute to your industry. Things just got a little stale and predictable. It happens. You just have to roll up your sleeves and spice up the situation. And the best part is that it won't take as much effort as you think — things like finding inspiring mentors, changing up your desk space, or stocking up your book shelf with some choice reads could do wonders with sparking a new fire in your career.
So if you're done with hating your nine to five, read on. Below are 11 tips on how to find inspiration in work again!
1. Celebrate Past Wins
Chances are you're pretty amazing at your job — shake out the cobwebs by actively going back to your past successes and favorite moments at work and re-energize yourself over what you can accomplish. Janet Wise, a strategic Talent and Career Strategist at Wise Advantages, shares in an email, "As a career strategist and strengths based coach, the crucial first step I ask of my clients is: How can you celebrate you? Sure it’s hard to celebrate you when are feeling bored, burnt out and disengaged, but this is exactly the right time to pull out those reminders of your past wins."
And here's a pro tip: Catch all your beaming emails, encouraging comments, and excellent performance reviews in a file so you can have them handy for moments like these.
2. Stop Over Thinking Things
Did you stay quiet with your suggestion during the meeting because you were worried your idea would be shot down? Or did you bow out of an opportunity because you thought you weren't qualified enough, or were feeling too shy to go to an event or introduce yourself to a person? According to Sallee Poinsette-Nash, Business and Brand Troubleshooter, if you want to find inspiration in your work again you need to start acting first and thinking later.
Poinsette-Nash shares over an email with Bustle, "Don't over think it, go and DO it! We learn by DOING, we uncover new options by DOING, we build new relationships by DOING and we find inspiring new futures for ourselves by DOING. My favorite mantra is ACT first, reflect later." You never know what opportunities you can create by leaping, so jump right in and inspire yourself with your courage.
3. Find Mentors
You don't even have to find a mentor that you physically check in with (though that's even better!) Instead, find industry individuals that inspire the heck out of you, and follow them religiously. Lifestyle writer Belo Cipriani at lifestyle site San Francisco Gate recommended, "Start your day by reading from the work of people you admire. Whether it’s a book, blog or Twitter account, spending the first five minutes of your day reviewing words you find encouraging will help inspire your morning." That way their ambition and drive will rub off on you.
4. Tackle Something Risky
Rather than carrying out the same work routine and tried and true tasks, take some risk during the day. Approach your boss and ask to do something you've never done before. Career Development Specialist Lily Zhang from career development site The Muse offered, "Is there a way to streamline a process? A completely new way to approach a usually tedious task? If you can find ways to carve out more time in your day, just think: You can take on something much more exciting." It doesn't matter if it's outside your usual responsibilities — that's the point.
5. See Tasks As Opportunities
Your work takes on a different meaning when you don't look at it as a boring task but rather a chance to show off your skills. Wise explains, "Sometimes, we look at our jobs as well... just jobs. But perhaps we should look at the way Olympic athletes view each competition, more as performances." If every task you do is a performance to show how invested and knowledgeable you are in your field, you'll find inspiring new ways to ace those tasks and projects.
6. Learn Something New At Work
Just because you have a certain role at your company doesn't mean you're limited to only knowing things in that tidy little box. Branch out and see what you can soak in, and then apply it to your work to make things more interesting. Angelina Darrisaw, an international business and career coach, offers via email, "Taking on the task of learning something new can be very energizing and bring some a renewed sense of inspiration to your daily tasks. Volunteer for a project that would normally be out of your scope. Sign up for an employee learning class and try to apply the takeaways to your role." Plus, you never now what opportunities that kind of action can create.
7. Create A Cheer Leading Squad
The fastest way to get excited about work again is to get creative with your ideas and projects. But that can be hard if it's just you in a cubicle trying to work up the courage to pitch an idea to your boss. In order to bolster yourself and improve the quality and innovative-ness of your projects, create yourself a support system turned cheer leading squad.
Media Strategist Francesco Marconi from the Huffington Post suggested, "In the 'real world,' you are your own guide. That being said, build a support system - a network of people who get excited about your ideas." Meet bloggers in your industry, follow people on Twitter that can become your tribe, or get a gang going at work — they'll become your supporters.
8. Start A Convo With Your Manager
It might seem scary to approach your boss, but starting a conversation over how you want to spice up your work load can lead to some pretty amazing results. Darrisaw explains, "Are you feeling lost because you don't have reached all of your goals? You need new ones to get inspired by. Talk to your manager and find out what's holding you back from a raise, a promotion. Get some to-do's to take you to the next level and be inspired by the steps you are taking to progress in your career." Things can really change for the better this way.
9. Cozy Up Your Work Space
If you're working in a nook that feels more "gotta be here" rather than "I'm excited to dive in," warm it up with inspiring and encouraging touches. Lifestyle writer Hulbert Lee from Lifehack pointed out, "Sometimes the hardest thing we do to ourselves is try to force ourselves to work in an area that is subconsciously telling us, 'I can’t work here.' And when you are constantly trying to discipline yourself, it'll feel like pulling teeth. So do what will make you happiest — add exciting industry books onto your shelves, put up an inspiring quote, buy a cool desk lamp, tape up your dream office or your career icon (hello, Leslie Knope.) It will help.
10. Keep Your Goals Handy
Whatever your end goal for your work is, materialize it and keep it in front of you at your desk. Cipriani recommended, "For some people, creating a list of goals and having it visible on their desk can serve as a great motivator. The list should be realistic and limiting it to just a handful of items can help you stay inspired." If it's the corner office, print out a Pinterest picture on how you'd decorate it. If it's creating something, winning an award, making an impact, materialize that goal and tape it by your computer. That way you'll always keep in mind what's your driving force.
11. Try Out A Course
Sometimes adding a new desk plant or following a couple of interesting people on Twitter still won't stir those motivational feels in our careers. In extreme moments like those, Poinsette-Nash recommends trying a course to find your way back to your sweet spot. You can always try out a self-help book or podcast, as well as video classes if you like a more structured process. Poinsette-Nash specifically recommends, "The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self." It's worth a shot!
In the end, you never have to put up with trudging through work and keeping an eye on the clock. Make yourself love your craft again!