It’s Monday again… The annoying alarm breaks the piece of silence you are enjoying. You keep pressing snooze and don’t want to leave your bed. As the hour hand points to 8, every muscle in your body feels sore.
You arrive in your office and turn on the computer at your seat. Everything seems so normal, except your mind wanders… you’re feeling bored at work…
If this sounds familiar to you, chances are you feel bored at work, and you are probably here to look for ways to get rid of this dreadful situation.
We’re all bored at work at some point. Some of us are even bored most of the time; some jobs are just plain boring. But just because the work you do isn’t as exciting as House of Cards doesn’t mean you have to actually let it make YOU boring, too.
In this article, I’ll look into why you may feel bored at work, the little-known consequences of it, and things to do when bored at work.
Table of Contents
- The Real Reason Why You're Bored at Work
- The Little-Known Consequences of Ignoring Your Boredom
- 16 Things to Do When You're Bored at Work
- 1. Know what you want from your job
- 2. Pump up the volume
- 3. Do a Bit of Work
- 4. Combine repetitive tasks to get them out of the way
- 5. Cut Down Distractions
- 6. Give yourself regular rewards
- 7. Try to do more than you are expected to
- 8. Learn new skills when you are free
- 9. Get some exercise
- 10. Go on lunch dates
- 11. Take breaks to fight exhaustion
- 12. Eliminate Concerns
- 13. Tell your boss or supervisor about your working situation
- 14. Try telecommuting
- 15. Quit your job if it’s holding you back
- 16. Give Some Attention to Your Mental Health
- Final Thoughts
The Real Reason Why You’re Bored at Work
Boredom reveals the potential problems you have at work. If you’re always wondering “why am I bored with my job?” this may be because of the following:
You have too much idle time.
It’s important to take breaks at work. But when you are too free, it is a problem.
When you have too much idle time, your mind wanders off to somewhere else:
Thinking about where to eat, your relationship problems, or what your neighbor said this morning.
Although your mind is occupied, these thoughts are generated because you are bored.
Your interest and your work don’t match.
It’s very common that our work doesn’t match our interest, but we might not realize it sometimes. It’s good for you to think about why you applied for this job and why you started your job at the first place:
Because the salary was attractive? Or you had no other options but this job interview? Or you just wanted a new environment?
If these are your major concerns, you need to reconsider your interests in this job.
You’re not using your capabilities fully.
Everyone has their strengths and talents. When your capabilities are not fully utilized at your job, you may find the assigned tasks not challenging at all.
Worse still, you may start to question your value in your company and gradually lose motivation at work.
You have little opportunity for growth and learning.
Imagine you do the same tasks for two weeks, or two months, or two years, over and over. How would you feel? I’m sure you’ll be bored to death.
If your company doesn’t provide enough opportunities to grow and learn, and you can’t see any improvement, you will start to get disappointed and probably feel bored at your job.
You feel exhausted and tired.
You have so many goals to achieve in life or things to manage beyond work. It’s easy to shift your attention and energy away from your work because you are too occupied with other parts of your life.
When you pay less effort at work, you become less motivated and interested you are in your job, which in turn bores you even more.
You have no clear goal.
People who have stayed in a position for a long time easily feel lost.
You start to get confused with what you want to obtain from the job. You get used to your repeating daily routine and gradually lose your passion and interests in your job.
The Little-Known Consequences of Ignoring Your Boredom
You might think it’s okay to deal with your boredom later, but the longer you put this problem on hold, the more consequences you will face.
Don’t ignore your boredom, it might take a toll on you!
A number of readers of Stress Relief Workshop commented:
- Boring jobs can be really stressful.
- Feeling like your skills are going to waste in your current job can be stressful.
Developing bad habits
Experts reckon people relieve their boredom by drinking alcohol, indulging in unhealthy food, or carrying out risky actions at work.
When you leave your problem unsolved, you might find stimulation elsewhere to override your boredom.
Poor mental health
A study shows an upsetting fact young adults or fresh graduates may develop depressions or black moods, because they:
“find themselves having to do work that doesn’t stretch them and keep them fulfilled.”
Like I mentioned before, when you are bored and uninterested in what you do, your productivity drops drastically.
16 Things to Do When You’re Bored at Work
Boredom won’t go away unless you take action.
Wondering what to do when bored at work? Fortunately, we’ve gathered some ideas for you.
1. Know what you want from your job
This is important — when you know your goal, it can motivate you to work!
It’s fine to take some time to discover your goal and passion. But please remember to jot it down on a note and stick it on your desk as a reminder.
You may also consider some career advice if you need help.
2. Pump up the volume
Wondering what to do when you are bored at work? You might try infusing the office with some music!
Music can infuse fun and can serve as a great tension breaker so it’s definitely worth trying.
3. Do a Bit of Work
This may sound obvious, but try to do some work when you’re bored at work! Work is probably the hardest thing to do when you’re bored, but it’s still possible to muscle through the lethargy and get things done.
If you’re unmotivated, remind yourself that your time best spent is doing the work that pays your income. A cash incentive goes a long way towards productivity.
If you’re really having a hard time doing any work, spend your free time making a to-do list of everything you want to get done once you find some motivation. This may also help you set goals for the week.
4. Combine repetitive tasks to get them out of the way
Think of what things to do when bored? Before you find out the answer, you must know that certain tasks are difficult to make interesting, no matter how hard you try.
