How to Get Out of a Daily Rut

At some point, almost every small-business owner can feel stuck in some kind of daily rut. Here are 10 tips for getting inspired and pulling out of it.
March 17, 2016

As a small-business owner, you may have some days, or even longer periods of time, where you feel stuck in a rut. Maybe you are experiencing delays on a project, have been buried in mundane busywork or are feeling just slightly burned-out. This could happen at some time in the life of every small-business owner. 

The key is to know how to respond when you find yourself in a daily rut. Here are 10 ways that may help you get out of it.

1. Find the why.

Are there specific things that happened recently which make you feel stuck in a rut? In this 24/7 Internet connected world, many people can get totally overwhelmed, but specific events can typically be isolated as the cause. Actually identifying why you are in the rut may be the first step to getting out of it.

2. Have a pity party.

Mourn! Cheer the darkness. Feel sorry for yourself, but then consciously let go and plot your next action. Consider whether you have been here before. Do you recognize a pattern you can learn from? Remember that every new step may get you closer to another chance at a new (and possibly) successful outcome.

3. Forget about being perfect.

This can be an incredibly elusive goal in small business. Stop always comparing yourself or your company to others as the only measure. Remember why you are specifically running this company and what its long-term mission is.

4. Go through the motions.

Put your head down and do your job, even if it is only going through the motions. Many times, the familiarity can move you out of your rut to a new place. Complete small tasks so you can feel a sense of achievement.

5. Say thank you!

Pick a single day when you say thank you out loud to everyone who helps. Forming this habit can help you to appreciate what you have and make others feel good in the process.

6. Look for the positives outside your world.

Who can you be happy for? If you are down, then being happy with other people can rub off on you and give you a vacation away from your troubles for a short period of time. Better yet, go out and volunteer for a good cause. Feeling like you are making a difference can help get you out of a daily rut.

7. Reach out to make connections.

Call new and old customers to talk with them to prevent isolation. This means getting out of your office and actually visiting people. Do something totally within your control and make connections for your contacts. For example, match someone looking for a new job with another person who needs their skills.

8. Throw out five things.

Physical clutter can also keep you in a daily rut. Let’s face the fact that most people have too much stuff. Consider throwing out things you have not used in the past two years. Getting rid of this mess can be freeing both physically and mentally.

9. Take a break.

Having too much on your mind can also clog your brain. Go for a walk, visit a friend or work out every day. Start a technology fast for a few hours or a day. Breaking patterns can be the key to seeing things from a different point of view.

10. Upgrade yourself.

Learn something totally new that you would not have taken time for previously. This can be personally (learn to play guitar or tennis) or professionally (dig deeper into an aspect of your company you know nothing about).

Don’t try all of these at once, since wanting to accomplish them could be so stressful that it gets you into a deeper daily rut! Do one thing at a time and see how you feel as a result before proceeding to what feels right next.

Read more articles about productivity.

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