Running on autopilot 24/7? Feeling bored at work? These tips will help you take a step back to unlock inspiration at work and beyond.
The pace of daily activity shows no signs of slowing down. We live and work in a new world full of disruptive innovation, split-second analysis and data overload.
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to disconnect for a second from this whirlwind of activity to find true inspiration in our work. But finding meaning in work is more important than we realize.
Thirty percent of Millennials said finding “meaning” in their work matters more than salary, according to a recent study, and more than 70 percent of Millennials feel that meaningful work is one of the three most important factors in a career.
You can benefit from a similar approach. Taking action to be more inspired, and getting motivated to shake off being bored at work can help you refresh, recharge, and do your job better.
Here are few ways to unlock inspiration and find meaning in your work and personal life. (Click here to tweet this list of inspiration.)
1. Use your professional skills in a social context
If your current role as an accountant, banker, architect, or venture capitalist is not offering a wellspring of emotional inspiration, consider harnessing your experience and knowledge for the greater good.
Nonprofits, local schools and community centers are typically packed inspiring stories, but short on hard business skills. Taking a few hours a week or month to help them shore up their books, implement new initiatives or gather information for capital-raising truly helps these organizations grow their positive impact. It also allows you to refocus abilities to an inspirational medium.
Knowing you are putting your education and experience to work for a good cause will be a source of great pride and inspiration.
2. Take time to get to know your coworkers
You spend 30, 50, 80 hours per week crammed in an office with amazing people that you barely know more than simple pleasantries and calendar invites. Americans will spend a total of 10.3 years of their lives working. Why not make this time one of inspiration?
I am amazed whenever I take time to sit down and listen to the stories of those I pass in the hallway each and every day. Stories of hard work, perseverance and passion flow like a gushing river when we simply stop and ask.
Not only will you find inspiration in the daily lives of others but it will also make your work projects more productive and meaningful. Take the time to ask a coworker where they came from and where they may want to go. Inspiration will follow.
3. Get up and go for a walk
Believe it or not, human beings were not designed to sit at a desk and punch buttons for eight hours per day.
The Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida has done amazing research on the biorhythms that dictate our daily energy levels. The Institute suggests getting up and going for a short walk every 60 to 90 minutes. This momentary break from work will refresh your energy.
How many times have you had a breakthrough idea while waiting in line to pay for your lunch or grabbing a midday coffee? New scenery and new surroundings, even for a brief break, can unlock new ideas and inspiration.
4. Change your perspective
Do you have a daily routine that you complete on autopilot? It could be driving to work or picking up the kids at school. Next time, think about taking a different approach to these everyday tasks, even if you only adjust them in a minor way.
Then, think about how your approach impacts other people and how you they might prefer you approach these routines. How can you improve your routine to make it better for everyone? Now try it with your work.
Think of a project in a broader manner or consider the implications of an initiative for the company or a larger swath of society. Let your perspective change and notice the inspiration that ensues. You’ll find yourself unlocking fresh ways to approach your role and the challenges you face.
5. Start small
Finding inspiration can be a daunting task. It seems we never have enough time, energy or bandwidth to make it happen.
But as ancient Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu said, “The journey of a million miles begins with a single step.” The key to real personal change and growth is making it manageable. Don’t try to take it on all at once. Pick one or two small things you can do at this moment and begin working on them.
Create immediate victories for yourself and let the momentum lead you down new paths and to new experiences. This behavioral change accompanied with a positive intent is sure to unlock inspiration in both your career and your personal life. Take the first step: pick something small that makes you feel good and do it for a week. Try it today and feel the winds of positive change.
Josh Romisher is a Sloan Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. A former investment banking executive turned social entrepreneur, he is currently working on startup and early stage social ventures in Africa and Asia.