THE BLOG
03/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Reignite the Spark in Your Career

It happens to the best of relationships. The fire is alive and burning in the beginning, and then several months down the road the passion is gone and we find ourselves wondering what turned us on in the first place. Using the same practices for spicing up your love life, you can rekindle the fire for your work and actually start enjoying your job again.

Go Back to the Way Things Were

Remember how it was when you started? Work was fun and you were motivated to look and do your best. Now the project that was once new and exciting has started to gray. Go back to how it was: you had a clean desk, a clear vision, and an optimistic, take-charge attitude. Make a list of what you like doing best and dedicate more time to those items. Set deadlines for finishing any other tasks so they'll be out of the way. Get in the habit of politely rejecting volunteer projects or menial tasks that can be delegated.

Make Time for Each Other

When was the last time you zoned out the rest of the world and really spent some intimate time with your favorite parts of the job? Steal moments of quiet time with the door closed or a set of headphones on so you can really focus. Forget multi-tasking, concentrate on crossing off one item from your To-Do list at a time, and give it your full attention so you can crank out your best work.

Take a Reality Check

At some point we all catch ourselves fantasizing about the cute cop or the mailman in uniform. It's a natural tendency to wonder if we'd be happier in a different situation -- whether it's in work or in romance. What you wouldn't give for a more flexible schedule, better benefits, an office with a no-jerk policy... But the reality is that no one is 100 percent happy with their jobs. So talk with others in your industry at different companies, and you'll probably discover the grass isn't necessarily greener. Take comfort in their anguish (secretly, of course) and be grateful for the positive aspects of your position.

Get Yours

When you're constantly giving and don't pause to think about what you're getting in return, burn out comes on full speed. Take stock of what you're getting out of the hours you're slogging. Are you learning a ton? Are your skills are improving? Have you made a nice network of people you can call upon for advice? If you're still feeling cheated, make sure your boss is aware of how you prefer to be rewarded and acknowledged for your hard work. Do you want recognition in meetings? To be included in higher-level discussions? A bonus? You name it. The worst they can say is 'no,' which every smart person knows just means 'not now.'