Do you have any tips on how to get out of a rut? I’m always stuck and can’t seem to finish anything at work, but I really need this job and I’m afraid I will be fired. How do I keep the job and continue to bring home the paychecks that my family desperately need?
The reader question came at the perfect time, because before I got the email, I found myself unable to think of what to write either. I believe I started my struggle at around 8:15am (or thereabouts) and it’s now 10:18pm. For literally two hours, I was surfing the web, chatting unenthusiastically with people online and clicking send/receive in my email program so many times it would’ve broke if it was a mechanical button.
I finally decided to do something about it, I went to a coffee shop. In the middle of a billion people ordering lattes, music in the background and loud friendly college students who I’m sure couldn’t wait to get back to school, reading the email turned on my thinking cap and words are pouring out right this moment. The solution was simple really – a little change in environment and a little help from someone else.
I know, many of you are working right about now and leaving the office isn’t exactly possible, so here are a few suggestions next time your brain needs a bit of thawing:
- Go Get Some Coffee – No, not to Starbucks. I mean the free coffee in the lunch room. For the housework challenged (or just plain old lazy) amongst us, making fresh coffee actually works much better than pouring it into our cup because it takes your mind off the task that you are stuck at.
- Do Something Else – Unless your parents own the business and you are the only heir to the company, you probably have more than one task that you need to complete. If you are stuck, try to focus your attention on another task and come back to the original project later. Sometimes, a change of pace is all you need.
- Talk to Your Boss – Don’t go in with your white flag and admit defeat. What I mean is to just talk to your boss and have an intelligent conversation. It doesn’t even have to be about the task you are stuck on, but a second opinion might spark your creative engine again. I would suggest talking to a coworker, but not every boss likes to see their employees chatting all the time.
- Do Something Related but Totally Different – If you also write about personal finance, you could read a trade magazine for example. If you are a coder, you may want to write a small application related to what you are passionate about. Sometimes, the time spent away from work is just as important than time spent at work.
- Give Your Job Serious Thought – I know this sounds impossible, but you may be better off with a different career. There may be another position within the company that fits your skill set better, and who knows…. you may thrive after you made the change. Give your strengths some serious thought, and try to determine if the slump is just temporary. After some honest sessions, you may be able to find the path that’s the brightest and easiest to walk.
I know this is general, but the reader was in the programming field and specific advice is out of my area of expertise. I promised him that I will write an article about it, so perhaps my amazing readers can be of more help. Do you have any suggestions for him? Have you been in a rut but managed to crawl out of it? How did you do it?