Inject New Life into Your Work This Season

Colored syringesIt’s gorgeous out today–75 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze that keeps the temperature comfortable enough to sit out in the sun. On days like this, it takes a while for me to get motivated. I find it much easier to daydream about the summer, thinking about places I’d like to go, people I’d like to see, things I’d like to do. It ‘s hard for me to focus on work as I’d rather be outside, enjoying the weather.

In truth, I haven’t been very motivated about my work recently. I shared these feelings with a close friend, and our conversation was enormously helpful, as he shook me out of my doldrums and reminded me of ways to stay engaged with my work. Days later, I received an email from my professional association with an article Exit Disclaimer on this very topic by Tim Lutenski, a career consultant and instructor, who suggests ways to stay focused, motivated, and engaged at work.

Whether you are feeling inactive or listless, experiencing a loss of the passion or excitement you used to feel about your work, are feeling you’re not growing professionally, or are simply bored at work right now, Lutenski’s article Exit Disclaimer offers four steps you can take to reinvigorate yourself and find passion and meaning in your work again.

1. Adopt the proper mindset.

When I am feeling bored, I typically produce mediocre work, but when I’m excited about my work, I generate superior results. No surprise there, I suppose, but a good reminder of the power of our minds to influence our work. Being reminded of my personal responsibility for my attitude towards work–and ultimately, my success at work–helped me to get back on track, focus on possibilities, and try new approaches.

2. Evaluate yourself.

Lutenski’s suggestion to pinpoint sources of dissatisfaction and frustration helped me to direct my energy appropriately and to focus on changing what needed to be changed in order to feel satisfied again. If you cannot pinpoint what is frustrating you in your current job, try writing down what your ideal work would look like–and then take steps as you are ready to make your ideal a reality.

3. Reevaluate your skills.

To find work that carries more meaning and satisfaction, it is important to identify the skills you are most passionate about using. What do you look forward to doing in your current job?  Is there a project you can propose that would allow you to use those skills more often? If you have trouble identifying your skills, consider meeting with a career counselor in OITE for assistance. According to Lutenski, incorporating these skills in your current work will allow you to build meaning, make job tasks more relevant, and to spend your creative time on tasks that better fit your passion.

4. Take action.

In this article Exit Disclaimer, the author argues that you must do something new in order to experience something new. Make a change! Create an action plan for yourself and your work that includes short-term, achievable goals. Reward yourself as you meet these goals. As Lutenski puts it, “The key is that you must initiate and take action – nothing will happen unless you make it happen.”

To inject new life into your work, try two or three of the following (complete list available in the article Exit Disclaimer cited above):

  • Become an expert – Speak at conferences, publish articles, serve as a resource to others, and conduct workshops.
  • Build outside relationships – Go outside the lab to broaden your skill set, raise your profile, and build relationships to nurture professional growth.
  • Track your successes – Keep a success list to offer perspective and provide hope.
  • Change your routine – Assess how you spend your time and energy and what you can do differently.
  • Read – Be proactive in stimulating your mind and rejuvenating your spirit.
  • Take a class – Meet new people, spark your creativity, and become invigorated with new ideas and challenges.
  • Let go – Work, don’t struggle; do your part, give it your best energy, then let it go. Quit blaming and nursing grudges. Find the positive and move on.
  • Remember the larger picture – Find solace in a world larger than your own. Remember the blessings in your life: your partner, children, family, and friends. Give them your time and attention.

Giving attention to these areas will enhance your life—both inside and outside of work. Enjoy the season! 🙂

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