How to Squash the Restless Feeling you have with Work

Do you ever feel stuck? Like you’re in a rut? I’ve noticed more recently that the days that I find myself feeling restless or unfulfilled with work are the days that I just didn’t try that hard.

The ‘not trying hard’ part is what leads me to that restless feeling in my work.

Not the other way around.

But this kind of thing happens to all of us every now and then, especially if you run a small business. You creative entrepreneurs know what I am talking about, right? Maybe you feel antsy, tired, or even a little apathetic every once in a blue moon. And that’s okay. In fact it’s completely natural. Everybody gets into a rut at some point in their career. No matter how much they love what they do.

So the next time you are feeling unfulfilled in your work or just plain ‘muh’, think about how you got there in the first place.

Try to reverse engineer the problem.

Maybe you’re like me, and you just need to ‘try hard every day‘ to loosen up/dislodge that unsatisfied feeling that bubbles in the pit of your stomach when something isn’t working.

Or maybe it’s deeper than that and you need to take extra steps to figure this bad boy out. If that’s the case, than here’s what you do…

1. Write it down.

Write down everything you do for a week (or two) involving your work. At the end of each day, right down how you feel. Were you happy or sad? Exhausted or energized? Restless or fulfilled? Excited or bored?

Don’t think about it or over-analyze things during the days you are writing your activities down. Just write.

2. Read it over.

At the end of the week, read over all of your writing and spend some time thinking about those tasks that you completed or worked on during the days that you were happy and satisfied with.

3. Examine.

Next examine those less than perfect days. The days that you felt unsatisfied or stuck. What did your work day look like on those days? What did you do differently on the “bad days” than on the days you felt good? The problem may lie with the number of tasks that you are completing on those days (too many tasks can make anyone feel overwhelmed) or the specific tasks themselves (maybe you hate non-creative busy work that doesn’t help you grow).

4. Question.

Then ask yourself the most important question: How can you fix it? What can you do right now to make those days that you feel stuck or restless better?

5. Ask for help.

If you have your own business, the answer may be getting rid of the busy work entirely and hiring someone to do the small stuff that doesn’t fulfill you.

If your work load seems to be the culprit, then its time to cut down the number of daily tasks that you complete. If you get burnt out, you will no longer be an asset to moving your business forward. So, its better to slow down now than have to come to a crashing halt later.

And if you don‘t know the answer to your problem, it is time to phone a friend. Seek advice from like-minded business professionals if you really don’t know how to fix the problem. You can use the comments below to troubleshoot as well. I’ll be reading through each and everyone and if I have a suggestion for you, I’ll be sure to respond asap.

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8 comments | Click here to reply

How to Squash the Restless Feelings You Have with Work: via @papernstitch

(@EtsyNY) (@EtsyNY)

Great tips! I am a list maker, lover of the post-it note, write it down to remember it type of lady.
I run 3 part time businesses from home, so when I find myself getting stuck and can’t power through, I walk away and make a new plan. Which goes with your # 4 point.
So what if I had already made my plan of action for the day? If it’s not working, I change it up.

Linda Kinsman

Great idea! I always make lists for what to do whether it’s a want or a need, so the idea of a journal sounds wonderfully organized and much better documented. Maybe it will help prevent the rut from coming too!


Are you psychic?! I was feeling just like this for the past couple of days. But how to you get out of the ‘sitting on my butt’ rut to walk over and get the pad and paper to start the list!? Ahhhh, just kidding. Great ideas, I’ll be putting them to work….tomorrow…I promise….


Wow I can definitely relate to this one. I feel like for the past year ( at least) I have been in this burned out, non-productive rut, where I either want nothing to do with work or I do but I just can’t start, and I sidetrack myself and procrasti-clean or find 100 million other non-work related things that I need to do. Not sure what my problem is, I am trying to figure it out and take on a ‘just do it’ attitude which has helped me a little- but not that much. I’m sure it is partly perfectionism and another part fear of failure/fear of success. Before this I was a crazy workaholic, I seem to have an all or nothing approach to things…


Brilliant idea about reverse engineering! Never thought about it that way. Journaling is always a good thing and I never do enough of it. I will try this and see how it parallels my work habits…Thanks for the inspiration Brittni!

Shelly Porter

This was *perfectly* timed. I work for a large corporation as an instructional designer but I keep wanting to move into graphic and web design. Things are moving somewhat slowly in my day job and I’ve been too busy at night to work on my other skills, so I’m bored at work but spinning my wheels, letting my days drift by without accomplishing much in any direction. The five steps will really help me to refocus, do my best at my day job, and make some real plans for my next steps! Thank you!

Emily Twaddell

RT @papernstitch: How to Squash the Restless Feeling you have with Work: Do you ever feel stuck? Like you’re in…

Jacqui (@babyboybakery)
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