The Dreaded Work Slump

I’ve been an athlete all my life and to an athlete the idea of a slump is accepted. No one told me that it happens in the non-athletic world as well.  In an athletic slump a basketball player can’t hit free throws, a baseball player’s batting average drops, you are performing below your average. In the business world this translates to malaise and general dissatisfaction with your daily work. Personally this means regular tasks drag on and seem more difficult, project stall, and my attention wanders.

Lifehacker.com just did a short piece on getting out of a slump @ How Can I Overcome a Work Slump?

I wanted to add a couple things that have helped me get out of slumps.

Change your scenery. If you usually work out of the office and have the opportunity to work from home, take it. Work out of your home office for a week. Changing your surroundings can help you refocus and keep your attention from straying.

Do something physical. A lot of us sit at our computers all day without much in terms of breaks or physical activity. Use this chance to get back into the habit of working out. Take a 20 minute break from work to walk around or hit the gym. Cardiovascular workouts like running, biking, or erging give your brain and body a chance to focus on something physically demanding.

As a systems administrator my job does entail a decent amount of monotony. I have to sometimes do the same thing multiple times to different servers to fix similar issues. This can get boring, but it can’t be ignored. Thus it follows that professional system administrators are uniquely susceptible to slumps. Realizing this and identifying that you are in fact in a slump are the first steps to getting out of one.

Ignoring the fact that this does happen won’t keep it from happening. Willful ignorance isn’t a solution.