How many times have you looked longingly out the window beside your office desk, wishing you were outside enjoying the fresh air — or taking a nap at home? We know you're raising your hand right now, and we understand 100 percent! Sometimes, the day feels like it's crawling by slower than a snail, and by the end of it, you're completely exhausted. Here's how to beat that workday rut and ensure that it flies by so quick, you won't know it hit you.
1. Find a job that you love or a project you enjoy within your current job.
Ideally, you want to seek a job that you'd look forward to every day — but all hope may not be lost for your current profession. "If finding a job you're passionate about is tough, then find a task or project area to become an expert in," recommends Jenn Dewall, a career and life coach for female professionals. "Find learning opportunities to enhance your understanding, set up touch-bases with people who know more, and practice it!"
2. Set up a snack drawer in your office.
Nothin' like a good old chocolate chip Clif Bar to boost your mood. "[Fill your drawer] with healthy snacks to keep your energy up and some of your favorite things you look forward to indulging in," suggests Hallie Crawford, career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com.
3. Have a five-minute conversation with a co-worker.
Constant corporate jargon gets old, fast — and drags the day on. "We need to infuse fun into our workday, [because] it reduces stress and can increase team building," Dewall says. "Ask a question that is unrelated to work and start a conversation. In similar fashion, you can also pick a pop culture topic and talk about it for five minutes."
4. Take walks.
Don't be a bump on a log all day; get up and move! "Either walk during your lunch, or take short walks after accomplishing a bigger task," Dewall recommends. "Walking will give you energy and can also break up stressful work projects." Want to take it up a notch? "Schedule coffee walks with work colleagues so you can get some caffeine, fresh air, and positive conversation all at once," suggests Rebecca Dallek, a career and leadership coach for women.
5. Have a look at other businesses.
If you've got a little free time and you're feeling bored, "Research the competition," says Jill Jacinto, a millennial career expert for WORKS. It will give you a leg up on keeping your company sharp, and it may spark a few ideas. Plus, it's more interesting than repeatedly refreshing your email!
6. Work with people you like.
"This is critical to overall workplace enjoyment and to make each day fly by," Dallek says. Think about it. If you're sitting next to a co-worker who complains about everything from the temperature of his coffee to the new manager, your eyes are going to be glued to the clock.
7. Focus on your accomplishments, not your never-ending to-do list.
Don't allow your pending work tasks to submerge you in stress. "The more you focus on what has happened successfully during the course of your day, the faster it will go by, because you're less overwhelmed by the next thing on the list and enjoying a sense of accomplishment instead," Crawford says.
8. Jam to an inspiring song in between each task.
Whip out those headphones, stat. "Allow yourself to get lost in the music for a song, and once the song is completed, go back to work," Dewall recommends. "This is another mental break where the intention is to focus on how the song is making you feel — it's not just music to drown out your co-workers." She suggests starting out with coffee house favorites and then amping up to lively, high-energy music (think Carly Rae Jepsen) as the day comes to a close.
9. Buy fun office supplies and add items to your desk that make you smile.
Crawford suggests thinking along the lines of pictures of friends and family, colored folders, and supercute pens. "Keep things professional, of course, but if having fun stuff on your desk makes you smile, go for it," she says. "You can hide things when a client comes in if you need to."
10. Attend a presentation from your colleagues in a different department.
Jacinto recommends this, because seeing other departments in action provides a unique angle on your company and will maintain your focus. Better focus means faster workday!
11. Sit in another location.
If you have a flexible workplace design, this one is cake. "Sometimes a new location gives you a fresh perspective," Dallek says. And if your workspace isn't quite so accommodating or open? Simply transport your laptop to the kitchen for a half hour for a change of environment.
12. Set an end-of-the-week reward.
You already know how important work objectives are. "Each week, set up five goals that you want to accomplish and schedule time to work on them each day," Dewall suggests. "If you accomplish the goals and fill your day with productivity, reward yourself! This can enhance your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment when you walk out the door on Friday." Not to mention, as you center yourself and work toward those goals throughout the week, the days will zip by. And in the end, that's what we all want.