At some point, in any professional’s career, there comes a time when enthusiasm wanes. It’s natural, after all. Even as an assistant, a role where “no two days are exactly alike,” the day-to-day operations can eventually become monotonous.
When you feel a lack of enthusiasm for the work you do, it can really take a toll on your quality of life. You feel more tired and discontent. Ultimately, it can also impact your quality of work. When you’re not energized by what you’re doing, you tend to cut corners and settle for “good enough.”
So, what’s an assistant to do when he or she feels that lack of enthusiasm? How do you get back on track? Here are some simple, but effective, recommendations.
Tackle Stretch Projects
Nothing is more exciting than a project that challenges your capabilities. These kinds of projects give you goals that are outside the normal, everyday realm. They’re risky, no doubt. But hey, risk is exciting! It gets the blood moving. It forces you to think differently and deeper. It pushes you to see things from new perspectives.
Volunteer to do something you’ve never done before. Suggest an innovative solution to a problem that’s been plaguing your team for ages. Offer to own that project that no one else wants to do.
You are capable of much more than you (or your manager!) probably even realize. The feeling of growing is, in and of itself, a great energizer. Plus, as you tackle these challenging items, you’ll enhance your reputation and contribute more meaningful in your role. It’s a win-win.
Shake Up Your Routine
Routines are useful because they make us more productive. However, it’s easy to shift into autopilot when you’re doing the same things, in the same way, every day. Sometimes a minor shake up can help you re-engage. Even something simple, like taking a different route to work in the morning or climbing the stairs instead of using the elevator, can help you feel more awake and alert.
When I’m feeling a lack of enthusiasm personally, I rearrange my to-do list. I move the tasks I enjoy most to the end of the day, that way I can look forward to them. I’m able to power through the more unpleasant work with the knowledge that my afternoon will be filled with more enjoyable items. Or, I save the best stuff for Fridays. These are simple tricks that I find helpful when I’m struggling.
Optimize Your Environment
This is another strategy that I rely on personally. The physical environment can have a dramatic impact on your mental perspective. When I need a good hefty dose of renewed energy, I reorganize and redecorate my workspace. It never fails to lift spirits. I can find new ways to enhance the functionality of even a tiny space, and when all is said and done, I can enjoy a fresh new perspective.
Try this and see how it feels: Remove all the clutter from your space and re-evaluate why it’s there. Exchange your personal pieces of flare for more recent photos or important mementos. Switch up the location of your computer, your phone, and your work-in-progress files. Empty your drawers and find new places for your stockpiles.
In my experience, a few minor adjustments can have a powerfully positive effect.
Reconnect with Your Value
Finally, one of the best things you can do to reignite your enthusiasm is to remember why your work really matters. Consider the impact you have on your executive and the organization as a whole. Imagine what things would be like if you weren’t there. Remember the overall goals and mission of the organization.
You are an essential part of something that is very important to many, many people.
Remember that work is not the same as play. It’s okay if you aren’t filled with an overwhelming sense of excitement each and every day. Save that for your trip to Disneyland. However, it is absolutely possible to find something at work, each and every day, that brings you a sense of joy, enthusiasm or fulfillment. It takes effort, but it’s worth it.
Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach and corporate trainer who believes that work can be a nourishing, enriching part of the life experience. Her website, EatYourCareer.com, is devoted to that mission. You’re invited to join the FREE Eat Your Career Resource Library where you’ll gain immediate access to dozens of tools to advance your professional skills and achieve career fulfillment.
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