Almost everyone has found themselves in a work slump. Typically a work slump is characterized by a loss of motivation or confidence to perform your job well. This could be exhibited by you showing up to your workplace later and later, avoiding certain people or meetings, and acting inappropriately in an effort to disguise other feelings such as incompetence.
Leadership Coach Katie Kelley shared these tips for bouncing out of a work slump:
Address Distracting Personal Matters
The first step to bouncing out of a work slump is evaluating what is going on in your personal life that could be influencing how you are performing at work. If you are experiencing unexplained physical symptoms like lethargy or difficulty focusing, you should go see your doctor or care providers for an evaluation. If you are going through a difficult transition in your personal life such as a divorce, or your children are leaving for college or your spouse is out of work, you may want to consider engaging in a form of counseling to ensure that you have an appropriate space to reflect on those experiences. Sometimes it is difficult to be objective about matters going on in our own lives, so talking to someone you are very close with about this subject is very helpful. And then of course, making sure you are organized outside of work so that you are getting adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition so that when you do show up to work you are putting your best foot forward.
Revamp Your Daily Schedule
When I see clients who are trying to work themselves out of a work slump, they are either burned out after having endured a stressful and demanding project or role or they have lost their confidence and are so worried about possibly losing their job that they have begun to behave strangely in an effort to disguise their inadequate feelings. Whether your particular slump falls into the loss of motivation or confidence bucket, the second step I suggest taking at work is to enact a schedule into your day so that you follow a consistent routine. The benefit of doing this will help get you back on track and be able to understand exactly where your pain points might be occurring versus simply viewing your entire work experience as ineffective. For example, I have been working with a gentleman who was sent to me by his boss because he had begun exhibiting very 'desperate' behavior when he was attempting to close sales deals with clients. When this client, Bob and I were discussing his behavior we identified that he was feeling very out of control with his ability to meet his sales goals and resultedly was behaving in a very desperate manner. Once Bob began to structure his week he regained what we call his own internal 'locus of control'.
Revisit Your Industry's Best Practices
The most successful people are those who view themselves as lifelong students or learners. Simply because you have completed your formal education, does not mean that you should ever stop investing in our own development. For some a slump at work can occur because folks have become so distanced from the theory or best practices of their particular industry that they feel uninspired and undirected. This is very normal and happens to all of us. When this does occur, I strongly suggest that you dust off some of your favorite old classics and take your own refresher course of your industry's best practices. Perhaps you might even want to sign up for a webinar or a community college course if reading a book or a blog is not enough for you to feel adequately refreshed. The goal of this step is to re-boot if you will in order to get grounded back into the core of your job role and to make sure that you are staying abreast of new trends and developments that are occurring within your field globally.
Strengthen Your Work Relationships
Once you have addressed personal matters, instituted structure into your work week and revisited best practices in your industry, it is time to strengthen your work relationships. Sometimes people can fall into a work slump because they have stopped connecting with people at work. This is not so easy to do so start with simple gestures with the folks who you want to improve your relationship with like asking them for some feedback or input on something you are working on, or supporting them in an initiative they are involved with or asking them to go out to lunch with the simple goal of connecting with them beyond your work roles. Often times you will find that you will be able to garner needed mutual support from your work relationships that will result in you feeling more confident, less isolated and overall enjoying your time at work.