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Published on April 15, 2019

Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm

Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm

While we are creatures of habits, our habits can quickly become stale, leaving us feeling stuck or unsatisfied in certain areas of our lives. This is especially true for individuals who have been working in one position for many years.

The truth is that it is natural to feel stuck during points in your life and these moments exist to remind you that you are always growing and evolving, and crave change after a while of doing the same thing day in and day out.

Regardless of whether you feel stuck because you are unsatisfied and are looking for more out of your career path, or because things have simply become repetitive and you need to find more joy and purpose in your current position, here is why you feel the way you do and what you can do about it!

Why You May Feel Stuck in Your Career

You may be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few reasons why you may feel stuck in your job after being on your chosen career path for years or even decades.

Let us go through some of the most common ones and see if you can find one that you can relate to!

1. You’re Undervaluing Your Worth and Your Abilities

No matter which career path you have chosen, you are going to experience competition.

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While teamwork is an important part of employment and you have to be able to cooperate with your coworkers, you are also expected to be great at your job and can only secure a position if you prove that you are one of the best people who has applied for the position.

That being said, once you secure a position, it can be easy to take a look around and determine that it would be hard to move up due to the misconception that others are “better than you”.

The problem with this type of thinking is that it can prevent you from moving forward while others continue to excel. No one is better than you! You have your own set of skills and strengths that give you a competitive advantage in comparison to others.

You can leverage those strengths to get to where you want to be in your career. Undervaluing your worth and abilities and not moving on because of this is one reason why you may feel stuck in your job.

2. You’ve Become Too Comfortable (and Have Lost Sight of What Matters)

If you’re not someone who is experiencing self-doubt that has prevented you from moving forward, you may simply feel stuck because you have become too comfortable where you are.

Learning new skills and being re-trained for a position can be a daunting task, and it can be easier to say, “I’d rather stay in a position where I know what I’m doing.” It doesn’t help if this position provides you with enough money to lead a comfortable lifestyle.

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You may be comfortable but comfort doesn’t equal contentedness. Your comfort may be the main contributing factor to your feeling of being trapped in your job.

If you’ve settled for your job because it provides enough for you, evaluate the reasons behind this choice to settle and seek comfort rather than progress or purpose.[1]

3. Your Work Doesn’t Challenge or Fulfill You

Your career path is generally one that you have some passion for, or one that you enjoy. It is also one that should inspire growth and should keep you engaged and challenged throughout the course of your career.

During the course of your career, you may find yourself at a plateau where your work is no longer challenging or you are no longer finding the value in what it is that you are doing. If this is the case for you, ask yourself, when did this happen? Why don’t you feel the same way you do about your work as you did before? Where did you lose that sense of purpose?

Only by figuring out where things have dropped off will you be able to pick up the pieces and begin to enjoy the qualities that attracted you to your position in the first place.

What You Can Do About It

Being stuck can leave you feeling helpless, but your life is in your hands. If you’re feeling stuck in your career, take control of the wheel with some of the helpful tips listed below!

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1. Determine Your Personal Needs

Feeling stuck is like feeling hungry or tired; it means that there are needs that need to be met that are not being met at the moment.

Sometimes, this results in a complete change of direction in terms of your career path; and other times, it means that you just need to tweak some of the current aspects of your job so that you can continue to love it.

The most important thing you can do right at this moment is to figure out what you need and lack in your career. Is your career providing for you? If so, what parts don’t you like about it and what things do you need to change to fall in love with your job again? If not, what career do you want and what skills will you need to learn to get there?

Once you figure out some of these harder questions, you will be better able to change your course to reach your destination.

2. Make a Plan That Will Help You Get There

Whether you’ve chosen to stick with your current position or go for a completely new one, you can’t just wing it. You need to make a solid plan that will help you to get to where you need to be.

After you’ve made a list of your needs, break down that list into solid actions that need to be carried out, so that you can move forward with your career goals.

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Do you need to learn new skills? If so, where can you learn them and when can you make time to learn them? Do you need to apply for new jobs? If so, what type of job are you looking for and how will you be able to acquire that position? Does your resume need to be padded? Are you prepared financially for the change?[2]

It can be a bit overwhelming to cultivate change in your life but it will be worth it in the end. A solid plan will help you along your journey.

The better you plan, the better the results will be and the fewer roadblocks will be in your way as you move forward in your career.

3. Stick with It!

Change only comes with consistency. Becoming unstuck in a situation where you feel trapped is not something that will happen overnight.

You need to constantly work at it and work with the end goal in mind. This will either be changing your career or putting your current job through a makeover. Use that as your motivation while you are following your plan. And then you are guaranteed to succeed!

The Bottom Line

Our life is full of cycles, which means that you are going to have to refresh every so often.

