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You sit at your desk, staring at the work in front of you, but no matter how long you sit there trying to psych yourself up you can’t find the motivation to do your work. This is a work slump, and overcoming it is a lot like Frodo’s journey to the inside of Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. But if Frodo can pull off his impossible quest, you can pull yourself out of a work slump.
There are a few different ways you can tackle your work-Mount-Doom. If one doesn’t work, then just try another one and keep trying until your work is done. After all, Frodo had to readjust his approach a few times in order to destroy the Ring.
The point is, you can find a way out of an unmotivated, bored fog with a little persistence. And when you finally get that work done you’ll feel like this:
Identify the Problem and Find a Solution
This first thing you need to do is figure out why you’re struggling to complete your work. Is it because you’re bored with the task? Is it because you don’t feel well? Is it because of something upsetting in your personal life? It’s hard to know what will help you out of the slump without knowing the cause of it.
If the problem is something in your personal life, figure out how you can resolve the issue. Talk to whoever you need to talk to (after work, obviously). If the issue is the task, try to think of a way to make it more engaging or easier to manage.
Change Your Perspective
Sometimes the problem isn’t the task in front of you. More often than not, it’s the way you’re thinking of the task. When you think of work in a negative, burdensome way, it’s practically impossible to find the oomph you need to tackle it. Changing your perspective is one of the hardest things to do when you’re in a slump, but it’s also the most effective. Don’t think of the work as a problem to complain your way through. Think of it as a growing experience, an opportunity to prove your worth and skill at work, or a way to test yourself.
The act of controlling your perspective is a skill you need to cultivate in life. There’s always going to be something you don’t want to do, but it’s not an option to not do it. You need to know how to control your attitude so you can be more productive, successful, and enjoyable to be around, particularly at work.
Change Your Scenery
Scenery can play a major role in how we feel about work. If possible, try to get out of the office to complete the work you’re struggling with. Head to a coffee shop, a library, or any other place with free wifi. Switching things up this way can breathe new life into your work ethic and inspire you in ways that the office can’t.
If leaving the office isn’t an option for you, change your desk scenery. When you sit at one desk all day, the items surrounding you become rote. Spice up your workspace with a new computer background, photos of people you love or things that inspire you, hang up a print that moves you, and bring your favorite coffee mug. Even the smallest changes can make a big difference in how you feel working at your desk. Make sure to remove anything that doesn’t make you happy or isn’t necessary. If you don’t want to redecorate your desk, take your work to the break room, a free meeting room, or any open seating area you can find.
Take a Walk
If you’ve just been sitting and staring at your desk all day without any work to show for it, get up and head outside. A brisk walk around the building will wake you up, give you some fresh air, and break up the monotony of your office. Five to 10 minutes outside is all you need to feel inspired and motivated when you get back to your desk.
It’s not unusual to feel like you need to be shackled to your desk from the moment you get to work until the minute you leave. However, that kind of rigidity makes the office feel like a prison. Give yourself some breaks in-between tasks so you don’t become bored or sluggish. Plus, a little exercise is good for you.
Break it Down
A feeling of being overwhelmed with work is a common cause of work slumps. When you’re stressing out about everything you need to do, it becomes difficult to do anything. If this is how you feel, break down your work into smaller chunks for you to tackle. Divide projects into phases with smaller tasks in each.
By separating things into more manageable segments, you can focus more easily on what needs to be done first. Completing the smaller tasks will also give you a sense of accomplishment, which in turn can motivate you to finish more work.
Set a Time Limit
Some days you just need to turn work into a little game. If you thrive off a challenge, set a time limit for a certain task and work to complete it before your time is up. This can make it more exciting to do the work, and it’s kind of like tricking a child into cleaning up their toys. Everyone likes to say they beat the clock.
Bribe yourself with a snack, an extra large coffee, or even an evening of Netflix binging. Do whatever you have to do to talk yourself into finishing the work you’re avoiding. There’s no shame in a little bribery when it’s for a good cause.