After having the same job for a while, we can often have conflicting feelings. It’s great to know the ins and outs of our role, but sometimes we may crave change. As we all know, accepting a promotion, starting a new role, or moving on to a new company are great ways to challenge ourselves professionally. But what if it’s not a good time to change jobs? Or what if you really like your current role, but would like to stretch yourself a little more? Or maybe your dream job just isn’t available…yet?

No problem! Here are four ways you can refresh and perk up your current job while also preparing yourself for future opportunities.

  1. Find new ways to get things done

After we’ve been a role for a significant amount of time, it can be easy to fall into the habit of doing things exactly the same way we’ve always done them. Why not take some time to “hack” your own job by manipulating different parts of your role, processes, and/or tasks? Think about some new, and perhaps, more efficient, innovative, or effective ways to get things done. Changing how you do your work can spark different results, which might open some new doors into other solutions you never thought were possible.

Don’t know where to start hacking your gig? Try observing your colleagues and team members and learn how they do their work. This might be similar in context to you, but could offer new insights into productivity. Or, you could do some research and read up on industry articles on new ways of doing things within your discipline. Or, you could take it one step further and look outside of your industry to find different, but parallel, processes where you could apply similar methodology.

  1. Take on new challenges

Another great way to find new energy in your role is to tackle some areas that may not be working. Are there are any tough problems or challenges you’ve been putting off working on, simply because they seemed big or daunting? We get it, it’s easy to keep delaying work on those tough pieces. But what if you just went ahead and faced that challenge head on? You might surprise yourself at what you can get accomplished, and the new energy you get from solving those issues could help motivate you to push yourself even further. We personally love making lists to compare and prioritize these challenges from biggest to smallest. From there, we detail 2-3 smaller goals/milestones to hit per challenge to help make each one more bite-sized. And finally, we advise blocking out dedicated time on your calendar to each milestone to help you stick to the plan.

Another option may be asking your manager for additional work or a stretch assignment. Or, are there any special project teams you might be able to get involved in? Going a little outside of your comfort zone might just be the “kick” you need to kick-start your energy & passion. And it may help you discover a passion for a new focus area as well!

  1. Learn a new skill

It’s always a great time to add a new tool to your toolkit. First, choose one thing you really think would benefit or impact your current work the most – whether that be a technical skill to give an edge to your current project, interpersonal skill to better collaborate with your peers and partners, or organizational skill to work more efficiently. This will not only help you step up your game, but also could potentially set you up for that next gig you hope to land. Win-win! Taking an online course offered at or via Microsoft Virtual Academy (for free!) can be great way to learn something new at your own pace and at your convenience. Plus it’s a great way to enhance your resume!

  1. Reach out to business partners

You know who your favorite go-to person is when you need to get things done. But what about the person you haven’t had the opportunity to collaborate with as much as you’d like? Or a team member on a cross-functional team that you’ve been in meetings with but don’t quite understand what she does? Reaching out and actively engaging with folks you don’t normally work with can open new perspectives and give you a new vantage point to your organization, process, or solution. This new synapse might be the key to finding more information and resources you need to give you that extra edge you need turn up the volume in your current role. So don’t be shy, why not ask that person out on a coffee or skype date? And building your network is always a great idea. You never know when you will be ready to move on to your next new role!

Got any other helpful tips? Share your thoughts and ideas by tweeting at us at @maasawalker and @MicrosoftJobs, and we will retweet our favorites!