If it is your career that is starting to feel dull and can use a rebirth, the tips above will help you to break free of your work entrapment and begin anew.

More Resources About Getting Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Nicola Fioravanti via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

Think Your Work Sucks? 7 Ways to Deal with It How to Figure Out What Motivates You at Work 25 Hard Work Quotes to Motivate You to Achieve More How to Do What You Love Successfully How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

If you have so many things to do that you often find yourself struggling to finish projects and tasks and move on to other stuff, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that over 20 percent of the adult population put off or avoid doing certain tasks by allowing themselves to be overtaken by distractions.[1]

So what is procrastination? And what can you do to prevent procrastination?

In this article, I am going to explain to youwhy procrastination is so difficult to beat and how you can stop procrastinating once and for all by following a step-by-step guide. But first, you need to understand how procrastination happens.

What Is Procrastination?

Piers Steel, the author of the book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, defines procrastination in this way:[2]

“Procrastination is to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.”

In other words, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. The end result is that important tasks are put off to a later time.

This comic is one of the typical examples of procrastination:

    Signs of a Procrastinator

    Procrastinators don’t want to complete their works because they tend to feel overwhelmed easily and lack focus when they work.

    If you’re wondering whether you’re a chronic procrastinator, take a look at these signs of a procrastinator and find out: 30 Signs You’re Actually A Procrastinator

    Why Do We Procrastinate?

    The reasons vary from person to person. It could be a matter of emotion, which affects your motivation. It could also be something related to your ability to focus, and the way you deal with your fears.

    Learn about the reasons in these articles:

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes, it is. Procrastination is bad. It drags your progress and make you unable to get anything done. If you procrastinate, you will lose your precious time and blow opportunities.

    Take a look at the consequences of procrastination here: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    The Challenge of Getting Over Procrastination

    Human beings have limited self-control. Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychologist from Florida State University, has been studying self-control and he has found that just like any muscles, human’s self-control is a limited resource that can quickly become exhausted.[3] When self-control is close to being depleted, human tend to choose what’s more pleasurable– the immediate procrastinated tasks instead of the actual works.

    At its core, procrastination is an avoidance strategy. Procrastinators choose to do something else instead of doing what they need to do because it’s much easier to choose pleasure over pain.

    In short, procrastination is so difficult to beat because it is a battle against human’s natural enemy, a human weakness that is in-born.

    The common symptoms of procrastination are lack of vision, lack of time and lack of organisation. Check them out here: 7 Symptoms of Procrastination and How to Fight Them

    How to Stop Procrastinating (Step-By-Step Guide)

    Despite the fact that it’s human nature to seek for immediate rewards and procrastinate, here I have a step-by-step guide for you to follow so as to break the procrastination cycle.

    1. Identify Your Triggers: The 5 Types of Procrastinator

    Identifying the type of procrastination you personally experience is an essential step for you to fix the problem at its root.

    Take a look at this flowchart here to find out what type of procrastinator you are:

      Which type of procrastinator are you? Let’s take a look at the triggers for your procrastination type:

      Perfectionist

      Being perfect is the pleasure perfectionists want. But often this leads to them being too scared to show any imperfections. Because of this, they frequently fail to complete things, as they’re forever seeking the perfect timing or approach. Tasks end up never being completed, because in the eyes of the perfectionist, things are never perfect enough.

      Instead of finishing something, perfectionists get caught up in a never-ending cycle of additions, edits, and deletions.

      Ostrich

      An ostrich prefers to stay in the dreaming stage. That way, they don’t have to work for real, or deal with any negativity or stress.

      Dreaming gives this type of people a false sense of achievement, as in their minds, they envision big, ambitious plans. Unfortunately for them, these plans will most likely stay as dreams, and they’ll never accomplish anything truly worthwhile.

      Self-Saboteur

      A self-saboteur has bought into the line that ‘by doing nothing, bad things won’t happen.’

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      In reality, self-saboteurs have developed a fear of making mistakes or doing anything wrong. Their way to avoid these mishaps, is to do nothing at all. In the end, they may make few mistakes – but they also see few accomplishments.

      Daredevil

      Daredevils are those who believe that deadlines can push them to do better. Instead of having a schedule to complete their work – they prefer to enjoy time doing their own thing before the deadline comes around.

      It’s most likely an unconscious thing, but daredevils evidently believe that starting early will sacrifice their time for pleasure. This is reinforced in their minds and feelings, by the many times they manage to get away with burning the midnight oil. Often they sacrifice the quality of their work because of rushing it.

      Chicken

      Chickens lack the ability to prioritize their work. They do what they feel like they should do, rather than thinking through what they really need to do.

      Prioritizing tasks is a step that takes extra time, so chicken will feel it’s not worth it. Because of this, they usually end up doing a lot of effortless tasks that don’t contribute much to a project. They’re incessantly busy on low-impact tasks, but seem oblivious to urgent, high-impact tasks.

