How to fall in love with your job again

The last 12 months have been a particularly difficult time for everyone! There has been a lot of change in pretty much every job out there. And for managers, we’ve had to deal with not only the changes to our jobs, but the challenge of supporting our teams through a really uncertain time. On the one hand, those of us in stable jobs are grateful that we are some of the lucky ones that aren’t facing the prospect of redundancy in these difficult times. Yet on the other hand, everything has gotten so HARD over the past 12 months with the pace of change, adjusting to working remotely and the added stresses that the pandemic has brought. So if you’re feeling a little bit less eager to get to work (spare room) in the morning, here are some tips to help you to fall in love with your job again.

Prioritise down time

Most of us don’t work just for the joy of it. Personally I lived for the annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury, weekends away with my friends, or a night out to see one of my favourite bands. All of those things have stopped over the past 12 months and so it’s been easy to cancel annual leave and prioritise getting ahead for next week at work over an extended weekend break to recharge. It took me until about 6 months into the lockdown to realise that I hadn’t actually had a proper break for over 8 months and my motivation was flagging as a result. Pre- lockdown I often forced myself to end the workday or stay offline at the weekend because I had actual other things to do and real plans that I wanted to enjoy. Whereas working from home meant that I was much more lenient on things dragging on until the evening, or just logging on for a few hours on a Sunday.

Remember – Work is not the most important thing in the world. Make finding an alternative to your usual hobbies or finding new hobbies altogether a priority. Switch off the laptop because you have date night or a virtual wine tasting party or a new song to learn on the piano. When you actually switch off from work you come back more revitalised.

Establish a (new) routine

In the good old days, many of us had a daily routine that included a significant portion of commuting time. Maybe that involved walking to work, listening to a podcast in the car or reading a book on the train. The average commute to work for most people was between 30 minutes and an hour. At both ends of the day that served a purpose, either to frame your mind for the day ahead or to unwind before seeing your family to relax in the evening. How have you replaced your commute? Has it been mindful or have you just fallen into either snoozing for longer or working earlier? Take the time for some morning exercise, meditation, reading a book with a hot drink, whatever it is… Reintroduce the habits that have fallen by the wayside (or add some new ones if you prefer)

Recognise your achievements

Often when we fall out of love with our jobs it’s because we’ve been sucked into the day to day and haven’t taken a step back to think about what it is that we have achieved or want to achieve. So do that. Take 30 mins to an hour and reflect on everything that you have acheived over the past 6 months. How have your priorities shifted away from what you were expected and how have you handled that? What have you done that you never expected to be doing? And what are you proud to have delivered? I try to block out 30 mins each week to reflect on what has gone well or not so well and what I would like to do differently next time (I used to do this on my commute home on a Friday… Now I go for a walk and think about it instead)

Set goals

Whilst you’ve thinking about all of your achievements, I’m sure there are a couple of things that you wanted to achieve but haven’t. Or that with the gift of hindsight you could have improved on. Decide which of these you want to prioritise over the next week, month or year and make a commitment to yourself to focus on improving or delivering on a handful of goals. No need to be too prescriptive as priorities change. But an idea of the end state of where you’d like to get to and what you’d like to have delivered and by when is a great mile marker to have to motivate you.

Decide on the one thing

Finally, look at what you have coming up tomorrow or for the next week. Out of everything that you have to do choose one thing that you are looking forward to. Maybe it’s a meeting with someone that you work with that you always enjoy. Maybe it’s finally finishing a piece of work that you’ve been doing for a while. Pick one thing that you really enjoy or are looking forward to. Everyone has at least one thing in their job that they love, and when we fall out of love with our jobs it’s because we’re spending more time focussing on the work that we don’t enjoy than the work we do (only a luck few seem to love every part of their jobs). When you find yourself feeling down or frustrated with your job, remind yourself of the work that you enjoy and are looking forward to, and treat it as a reward for doing some of the less enjoyable tasks.

We all go through phases where we’re lacking motivation. If that’s you, try these tips to help you love your job again. If you’re finding that this is a permanent rut then sometimes that is a sign that it’s time to move on, but don’t jump ship until you’ve tried this tips to see whether you can fall back in love with your job.

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