The last couple of weeks I’ve been struggling. Struggling to juggle everything well, struggling to be productive and struggling to feel inspired. In short, I lost my work mojo. As much as I love blogging, it’s not my only job and, at times, I find it tough to compartmentalise my work flow. In between pitching to magazines, researching and writing features for said magazines, completing the odd copywriting project, shooting and blogging, I think I’m supposed to have a life in there somewhere!
I think we’re all partial to a little procrastination at work – those times when we’d rather scroll through the sidebar of shame on the Daily Mail than whizz through our to-do lists but there comes a time when you want to get your work mojo back. Lately I’ve definitely been guilty of wasting a good hour watching Friends bloopers on Instagram (so good, guys!) or Googling the Britney Spears melt-down (don’t ask!) and before I know it, it’s 5pm and I still have a mountain of work to do.
It’s the first time I’ve experienced this kind of work lull before and I had absolutely no idea what to do. I started to get up extra early in the morning, get dressed and nurse a cup of hot tea by my laptop in the hope that it would kick-start my motivation before the day’s distractions. But I’d sit in front of a blank page for hours on end, frustrated and trying to will my fingers to type. As a result I haven’t been blogging as much and I haven’t been feeling great about it. I only want to write and create content that I love and that I would want to read so for the last few weeks I’ve been waiting for inspiration to kick back in.
Regardless of whether you love your job or not, I think everyone has those days / weeks / months of questioning what they’re doing, why they’re there and the dreaded, if they’re any good. While it could be part of a bigger problem and a sign that maybe it’s time for a change, it’s usually far less severe and can be fixed with a couple of tweaks. This last week I’ve felt more excited and positive than I have in months. There’s some exciting things in the pipeline for the new season and these were a few things I did to get my work mojo back.
LEAN INTO IT
As frustrating and disheartening as it can be, I found that leaning into those helpless feelings actually helped to push them forward. Instead of fighting against being unmotivated and fed up, acknowledge and accept it for what it is. Don’t force what isn’t there right now. Turning up to the office feeling like a failure and beating yourself up for not ticking off your to-do list isn’t going to produce your best work. Instead, reassure yourself that today you’re head isn’t in the right place and it will pass.
REASSESS YOUR TASKS
OK, I’m going to tell you a little story of last week. I had a busy schedule – a few meetings and events in London, a pending pitch to a well-known website, a shoot to plan and two blog posts to write. I had a lot to do. And yet, I didn’t want to do any of it. What I DID want to do is get in my slobbies, head to the sofa with a bucket of tea and a Gossip Girl marathon. I never feel like this, unless I’m ill or hungover, so it wasn’t a notion I was all that comfortable with.
So, I accepted that it was going to be one of those weeks and things needed to be juggled to accommodate that. I went to London as planned, moved the pitch to the end of the week, wrote one blog post instead of two, pushed the shoot to the following week, sorted out my wardrobe and organised out my inbox instead. And I felt so much better for it. I was still productive enough that I scratched the surface of my tasks without doing anything badly.
We can’t be on our top game all the time, so instead of tackling that mammoth task, (which you’ll probably have to re-do when you’re feeling better) answer emails and organise your desk. Smaller more manageable tasks will leave you with a sense of achievement rather than a feeling of failure.
GO BACK TO BASICS
Sometimes, to get our work mojo back, we have to go back to the drawing board. Re-discover why you love (d) your job. It could be as simple as “it’s close to home” or “it allows me to work on my side hustle” to “I love what I do” – however small or general, remind yourself of why you’re there and focus on it. We get so caught up in the daily grind that it’s easy to lose sight of our career as a whole.
MAKE A PLAN
What makes the biggest difference to my work mojo is making a plan. At times it can feel like we’re coasting. We slip into a daily routine of a job that’s OK, a job that pays the bills or a job that serves a purpose without having that spark to push us on to the next exciting step. I’m a big believer in not being comfortable in a job – we should always be learning, challenged and grow within our limitations. It’s what moulds us as people and propels our confidence. It could be that our boss or mentor constantly drives us onto that next big thing, but really we should be in charge of our own fate.
Making a monthly, yearly or 5 year plan of what you want is key to getting your work mojo back and keep you on the right track. It will make work purposeful and you’ll be motivated to turn up everyday knowing your working towards something better. Whether it’s an internal promotion, a new job or an entirely new career, write down what your strengths are, what you want from a work and out-of-work life, how you want to feel when you go to work every day and start to progress on those things to figure out your plan.
KNOW WHEN IT’S A BIGGER PROBLEM
Nine times out of ten, feeling crap about your job is a passing movement. It could be boredom, tiredness, a lack of motivation or a feeling of being overwhelmed, but sometimes it’s something more…permanent. Sometimes you out-grow your job, your needs change and, as much as you try, there’s no chance of getting your work mojo back where you are.
It might take you some time to figure that out and you may put it off for as long as you can out of convenience and comfort but, ultimately, we spend (on average) more time at work than anywhere else and that’s a huge part of your life to feel unhappy. By moving on and finding what truly makes you happy, it will be a work mojo that’s worth the (temporary) transition.
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Slip dress from Parasol Rose and cardigan is old, similar below