It’s so darn easy to get in a rut.
If you find yourself doing the same thing day after day, week after week, maybe it’s time to mix it up!
Changing different aspects of your work life will help you stay sharp and focused.
Notice how you might keep things interesting in these key areas:
What You Do
I’m all for having a niche, but are you taking this to the extreme?
Do you find yourself working with the same sorts of clients over and over again: same industry, same revenue model, same number of employees?
Are your clients the same people, just with different heads?
What about your projects? Is everything starting to look the same?
I can’t think of a quicker way to become bored and burnt out.
In fact, one of the main reasons I started my company (lo, back in the day!) was to get away from having to write about the same horrid crap and designing to the same wretched guidelines every single day.
(Maybe your work isn’t really horrid or wretched, but doesn’t it start to feel that way after a while?)
If you work with small organizations, stretch yourself by working with a national brand.
If you normally do project work, think about how you might reposition yourself as a consultant.
Can’t get that sort of work, you say?
Even the process of writing the proposal will help you gain a new perspective.
What You Focus On
We all wear many hats. How about trying on someone else’s cap for size?
If you normally handle a particular aspect of the business, like sales or customer service, try switching off with a colleague, or at least sitting in for a few hours.
Maybe you can offer to draft a blog post or proposal, or join a colleague at lunch with a client.
This isn’t always comfortable or fun.
Early in my career, my sales guys would always try to get me to go out on sales calls with them.
“No thanks,” I’d say. “You make the money. I spend it.”
Now that I’m, uh, more seasoned, I see the value in understanding what other people do from the inside out.
Who knows? You just might discover a new calling!
How You Decompress
I work too much, and I bet you do too.
One of the most important things you can do to stay fresh is to keep doing what you love, whether it’s taking photos, making music, or writing poetry.
In other words, stay geeky!
Staying geeky allows you to come back to work with fresh eyes, which leads to higher creativity and productivity.
Remember, work expands to fit the time you give it. Avoid that rut by planning to mix it up!
More rut-reducing resources for you:
- Marie Forleo on Parkinson’s Law
- Ray Martin on getting out of a rut
- Regular contributor Jen Consalvo on Vision, Intention and Attention: 3 critical steps to being your best
Image: Kenny Hindgren via Flickr, Creative Commons
Ann Bevans is a writer, graphic designer and web developer. As principal of Ann Bevans Collective, she helps clients articulate messages that matter and create print and online marketing programs that communicate those messages with impact. Ann asks tough questions and doesn’t accept flimsy answers. She makes music and writes fiction. She does all her own stunts. Connect with Ann at www.annbevans.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.