Maybe you’ve contemplated leaving your job, but as the great Neil Sedaka sang, “breakin’ up is hard to do.” You wish you could fall back in love with your job and feel the way you used to feel: excited, happy, content.
Chances are something’s still valuable to you right where you are. Maybe it’s the people. Maybe it’s the opportunity, the commute if you’re back in a traditional office, or even the pay, benefits, or feeling of accomplishment you get from doing something you’ve proven you’re good at.
But there are a lot of people out there telling you it’s time to leave. And let’s face it, nothing’s perfect, and especially not in your job right now.
Amid all the noise about leaving jobs, how can you fall back in love with your job again and get back to having the career and life you want?
What can you do to get unstuck and start feeling in control once more, no matter what’s happening in your business or in the world?
Here are three strategies you can use today to reclaim control of your worklife. Try them out and begin to reset, revise, and even rescue your career—right where you are, just as you are.
Strategy 1: Get Clear About What Your Work Is—And Isn’t
Has your job expanded in ways that are no longer working for you? Now, two years after the start of the pandemic, many of my private coaching clients have found that their ways of working during the initial days of crisis have now solidified, adding more time and effort into their day—but not always adding value.
It’s a perfect time to take an inventory of all the things you do each day and week at work. Make a list—even if it seems long.
Document it all, even the items that seem small or easy. Chances are the list may surprise you.
It’s not uncommon for responsibilities and expectations to sneak into your day-to-day to-dos, whether intentionally or not. Getting clear on what your job has become can help you get clearer on how to make small but powerful changes that make it better, faster.
If you’re ready to get clear about what you want in your life at work, check out Get Career Clear, my self-paced video course, available now.
Strategy 2. Drop Some Balls.
Take a hard look at your inventory of work from strategy 1 above. Which elements don’t use your best skills or talents?
What may have been relevant during the early days of the pandemic, but aren’t as essential now, such as daily meetings or extra reports? What work feels like a waste of time, energy, or resources?
Which do you consistently procrastinate and struggle through?
Right now, you’re juggling all of those balls. Consider dropping one—or many.
Yes, this feels counterintuitive to many of us who feel like we’re never juggling work and life as well as we could be. But human beings are not computers. We can’t add bandwidth to create more capacity.
In fact, by rightsizing our bandwidth and dropping work that no longer matters, we actually become more focused, productive, and valuable—as well as less burned out and unhappy.
How can you drop any of the balls you’ve been so carefully managing? Start experimenting with one small item that you dread doing. Maybe it’s a meeting you attend, a report you prepare, or another routine process.
For the next two weeks, drop it. Seriously. Don’t tell anyone and wait to see if anyone notices—or cares. If they do, propose an experiment where the work gets done differently. In my work with my coaching clients, we’ve often found 20-30% of their day-to-day tasks can be streamlined or eliminated completely, with no or low consequences.
Read more about how to drop balls in chapter 13 of Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job.
Strategy 3: Find Your TA-DAs.
When we’re not feeling great about work, we often overlook all the good we’re doing and all of the success we’re actually having. We clearly see all the things that are undone or imperfect.
But that’s exactly the time when you need to find your TA-DAs, and your TA-DAs help you fall back in love with your job.
You’ve seen a TA-DA. It’s that move where we toss up our arms in a celebratory V, throw back our shoulders and pause, for a moment, basking in the energy of what we’ve just accomplished.
TA-DAs are typically the sole province of Olympians, circus folk, and toddlers proudly waddling, arms up, toward their parents. Those brave souls don’t have to be perfect to have their TA-DA—why should you?
Ask yourself: What do I do well? What do I appreciate about myself? What good things do my clients, customers and colleagues say about me? What am I doing that’s making a difference to someone, somewhere? (More ideas in chapter 15 of Red Cape Rescue, called “Pursue Progress.”)
Throw your hands up, sing out TA-DA, and take a bow.
If you’re ready to fall back in love with your job, your TA-DAs can remind you’re doing more good work than you think, and are more successful than you know.