Keeping focus long term in Corporate America is tuff. You come in blazing and fired up but after a year or two, your only focus becomes how soon you can get to the weekend.
The burnout affects us all. It happened to me. I was at a company where I loved my boss but the work was limiting. I unplugged and thought I could coast until one day I was asked to join an important call and on the spot asked to lead it. I bombed! I had not been paying attention to what was happening in my department and could not confidently speak to it in my boss’s absence…even though it was a small team and I was briefed. I was embarrassed and it was then and there that I knew I need to kick my own ass back into focus.
No matter how great the company is or how much you love or loathe your boss and/or co-workers a career drag is bound to happen because no matter how sweet the gig… work is still work. When you find yourself dragging, negative, and feeling the burnout a vacation cannot fix, try these five steps back to career focus.
Sweat the small stuff. It’s been said before but again, for many of us, a lack of focus can hinge on how you kick off the day. Are you lingering in bed cruisin IG? Are you constantly running behind and doing your makeup in the car? A simple way to kick off some focus is to get organized the night before, get up on time, give yourself enough time to get dressed and eat and be alert!
Be a student again. Sometimes the reason for feeling unfocused is that we are simply not interested anymore. If you are a marketer like myself, you know there is always another skill to add. A great way to get excited about work is to plug back into learning. Lots of organizations offer opportunities to go to conferences, take workshops or cross train with other aspects of your department. Take advantage of those opportunities. Learning something new and applying it will help you get engaged and if not, at the very least you have another skill to add to your resume.
Network with motivated strangers. The best way to get fired up is to network with people that are fired up.The whole energy transfer thing is true – this definitely works. Talking with others in your profession at different levels allows you to give advice to some and gain advice from others and it motivating for all.
Reconnect with your end goal. I have a little, framed sign on my desk at all times that says “Remember why YOU are here”. It’s all about perspective – get back to your big goal. Maybe you took this job as a stepping stone to another goal or opportunity? Remember what that was and get working on it. It’s not about where you are today, it’s about where you see yourself in the future. More on this later.
Maybe…you need a new job. So you have gotten organized, learned something new and started networking but work still feels like a drag. Outgrowing a position or department is natural – maybe it’s time for a step up or a step out!
These are just a few tips I have used to self-motivate in times of Meh. Hopefully, they are helpful to you as well.