How To Avoid Being Checked Out At Work

So you’re counting down until the next long weekend, wincing about the most simplest of tasks, getting more distracted by social media, and maybe even starting to look at new roles.... all red flags that you’re checked out. Question is, how do you get back in the zone?

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Remember the reasons you joined in the first place.

Look back to your original goals - did you meet those? If so, it’s time to make some new ones to get you excited again. Start small as to not overwhelm yourself. For example, I exceeded my goals in 2018 but 2019 is a new year with a blank slate. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of having to start over and had low energy coming into the new year knowing that there’s high expectations for the year ahead. To combat this, I make daily goals in addition to a monthly plan.

If you haven’t accomplished your initial goals, ask yourself “why not?” Perhaps it’s time to refresh them given latest circumstances or reconfigure the game plan on how to achieve them. Sometimes, just talking about your goals out loud to a trusted colleague can help get you re-energized as you bounce ideas off one another. Once these goals are defined, maintain an accountability system for yourself so that you can track them confidently. 

 

Get social with co-workers.

When you’re checked out, you’re probably saying no more often to team coffees/lunches/happy hours - this will only perpetuate the feelings of boredom and meaninglessness. Not only do those moments benefit you by giving you a break away from the confines of the desk, but the social interaction helps to get thoughts off your chest. Often times, my colleagues and I use this time to vent (and sometimes learn we are feeling the same way) which then can lead to problem solving. For example, while I don’t drink coffee, I make it a point to go for the 10 minute coffee break with my peers several times a month. In these discussions is where I get to bond with my teammates informally and have the benefit of both helping them and them helping me.

 

Find your voice in meetings/conference calls. 

Being checked out means you’re not engaged. This can be most evident in team meetings/conference calls when you don’t participate. Challenge yourself by sharing relevant thoughts out loud, even when it’s not directly asked of you. You could be commended with a good idea/comment or for asking a thoughtful question. This could open the door to more engagement down the road if you feel that people value your opinions.