As we progress through our careers, we sometimes feel “stuck.” Maybe this happens with the changing of the seasons (getting to work when its dark and leaving when its dark), a slow-period at work, or a lack of motivation. Whatever the cause, most of us have felt this way at one point or another.
Although we can fall victim to these “funks,” there is no clear-cut timetable for how long these can last. After a while, your funk could extend to other aspects of your life and affect your career. The key to this situation is to try and break out of the funk as quickly as possible. It is easy to think that nothing is wrong and to brush it off, but by realizing that something is bothering you and nipping it in the bud, it will help you the next time it happens.
Melody J. Wilding of The Muse realizes that we all fall into these funks at work and life in general. She came up with four things we can do to break out of said funk, regardless of length.
In order to solve a problem, you have to figure out what is causing it. Wilding recommends taking some time to think about what made you fall into this funk in the first place. Do you remember the first day that you felt this way? If so, try and think back to what happened so you can change it.
While it is easy to strive for a work-life balance, more often than not, our work lives carry over into our “normal” lives and vice versa. Take some time to relax and clear your mind. A lifestyle change (working out, eating better, etc.) can go a long way in terms of both mental and physical well-being.
Plan a Mini Retreat
“Work to live, not live to work.” When you first start in a career, it is common to bite off more than you can chew because you want to prove yourself to the bosses. This might cause burnout, which would definitely lead you into a funk. When this happens, you might lose the motivation and find yourself going through the motions at work. A way to avoid this is to take a “mental health day” for yourself.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be an extravagant vacation. Instead, it can be as simple as going to the gym to clear your mind and refocus. As long as you separate yourself from work for a few hours so you can think clearly and about what you really want to be doing. Wilding says “define your ‘why’ and commit to making it a priority.” Will your current position help you achieve your career goals or do you need to find something that makes you feel more fulfilled?
Focus on One Thing at a Time
One of the most common traits people identify with is that of being a great “multitasker.” Need someone to answer emails in a timely manner, schedule social media, answer the phones, pay invoices, secure funding and create graphics while being present in a full slate of meetings? No problem…right? Having too many things to do and not completing all of them instills a sense of failure in some people. This “failure” can in turn cause you to fall further behind and feel more overwhelmed than necessary.
To avoid this, try your best to refocus and delegate time to complete certain tasks. Try creating a to-do list so you can have a visual representation of what needs to be done. When you complete a task, cross it off. The feeling of crossing something off your list is essentially a small victory. Who doesn’t like winning?
Identify the Decision You’ve Been Avoiding
Do you have to decide on an opportunity within a certain time frame? Need to have a difficult conversation with a coworker but have been putting it off? By continuing to avoid things the feeling of something looming over you will keep building. In order to shake this, you must face this head on. Make the decision and be confident with it. Have that conversation and deal with the repercussions.
You will not only feel a sense of accomplishment, but the weight will be lifted off your shoulders. This alone should make you feel like you are breaking out of your funk.
In work and in life we all fall victim to “funks” at one time or another (if you don’t you are sure to make a lot of people pretty jealous). No matter how long these last, breaking out of them sooner rather than later is key. By following the four steps listed above you will be able to not only figure out what is making you feel that way, but also hopefully avoid feeling that way in the future.