We’ve all been there.
And we’re likely to get there again. It’s the dreaded work slump and like burnout, it can sneak up on you.
Of course we all want to feel fully engaged in our 9-5 (and you can bet that your manager would love that too). There are so many factors influencing our work self and we ignore it, we will begin to wonder why we just can’t seem to muster up the courage to get on top of that ever-growing inbox.
So if you’re in a current work slump, here’s some tips on how to diagnose the root cause – and how to dig yourself out of it.
1. Are you bored?
It’s easy to look busy and get through the day without feeling excited about the projects on your desk. Every job has aspects of it that are uninspiring but if 80% of what you’re doing causes you to yawn the day away, it’s time to chat to your manager or volunteer to help out on some assignments that will bring some variety to your day.
2. Are you lacking focus?
Some organisations are better at setting clear goals and objectives for specific job functions than others. If you feel every new project and idea is being passed onto you (mainly because you can handle a lot and are able to get things done) but you feel like you are veering too far off your specific job function, then it’s time that you revert to your original job outputs.
The danger with carrying on with accepting amorphous assignments is that you will eventually be unable to meet your agreed upon key performance areas. And that is what you will be measured on at the end of the year. So make the time to have the discussion with your superiors and if the new projects are part of the core focus of the organisation in a particular year, then ensure that you adjust your work profile to reflect the new job specification.
3. Are you annoyed at something (or someone)?
People are people – and when you work with people, you are most likely going to rub someone up the wrong way (and vice versa). Depending on your personality, you either avoid conflict or embrace it. When something does annoy you, firstly assess whether it is work addressing formally or whether it is something you can let slide.
No one likes that colleague that is over sensitive and can’t handle any form of feedback – but if something bugs you for a particular period of time (especially if the situation/treatment worsens) then you need to address it in a polite and professional manner. Misunderstanding and miscommunication is common place – and a simple adult conversation can quickly remedy the situation.
4. Are you feeling stuck?
If you’ve been in a particular job for a few years, its normal to feel frustrated in your current role, especially if the work you’re doing hasn’t evolved to bring some level of variety. It is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the company you’re working for, to do something about it. Speak to friends and family about possible options. Make time to reflect on your career path and where you see yourself heading.
Then you will need to take some positive steps to help you chart a new path. Inquire about possible training opportunities available to you, or new positions in the department or elsewhere in the organisation. Think about where you see yourself five years from now. Nothing is going to change until you do.
5. Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Learning how to cope with constant work pressure, coupled with changing circumstances in other areas of your life, can sometime feel overwhelming. If you feel like your work is a bottomless ocean of tasks, deadlines and new projects that never ease up, you will soon hate your job – and your life.
No human being can withstand non-stop tension, pressure and stress without their health (spiritual, mental and physical) being affected. If this is where you are right now, drastic action will need to be taken to feel like your feet are on solid ground again. This is where you ask for help – take a step back and get some healthy perspective.
No job – no matter how amazing or well-paying – is worth your life.
When you feel yourself getting into a work slump, what do you do? Would love to hear more tactics in the comments below.