Get these yawn-inducing chores out of the way ASAP by combining them into one quick, focused batch. This is one surefire way to learn how to make your job interesting.
For example, if you hate listening to meeting recordings, and dislike tidying your desk, do them both at the same time.
You’ll half the time you spend bored out of your mind, and can move onto more interesting tasks as soon as you’re done. When you try this tip, you will find out why it’s one of the most productive things to do when bored at work.
5. Cut Down Distractions
Is there anything in particular that’s distracting you? If you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, zone in on what specifically is slowing down your productivity.
Social media is a popular detractor, for example. Sign out of your social networks so you can focus on things that actually matter.
Other distractions may include the small task your boss gave you that you haven’t done or the pile of emails waiting for your attention. Even if you only eliminate one distraction, it’ll be a step in the right direction.
6. Give yourself regular rewards
Rewards can be anything that makes you feel good
Make sure you reward yourself for achievements, even if they feel small.
This could include:
- Eating your favorite snack.
- Taking a walk in a natural area.
- Spending a few minutes on a fun online game.
- Buying yourself a small treat.
- Visiting a new place.
- Spending time on a favorite hobby.
Your brain will come to associate work with fun rewards, and you’ll soon feel less bored and more motivated.
7. Try to do more than you are expected to
To use your ability and time fully, try to do more than what your boss requires. After you finish the repetitive or unchallenging tasks, spend some time to take on tasks that are beyond your responsibilities.
As time goes by, your boss will notice and recognize your work ethic. You may get interesting tasks in the future to keep you going!
8. Learn new skills when you are free
This is one of the best things to do while bored at work.
If you have too much downtime, expand your knowledge and learn something new. A well-equipped person is always the gem in a boss’ eyes.
For example, if you work in the design team but are not familiar with the use of design software, it’s a good chance for you to have some self-learning time.
9. Get some exercise
If you don’t have a lot of energy to do something mental, hopefully you at least have the energy to partake in a physical activity.
If you are bored at work, figuring out what to do with your time is integral.
Some productive things to do at work, or at least during your breaks, walking and stretching.
Any kind of exercise is likely to free you from boredom and improve your physical health. If these sound too taxing, try a slow yoga routine or some light stretching.
Whatever you do, just try to stay active to get your brain back on track!
10. Go on lunch dates
Feeling bored at work? There is a networking site online called “Let’s Lunch?” that can match you up with someone in your area for lunch during the workweek.
You can connect your social profile, provide your availability and set a meeting place. The site will match you up with someone just like you. It’s a great way to grow your network without spending much time and effort.
If not, consider calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, ask your mom or dad to grab a coffee, or see if your partner wants to go for a short walk on your lunch break.
Even if it’s just a few minutes, the people you care about will appreciate the gesture, and you’ll feel better after spending time with someone you love.
11. Take breaks to fight exhaustion
Taking rest is a preparatory step for a longer journey ahead. Don’t ever hesitate to take a break. You need it!
It’s crucial for you if you want to achieve more. Just get back to work when you feel ready. Don’t underestimate the power of a short break!
12. Eliminate Concerns
Are you worried about something? Is that concern getting in the way of your productivity?
Deal with the problems that are keeping you from spending your time as well as you should by tapping into time management skills. You can double-check your schedule and send follow-up emails to create more time for things you care about.
By removing all of your stressors, you’ll be a lot more prolific.
If you’re not sure what you’re concerned about, try to use some down time to do a few minutes of meditation at your desk. It’ll create the space in your mind to help you figure out what’s worrying you.
13. Tell your boss or supervisor about your working situation
It’s always good for you to talk to your boss or supervisor if they welcome feedback. They should be the right people to talk to as they can understand and help you.
You can request for more challenging tasks or work that fit your interests. This can not only get you out of boredom, your boss will also appreciate your willingness to improve and learn.
14. Try telecommuting
Bored in office settings? You’ll be surprised what a difference spending one day a week in your pajamas can make.
More and more employers are realizing how beneficial it can be to let employees work remotely for a few days out of the month.
The occasional mixing up of your routine—and avoiding your commute—can be a real treat. That day of work will almost feel like a vacation and will become something to look forward to.
15. Quit your job if it’s holding you back
Experiencing constant boredom at work is not normal. If you still find your work boring after trying every single method above, you should consider quitting your current job.
Opportunities are everywhere, there may be a better job waiting for you.
Make a change in your life and treat yourself better!
16. Give Some Attention to Your Mental Health
Is there a personal issue that’s making it hard for you to be interested in anything? If so, address it. You’ll find productivity a whole lot easier.
Boredom is often, in reality, something akin to anxiety or depression. Try doing mental exercises that help you focus on positive experiences and mindfulness to alleviate you of what you’re perceiving as boredom.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can calm and relax you. Other ways to tackle your mental and emotional health include meditation, journaling, talking with friends, or exercising. Pick the one that works for you and get started.
When you feel bored at work, it’s actually a warning sign you shouldn’t overlook. It could mean you’re missing a purpose in life.
If you let this boredom continue, you’re putting your mental health and happiness at stake.
Stop doing the same thing every day and let yourself feel bored. Now that you know what to do when bored at work, you can start making a change to make yourself feel enthusiastic again about your career and your life.
Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com