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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 August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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