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How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity

How I Kill Boredom at Work to Regain My Productivity

If you’ve ever found yourself between assignments at work, you’ll know how unbearable it feels to be bored at work. On the one hand, surely completing your tasks should be rewarded with free time. On the other, you can’t be seen slacking off and need to stay productive. Finding assignments for yourself can be a challenge, but with some creativity you can prove that you’re a productive employee and prepare for future assignments at the same time.

Enroll in introductory online courses for new skills

With internet access you have thousands of free online courses at your fingertips.[1] Websites like Khan Academy, Codecademy and Udemy offer you access to a number of skills that make you a more valuable employee.

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Online classes can let you pick up crucial modern skills such as coding, improving your familiarity with programs like Excel, learn how to use all the features in Adobe programs and otherwise educate yourself. Your boss will appreciate seeing you increase your skill capacity, and this can definitely qualify as a productive use of time.

Sort through all your documents on your desk and laptop

If you’ve just finished all the projects you have assigned to you, take some time to sort through all the documents that have built up on your desk and in your inbox.[2] If you’re anything like the average office employee, you probably have a number of papers that have been stored in whatever folder was closest, piled in drawers or stacked on desks.

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By going through these documents and making sure they’re properly filed and stored, you can find any projects that haven’t been wrapped up, make connections between projects or come up with new ideas to work with the information you have. Take this time to clean up your inbox, including double checking which emails you may have forgotten to respond to or potential assignments you can follow up on.

Anticipate what assignments will land on your desk and get better prepared for them

If you’ve wiped out your to-do list for today, start drafting a to-do list for tomorrow. By anticipating projects and assignments that will land on your desk tomorrow, you can do a better job when you need to take care of the work. Contact people ahead of time if you know you’ll need to speak to them – arrange any interviews you’re going to have, ask people to send you documents when they’re ready and set reminders to make sure you don’t forget anything.

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Stand up and walk around the office

Most office workers are sedentary all day, which can lead to a sense of sluggishness and slow down your productivity. If you’re out of things to do, take a chance to go for a walk. It can help kickstart your imagination and work out some pent up energy when you’re pressed for stuff to do. And when you’re done with your walk, you can get back to work with a renewed vigor and increased productivity. Walking decreases tension and boosts your mood, making you less irritable and more satisfied.

Stretch your creative muscles and come up with new ideas

Free time gives you a chance to stress your creative muscles too. Use this free time to identify any common issues you have at work or ways to improve the day to day or large scale operations of your business. Do you receive regular customer complaints about a particular issue you haven’t been able to solve? Is there an outdated aspect of the business you think could be updated to increase efficiency or productivity as well as avoid injuries at work? You should make better use of this free time to come up with ideas to solve problems and draft proposals for your managers. You can show them that you’re engaged in the process, care about the success of the business and are capable of offering creative solutions when given time and resources.

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Browse job listings and search for appealing opportunities

How often do you find yourself bored out of your skull at work? If it’s often, you may want to consider using your free time to browse new job opportunities. Even if you’re not dedicating yourself to leaving your current job, checking out what’s available can remind you of what the job market looks like, show you what expectations other managers have and perhaps make you appreciate your current job more. If you really can’t find ways to keep yourself busy, you may be in the wrong position. Don’t trap yourself in a dead end job out of a sense of obligation – if you think your skills can be better used elsewhere, move on!

Finding ways to occupy time at work can be a challenge – you want to pass the time and you’re objectively productive, but your boss doesn’t want to see you slacking off. By sorting through assignments, picking up new skills and evaluating your position and responsibilities, you can keep yourself busy and help your career in the long run.

Reference

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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