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What To Do When You Feel Uninspired At Work

Performance & Productivity


February 5, 2020

August 26, 2020

It can happen at any time: a loss of creativity and purpose in your job. Here’s how to tackle it.

Sometimes, you’re just on top of things. You’re checking off all the items on your to-do lists without complaining, you’re excited about your work, you feel inspired.

It’s called flow: ’That enjoyable state of being, wrapping us entirely in the present, and helping us be more creative, productive, and happy’. The flow state was named by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975 and ever since, has been a much referred to concept in positive psychology.

Perfectly normal

Unfortunately, as many of us know, life isn’t always flowing the way we’d like to. Sometimes you’re dragging yourself to work. Finishing that project you’ve been working on seems impossible. Sometimes work just doesn’t give you the fulfillment it normally does. 

No need to worry. Unless you’re facing an actual burn out, going through a period of time where it’s difficult to feel excited about your work is perfectly normal. It happens to all of us. Even though it may sometimes feel as if you’re never going to get that spark again, it’s just an inevitable part of having a job and – in the grand scheme of things – of being a modern-day human.

Don’t wait for it

While there’s no quick fix to feeling uninspired, there are definitely ways to help us get back into that flow. Kristi Hedges states in The Harvard Business Review that we shouldn’t wait for inspiration to just happen. ‘Waiting to act reinforces stasis. Instead, understand that any move you make will open up new possibilities and reveal emotions that you can’t yet see.’

That means: get out there. Take a class, make a trip, meet a friend – anything is better than simply waiting behind your desk for the lightning to strike. Pro tip from Hedges: develop an ‘inspiration routine’. Reserve every Friday morning to do something that inspires you; have a coffee with someone in your field you admire, for instance.  

Impact on others

Another great tip for regaining that spark comes from an article in The New York Times. In many cases, when we don’t feel inspired, we lost track of the impact our job has on others. Liz Fosslien says: ‘Take notes of how your work has impact on the people at the company you work with. There’s not always external impact, but there’s internal impact.’

Even though it’s the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling uninspired, try to look for things that brighten your day. In the end it’s those things that’ll get you back on track again.

On a final note: you can’t always bring your A-game to your work. And that’s okay.

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