We’ve all been there – a “work rut.” It’s not a technical term, but every professional knows exactly what the phrase means. You have a to-do list a mile long with no motivation to accomplish anything. None of your projects seems quite as exciting as usual. It’s a general sense of “meh” creeping into your professional life.

Like everything in life, your professional world will have its ups and downs. Sometimes the rut only lasts a day or two. Sometimes, the issue comes and goes during certain times of the week or year (i.e. Friday afternoons, the weeks before Christmas, the days leading up to your tropical vacation). Regardless of how you get into a work rut, you need some applicable tips to pull yourself out of the funk and snap back into your normal, productive self. We’ve done some digging for you. Here’s what we’ve come up with:


 It may sound cliché, but take stock of everything you have to be thankful for. Sometimes the problems throughout the day seem to be magnified, and we take a lot for granted – a regular paycheck, benefits, good bosses, and fun coworkers.


 Pull yourself out of your funk by shifting your focus to something you’re actually excited about. If there is a project coming up this spring and you’re full of great ideas and ready to knock it out of the park, start planning. Even if it’s only for a portion of your day, intentionally focus on something that makes you happy during your work day.

While looking ahead, set some goals (big or small). Give yourself something to work towards and motivate yourself. Sometimes our work rut occurs simply because there’s not enough to do and we become complacent.


There’s also a chance the root of the problem is a little bit deeper. As the old adage goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Sometimes additional attention to our health, whether it’s exercise or eating better, can do wonders for our productivity during the day. Are we suggesting you give up soy, gluten, dairy, and join Cross Fit? Definitely not. We love pizza and ice cream as much as the next girl. It is, however, a good idea to be more aware of how your body reacts to certain things. Your afternoon slump could just be your body complaining about the fried chicken you ate at lunch.


Like we said earlier in the post, everyone goes through slumps. It’s up to YOU to know if it’s just a temporary issue, or if it’s indicative of a bigger problem within your workplace. If you’re always feeling this way, you could be overworked and burnt out. You could also be working in a toxic work environment. Part of taking care of yourself involves self awareness. If it’s a bigger problem, talk to your supervisor or start thinking about exploring new job options.

For some more advice on the topic, check out articles here and here.