Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day tips for breaking out of a work rut

No matter how awesome your job may be, anyone can find themselves in a rut at work. Though I've been at the same institution for more than 10 years now, I've been blessed to have a job that has evolved over time. Here are a few tips on keeping things fresh in your professional life over the long haul:
  • Aspire to greatness. In the Bill Murray's classic movie Groundhog Day, his character finds his way out of an endless rut by making his world a better place. While most higher ed jobs don't lead to saving lives, setting a high goal that inspires us can make every day more interesting. Consider pursuing a new credential, learning a new skill, or even earning a graduate degree.
  • Serve others. Apply your professional expertise in a volunteer capacity for a nonprofit organization or community group. You'll get a fresh environment with people who appreciate your service, and you may even pick up a few ideas to bring back to your day job.
  • Find new ways to expedite routine tasks. Do you spend too much time sifting through email, looking for files, or dealing with interruptions? Check out the myriad productivity blogs out there for new ways of getting through the monotonous tasks so you can focus on big-picture projects that can take your work to the next level.
  • Connect with peers outside your institution. Expand your network and meet others who do similar work to you. Social networks, local professional organizations and national conferences can all expose you to people and ideas outside your normal sphere.
What do you do to keep things interesting in your work?
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