And although it is unrealistic to be actively thrilled by each and every day of work (even if your job or company is awesome), if you’re finding that you’re getting more and more disengaged and uninspired over time – rather than just once in a while – you should probably start doing something about it.
Here are some useful strategies to feel more inspired at work when you find yourself dreading going to work or feeling “blah” most days:
Set challenges for yourself
Settling into the same old routine may feel boring after a while, so spice things up by getting into the competitive spirit. Setting challenges for yourself is a great way to feel more motivated by your work. Think about your short, medium, and long-term goals for your career. Then, set specific, measurable, and time-limited challenges that address each of these goals. Thinking about your longer-term plans can help you feel rejuvenated and more inspired at work.
Reconnect with the company’s mission
When you first started working for your organization, you likely received on-boarding materials about the company’s mission. After months or years of the daily grind, however, that mission may have gotten lost along the way. Get re-inspired by thinking about what got you excited about working there in the first place. Post a sticky note on your computer with a quick, mission-driven mantra to repeat to yourself when you’re feeling uninspired. This helps you focus on the big picture of the work you do, even if it feels like you spend most of your time in the minutiae.
Set better boundaries
Feeling uninspired may be a sign that you’re losing the balance between your work life and home life. Take a hard look at your daily routine to determine what is serving you well and what habits you need to change. If you’ve been working long hours lately, reset your priorities by establishing a set time to leave work every day. Setting better boundaries will give you the opportunity to reconnect with your non-work passions. Lest you succumb to feeling guilty or lazy about this lost work productivity, remember that people who have a strong work-life balance work 21% harder at their jobs and are 33% more likely to stay with that organization.
Request feedback about your work
Talk to your colleagues or supervisor about your work, areas in which you excel, and areas in which you can continue to grow. This gives you positive reinforcement about your strengths and can give you ideas about new areas of growth. At the least, this will give you something new to focus on that’s totally self-driven, rather than relying on other people or things
Learn something new
Sometimes, a little change in routine is all it takes for us to feel more inspired about our work. Look for opportunities to learn something new, whether that means attending a conference, completing a workshop, taking a training course, or even going back to school if your employer offers a tuition benefit. If your company does not have strong opportunities for training, remind your supervisors that employee learning benefits the bottom line, too. Companies that devote more resources to training enjoy a shareholder return 86% higher than those who are less training oriented. This may spur your company to invest more in employees’ training, giving you more opportunities to stay engaged and inspired.
Celebrate the little things
We are reward-driven creatures, yet the modern workplace sometimes feels like a punishing place. Boost the inherent rewards you experience at work by creating an incentive structure for yourself. This could be as simple as getting 5 minutes to surf the Internet when you have completed an hour of hard work or rewarding yourself with a latte when you meet a goal on a project. Celebrating small milestones throughout your workday gives you a sense of accomplishment as you work toward larger goals.
Take a vacation!
More than half of American workers leave vacation time unused, with an astonishing 658 million vacation days going unused in 2015. Taking some time to relax and recharge is one of the best ways to become more inspired upon your return. Even if you cannot afford to go on an extravagant trip, take a few days to explore your city or simply relax at home. This is a smart way to hit the reset button on your job and return with fresh energy.
This article first appeared on Kununu.