Feeling Professionally Bored? Here's How To Get Over The Slump
Workin' Girl

Feeling Professionally Bored? Here's How To Get Over The Slump

Having a case of the blahs at work from time to time is one thing, but a consistent feeling of demotivation or sluggishness could be a sign you're either headed to burnout or are already there. And if you're bored at work, you're apparently not alone: Research has found that Gen Z and millennials are the most susceptible to experience burnout, with 48% of those ages 18 to 29 and 40% of professionals 30-plus affected---and 46% being women.

So what do you do if you're feeling bored at work, in a complete rut, and headed toward being a hot professional mess? Try a few of these tips:

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1. Get clear on what's triggering those feelings.

I've been a journalist for more than 20 years, and I can't lie, there have been times when the work is tedious or just doesn't motivate me to push for more. I've found that a major trigger for me is when I feel like my creativity is being stifled (whether by company culture, unnecessary red tape to get approvals or pursue stories, or toxic environments.) I'm not one to quiet quit, as I think that's a waste of my time and quite debilitating to my mental health, so when those feelings of boredom and burnout would set in, I'd sit down and get clear on my triggers. I'd then try to figure out solutions (i.e., volunteer for more challenging or creative projects, try out other coverage areas within a company, or quit altogether to pursue a different route that further nourishes the writer and editor in me.)

For you, the triggers could be you're dealing with a micromanaging or a careless boss, doing work that you're just no longer passionate about, or you're in an industry that's just not growing at a pace that matches your career development goals.

Whatever's feeding the feelings of boredom must be written down and dealt with. Get honest with yourself, even if you have to just do a brain dump, take a deep breath, and come back to unpack the feelings later.

It's also a good idea to get help from a coach, therapist, or mentor. Boredom doesn't necessarily mean you no longer want to pursue the career you're in. You just might need to make a few shifts in how you see work, how you operate within a company, or advocate for changes in your department.

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2. Take action to address the triggers of boredom and burnout.

And this doesn't necessarily mean just quitting a job. It means evaluating all courses of action to combat the boredom. Maybe your job is just a money-maker to fund a side hustle or future business that you should transfer mental energy into planning for. Maybe you can request a transfer to a different department or location that requires more creative skills, pushes you to use that problem-solving savvy, provides a much-needed change of scenery, or offers hands-on work that gets you out of the office.

Maybe there's a service project outside of work that you can throw your passions into. Boredom doesn't always mean your job or company is terrible.

But if it is, you need to go heavy on the exit planning. What are your career dreams or goals? What are your current financial responsibilities? What does your quality of life look like? What are the dealbreakers when it comes to company culture or job duties? What can you do to reach your dreams while taking care of yourself and/or your family? Map out a plan so that you can have something positive to focus on versus being bored. (Again, tap into a coach, counselor, or other trusted sources to help you answer these questions and take some of the pressure off of figuring out things yourself. Sis, we're not super-human, and help is available.)

If it's a deeper issue, such as something related to mental or physical health--as sometimes feelings of demotivation can be linked to depression or a physical ailment---work with your healthcare provider to get to the bottom of things. Find support among your family, friends, church, sorority, or other networks so that you can navigate through solutions and emotionally sustain the transitions you're going through.

3. Do things that tap into joy and play whether at work or not.

If you can make your meetings more fun, take your team outdoors for breakout sessions, or even coordinate fun team-building activities (like sports activities, happy hours, or game nights) with your peers at work, do it. If it's against company policy or if your work life just ain't that type of party, schedule something joyful to do during your day and treat it like an important appointment.

If your schedule at work is too packed for all of that, reevaluate how you're spending your day, and find out what might be inefficiently draining your time. Even if it's as little as a 30-minute dance session, a 15-minute walk listening to your favorite upbeat playlist, or a quiet puzzle-completion session, make the time to do something that makes you smile and tap into the kid in you.

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Also, when you tap into a bit of fun, it can help reignite your creative juices, boost ideas and dreams, and really help you to kickstart a path out of boredom. You'll be able to free your mind to figure out new initiatives, new ways of thinking about your job or your career, and how you can approach working with purpose and fulfillment. You can offer yourself grace, take things one step--one day--at a time, and really get to the core of what makes you happy in the work that you do.

We all experience boredom on our career paths, especially when you spend five, 10, and 20 years building, but with a bit of reflection, deliberate action, humility, and outreach, you can beat those feelings to reach your ultimate life and career.

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