No, it’s not the moldy sandwich in the shared refrigerator that is stinking up the break room. Nor is it a fancy jingle – set to the tune of “Uptown Funk” – to describe a spirited workplace experience.
It’s actually that tired and burnt out feeling that even the most talented professionals can experience.
You know, it starts on a Monday morning, where you’re dragging your heels on your way to work. And then by Wednesday, it feels like responding to emails takes about as much energy as running a marathon.
I know this feeling – and I’ve spoken to many professionals who know it, too.
The workplace funk isn’t leadership behavior because it inspires no one. It needs to be addressed before it damages the reputation you’ve been building carefully as a professional.
The best news I have for you is that there’s a cure for it. Several, actually! But they all center on you and your ability to manage yourself (and your life) so you can work your way out of it.
Here are a few tips on how to get out of your funk and back into a better reality:
- Clean your desk. I know, I know – no one needs another mother. But a cluttered workspace creates a cluttered mind. Sometimes all you need to be productive and positive is a clean, neat, and inspiring place to work.
- Fill your mind with inspiration. I’ve got to admit, that when I listen to too much news, I walk away depressed about the state of the world, which impacts my energy level. I certainly read up on current events, but I don’t dwell on them. I’ve taken to listening to inspiring music and fun podcasts on my way to work, which significantly alter my state of mind. (I’ve been listening a lot to Brian Koppelman’s “The Moment” – where he talks to hardworking artists about the moment they realized they had achieved success – for an entrepreneur, this is brain candy.)
- Keep a journal. This sounds cheesy, but I just started keeping a gratitude journal. Each day I write down three things I’m grateful for and I find that this simple reflection exercise makes me smile. Research shows that if you focus on things that make you happy, you can positively impact the level of happiness you experience.
- Rewrite your script. We tend to view our routine as obligations; when we do, we start to resent the things we have to do. I have to go to work. I have to drop off the kids at practice. Rewrite your script – start sentences with “I have the opportunity to … .” Reframing your dialogue can shift your attitude in an instant.
- Take a day off. Sometimes all it takes is one day, focused on you, to get you back into the swing of things. We work so hard – and we mistakenly believe that we’re computers and can bring the same level of intensity to whatever we’re doing whenever we’re doing it. We just can’t. Take a break – you probably need one!
- Take a break. And maybe you need more than a day. Burnout is real and it happens to the best of us. As you look into the near future, maybe you need to take some time off to rejuvenate so you can come back stronger.
- Pay attention. And maybe it’s more than a break you need. Pay attention to your thoughts and ideas – maybe a bigger change is needed. There are always career mentors you can connect with to have important dialogues.
There is so much we can do to shift our attitude so we see possibility (versus overload). And sometimes the smallest things can produce the greatest impact. So, start today – and with conscious effort, you can be leading yourself out of the workplace funk and towards a better future.