      Learn more about the 5 types of procrastinators here: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

      2. Face Your Triggers and Get Rid of Them

      Whether it’s fear of failure, overwhelming feelings, avoidance or convincing yourself you’re just too busy to get something done, you can improve your ability to be productive by eliminating your procrastination triggers.

      For Perfectionists, Re-Clarify Your Goals

      Much of the time procrastination tendencies form simply because we’ve outgrown our goals. We’re ever-changing and so are our wants in life. Try looking over your goals and ask yourself if they’re still what you want.

      Take time out to regroup and ask yourself what you really want to achieve:

      • What steps do you need to take?
      • Is what you’re currently doing reflecting what you want?
      • What do you need to change?

      Write things down, scribble them out and rewrite.

      For Ostriches, Do the Difficult Tasks First

      Even if you feel you’re not a morning person, the beginning of the day is when your brain is most productive. Use this window of time to get the more difficult stuff done.

      If you leave your difficult tasks to later, you’re much more likely to put it off because you’re tired and lack motivation.

      Finishing lots of simple tasks at the beginning of the day such as reading all the new emails only gives you a false sense of being productive.

      For Self-Saboteurs, Write out a To-Do (And a Not–To-Do) List Each Day

      Writing things down is powerful and psychologically increases your need to get things done.

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      Each day, make a habit of creating a list of the tasks you know you’ll try and avoid. By doing this, it brings these ‘difficult’ tasks to your mind’s attention instead of keeping them locked away somewhere in your avoidance mode.

      Remember, think how satisfying and productive it feels to cross of a completed task.

      For Daredevils, Create a Timeline with Deadlines

      It’s common to have a deadline for a goal which seems like a good idea. But this is basically an open invitation for procrastination.

      If it’s a self-created deadline with no pressure, we tend to justify pushing it back each time it comes into sight and feel we haven’t yet done ‘enough’ to get there.

      Create a bigger timeline then within that, establish deadlines along the way. The beauty of this comes when each deadline completion is dependent on the next. It keeps you on track and keeps you accountable for being in alignment with the overall timeline.

      For Chickens, Break Tasks into Bite-Sized Pieces

      A lot of the time procrastination comes from overwhelming thoughts.

      If something feels too big to tackle and we don’t know where to start, it feels like a struggle. This is also true if our goal is too vague and lacking direction.

      Break down larger tasks into smaller ones and turn them into daily or weekly goals. Smaller steps may seem like the slower approach to achieving a goal, but it often leads you much more quickly to where you want to be due to the powerful momentum you get going.

      3. Form a Ritual

      By forming a ritual, you save yourself time from thinking about what to do next. When you don’t need to think about what to do next, you can go autopilot to actually get what you have to do done because you have no time to think about what other things to do besides completing your important tasks.

      Here’s how to form a ritual and beat procrastination: The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

      4. Take Planned Breaks

      The human brain isn’t designed to work continuously on the same task and this could be a reason for procrastination.

      Make sure you take regular, structured breaks away from your task so that you can come back refreshed and ready to be more productive.

      A break as short as 5 minutes is enough to keep your mind sharp and wards off fatigue. I recommend you to use the Pomodoro Time Tracker. It is a great tool to help you take breaks at set intervals. Simply start the 25-minute timer, and follow the prompts.

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        5.  Reward Yourself

        It’s important to acknowledge and reward yourself for achieving even the small tasks. It creates a sense of motivation and releases those feel-good, productive emotions that spur you on to achieve even more.

        Make your reward proportional to the task you completed so getting a bite-sized task done gets you a cup of your favourite coffee or snack. Then plan a weekend away or fun activity for the bigger stuff.

        Personally I try to make staying focus more fun by using the app Forest. It turns productivity into a game. In the game, you can plant a virtual tree at the beginning of your work time. If you maintain focus for the duration of the timer, you’ll grow a tree to add to your forest. It’s rewarding when you can eventually grow a forest.

          6. Keep Track of Your Time in a Smart Way

          If you want to prevent the bad habit of procrastination from coming back, keep track of the time you spend every day.

          By having a clear idea of where you spend your time, you can always review your productivity and know which areas to improve.

          It’s not easy to keep track of every minute you spend throughout the day so I recommend you to use the app Rescue Time.

          It gets you a categorized breakdown of how you spend your time and helps you to find out how much time you’re really on-task. You can even label activities as productive and non-productive so as to block your biggest distractions.

            The Bottom Line

            Procrastination exists for many reasons and only you know for yourself what these triggers are.

            Understanding what procrastination really is and the source of your avoidance tendencies is important in moving them out of the way and help you start the productivity momentum.

            Make procrastination under your control!

            More Tips About Fighting Procrastination

            Reference

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