There have been endless articles with tips about how to get out of a rut at work. Tips don’t usually make much long-term difference. Putting a plant on your desk or going on a shopping spree isn’t going to solve anything.
The best way to deal with being stuck in a rut is to identify the problem: determine whether it is your job or your life that is stuck in the rut. Is it me or the job? Ask yourself: how much do I enjoy my life outside of work? Do I have adventure, new experiences and fun in my life? Or, do you watch the same TV shows, go to the same restaurants, have the same conversations with the same people over and over? Even movie stars have plenty of routine in their lives. All of us need to take care of the basics. Only you know if it is time to make your life a little juicier. Try new things. Think of what you would love to do but somehow never get around to. Make new friends. Visit new places. Shake out the sameness. It is impossible to know if your job is the main problem if your entire life needs a little more spice. Sometimes adding a little edge to your daily life cures the problem. What can you lose? When was the last time you had such a fabulous homework assignment?
If your life outside of work is fine, then ask, “Is it my job or my career”? Stuck in a rut is an idiom that comes from the days of unpaved roads. It was difficult to avoid the deep grooves in the road left by all the previous buggies that passed by before you.
How much do you enjoy the actual day-to-day work you perform? –the tasks and projects? Each job consists of a few very specific functions. Do most of them come easily and naturally to you? Do you care about the subject matter? If not, consider a career change rather than just moving to a new job doing the same things.
If you like the work but not the workplace environment, your co-workers, the routine, the organization or the management, you may just need a new job.
What seems like a rut may be a symptom of stress. What if you did the same work, in the same place, but were more relaxed and focused. You can train yourself to lower your stress level using a new tracking device called SPIRE (spire.io) that measures relaxation, focus and stress and coaches you to improve.