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In a Rut? Five Ways to Get Out

As travel professionals, we have a really tough job.  We wear many hats: psychologist, mind reader, advocate, billing clerk, accountant, IT, and more.  We deal with clients from all walks of life with a wide variety of different tastes and peculiarities.  On top of that, our industry requires us to have knowledge that is massive and ever-changing.  At times, it can take everything we’ve got to answer that next phone call, book that next cruise, put on that happy face and be the beacon of light our clients need.

For me, personally, dealing with all of that day in and day out burns me out after awhile.  It’s especially bad when I’m assaulted by customer service issues all over the place.  We’ve all had one of those days: it seems like every phone call or every email carries a message of Something Not Right, and it’s up to us to fix it, somehow.  At some point, I just stop caring about what happens to my clients.  Obviously, this is a dangerous place to be.

I was surprised to find other travel consultants who had similar feelings from time to time.  I expect there are many more.  So, I compiled a list of ways to beat that feeling and get out of that rut (if you’re in it) or better, stay out of it!

  1. Take a small break:  When you’re faced with an issue that just won’t quit, set it aside and do something else for awhile.  This isn’t always possible, but when it is it is a valuable technique.  For those with home offices, getting out of the office and doing some housework, running errands, or some other mindless task can be the small break you need to get back into the game.
  2.  Break it down: If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff you have to do, make a list of everything and break it down into manageable steps.  I have to write articles for TRO often.  I have to write blog posts for my website.  I have to write content for my newsletters.  That’s a lot of writing!  But, by breaking it down into small bits I am able to slowly get them accomplished.
  3.  Break your routine: Humans are creatures of habit, and we love routines.  It’s easy to fall into the Same Old trap, where everything that happens is the same old thing.  Most folks get to work in the morning, take a lunch break, and then do more work in the afternoon.  Try getting a late morning start instead, and working until later in the afternoon or early evening every couple of days.  Or, vary the order in which you do certain tasks.
  4.  Take a nap: Napping isn’t just for toddlers and old people, you know!  Sometimes, being “on alert” so much for so long wears down on you and zaps your energy.  Try taking a power nap.  Once, I was having a really busy week and I just could not stay focused.  I decided to stop when I discovered I had read the same email five times and still didn’t know what it said.  I took a thirty minute nap, and when I awoke, I felt energized and ready to get back to things.  It made my day much more productive.
  5.  Reward yourself:  You might respond well to a treat at the end of your to-do list.  Every now and then, I do this.  When I complete a certain portion of my to-do list, I lock up the office, head to Panera Bread, and treat myself to a tall caramel macchiato.  Knowing that it awaits me but forcing myself to finish the job first is a great motivator to get things done.

Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA, LS is a four-year industry veteran affiliated with Sunnyland Tours & Travel in Springfield, MO.  He holds Lifestyle Specialist designations in Luxury Travel and is known for specializing in cruises, Western European tours, group travel, and culinary-themed travel.  He can be reached at steve@journeysbysteve.com.  Visit his website at http://www.JourneysBySteve.com

  5 thoughts on “In a Rut? Five Ways to Get Out

  1. Chris says:

    There are so many times that I too am stuck
    in a rut. I have found the simplest things can
    help me, such as taking a different route to work in the morning.

  2. Varun says:

    Lets hope so…

  3. Kasey says:

    AGREED ~ To All Five!

  4. Tracee says:

    Great reminders all Steve! I am guilty of often sneaking home at lunch for a power nap. It does really help get through the rest of the day.

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