Have you ever fallen into a rut and you feel like there’s no way out ? Unfortunately, we all tend to fall victim to these unproductive soul-suckers. Well, perhaps that is a bit much, but in all honesty ruts do suck the energy right out of me. Did I just hear a collective “Me too !” ?
Ruts suck. Especially when you know there is a job to be done. You know you need to be productive. You know you need to spend your time in a more valuable manner. But the thought of continuing with the same old, every day, mundane routine is not appealing. We may ask ourselves how to get out of a rut, and often we just let time take care of it for us.
Are you really stuck in a rut, or are you just, ummm, lazy? There is a difference.
Being stuck in a rut is not typically a permanent situation, though the actions associated with it are usually routine and somewhat permanent. The feeling that comes with routine is what I consider the actual rut.
Laziness, on the other hand, is when you make the decision to procrastinate. You know what needs to be done, but you don’t feel like doing it.
Routines and Ruts
Like a car stuck in a mud rut, you can move a little bit forward, a little bit back, but you can’t get out. You are trapped in endless monotony. The daily minutia drags you down.
You wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work (whether it be at home or elsewhere), have dinner, spend valuable family time, and prepare for bed so the entire routine can start again a few hours later. All these aspects of your daily life are the routine. When you feel trapped, stuck, exhausted, and bored with the routine, you are in the rut.
But how can you dig yourself out of this mind-set?
Here are my 14 ways to get out of a rut:
- Change up your routine. If you’re like me, many things have to be done at specific times. But there’s sure to be a few things you can switch around. Can you take your lunch break an hour earlier? Can you deal with client #1 before client #2 ? Think about what you can do to change it up a bit.
- Reward yourself. You deserve it. Recognize the progress you have made and give yourself a pat on the back. Anyone for a mani/pedi ?
- Dress the role. If you work at home, dress the part of the business (wo)man you are. Don’t work in your p.j., dress as though you’re working one-on-one, face-to-face with a client.
- Tackle the hard project first, instead of last. For me, getting the big stuff out of the way makes the rest of the day fly by. And I get the added benefit of satisfaction in completing a difficult job.
- Challenge yourself. What is the one thing you have been wanting to accomplish, but kept putting it off ? Do it today.
- Allow things to flow naturally. Be patient and let things fall into place. Sure, you may have deadlines to meet, and the pressure is on, but take a deep breath. Remember to stop and smell the roses.
- Turn off auto pilot. Put more effort into your work. Go the extra yard to reach your goals.
- Remember your goals. Why you are doing what you do? Don’t loose sight of your goals.
- Mingle more. Instead of hanging out with the same group of friends all the time, get out and meet new people. Take the opportunity to network and build new relationships.
- Take frequent breaks. Go for a walk, go shopping, read a few chapters of a good book, or just sit on the couch and watch a little tv.
- Forget about perfectionism. You may strive to be perfect, but in all honesty, it’ll never happen. Do the best you can, providing great service to your customers, and be happy with that.
- Recharge your battery. Take a quick nap in the middle of the day. You’ll love it !
- Break the Bad Habits. Now is the time to stop the habits that hinder your performance. Do you put off till tomorrow what should be done today? Do you take shortcuts because you just don’t want to do the “bad” jobs?
- Stop making excuses. The sooner you realize you must do certain things, the better off you’ll be. Adjust your way of thinking to accept the fact that some parts of your routine are just cannot be changed.
I have been stuck in a rut many, many times. But it is up to me, and me only, to pull myself out of it. If you find yourself in a rut, take a good hard look at yourself and figure out which of these steps can help you.