Bored at work? That’s not an uncommon enough phenomenon.
Most people think that boredom is the lack of something to do. That’s a big myth. At its very core, the British Psychological Society states that “boredom stems from a situation where none of the possible things that a person can realistically do appeal to them.”
Hence, you go to work have these tons of tasks that you need to do and yet find that despite the hectic schedule you should have, you are faced with monotony and tedium.
The cause of boredom at work
Your priorities are often torn between working for the organization or yourself. In most cases, priorities are often driven towards satisfying personal goals. It’s human nature.
Companies need a talented and competent workforce. They need people who are the best in their profession so that they can grow and maintain a competitive advantage. Meanwhile, you work hard for money to meet your personal needs and wants.
Thus, your priorities become disengaged with the company’s goals. When that happens, there is a very high tendency that you will start losing focus on what you do. As a result, most of your tasks become a burden. Boredom follows next.
No worries. Here are some helpful tips to get you out of the boredom rut:
1. Doodle, sketch, draw – unleash the creative in you
Did you know that doodling and sketching can actually improve your focus and memory?
These mindless activities used to have a bad rap, but recent studies show that doodlers remember more relevant topics in a class or in a meeting as compared to non-doodlers.
“It’s a thinking tool,” says Sunni Brown, an Austin, Texas, author of a new book, “The Doodle Revolution.” It can affect how we process information and solve problems, she says.
Think about it – you get to pay more attention and retain relevant information and at the same time you let your mind wander and create interesting shapes and forms which might be your inspiration for your next big project.
So the next time that you are feeling bored, go ahead and doodle away.
2. Reinvent and re-tool by attending trainings, webinars, or learning a new skill
In this day and age trends don’t last long. You need to play catch up in order for you to stay competitive.
Learn a new skill during your free time. This will be a great investment for you. For instance, participate in trainings organized by the company. Most companies have leadership trainings, webinars, or even language learning classes for those they will send abroad.
Get into the middle of things and sign-up to one of those. This can be your chance to get that next round of promotion or be the one sent to an overseas project with your newly acquired language skills.
You get to do something new, and can work with other teams in the organization as well.
3. Get involved in corporate activities and network with your colleagues
When things get boring, you lose focus. You become the lazy employee in the office. You can make great use of your time by organizing activities.
For example, you can initiate a project for your company’s corporate social responsibility. You can always work with your manager, as you suggest such social campaign. Tree planting, feeding programs, seminars and tutorial help for college students like teachers from ScholarAdvisor do, are some of the activities that you can help organize.
Your effort will be appreciated by your colleagues and everyone involved in the campaign. It’s one of the best things you can do, which you’ll also be proud of. Besides, this will help raise team spirits and give you the opportunity to get to know your colleagues and network with them.
4. Re-do your workstation and set yourself apart from the rest
Looking at rows and rows of uniform cubicles and workstations is enough to send you into doldrums village. So why not redesign your workstation and make it more comfortable and less boring?
It will help to add a personal flair to your work environment while allowing all of those creative juices to flow.
Check out these creative ways on how you can spruce up your workstation.
5. Help company and colleagues solve a problem and become an asset
View your work as something that you can engage and embrace. The job may pay the bills, but there’s more to work than that. This is where you put your passions and abilities to become relevant. This is where you utilize your strengths and develop your talents. This is where you create value for yourself and become an asset to the company.
Be observant and analyze what company problem needs help in solving. It can be something as simple as cleaning up a work area or help colleagues in their tasks if you have the free time. Same thing like Robert De Niro’s character, a bored senior citizen, did in the movie Intern.
6. Take your break and enjoy it
Sometimes, it is not just about boredom but about burn out as well.
You might have gotten lost in the daily grind of work that you have relegated the basic things in life to the sidelines. Such a simple thing as enjoying your lunch break can help you unwind.
Quit having those working lunches, that just further bugs you down. Dedicate this time for rest and relishing your food. Allow yourself for a change of atmosphere from your workstation and go to the cafeteria or better if there’s a quiet park near you so you can recharge. You might just save your brain the cognitive overload.
7. Lighten up and make it a goal to make someone smile
You reap what you sow. It is the basic law of the universe. But in this case, it’s even going to have a multiplier effect in terms of happiness and life satisfaction.
Treat others with respect by having a positive attitude towards your colleagues (and your job) and make it a point to do a good deed. In a study published in the Journal of Psychology, it was found out that those who performed a random act of kindness had an increase in life satisfaction.
So, go ahead and make it your purpose to do something nice or make somebody smile each day. This may even make a difference in the day of your colleagues and you get to contribute to having a positive environment in the workplace. Happy people are definitely not bored people.
The Takeaway: Know your limits, perform self-discipline checks, and be positive
At the end of the day, you are hired for the job because you have the ability and capability to carry on your job. Every action you make has its own consequences, and the worst can be costly.
For example, engaging in excessive online gaming instead of diligently working on your tasks has dire consequences. While some companies allow their members to access social media, do not abuse the privilege. Instead, use it effectively to network, and market your organization rather than gossiping with colleagues.
Remember that the company is paying for the time you spent playing with an online game when you are supposed to do your job. A worse scenario is when you are supposed to be working on a task that is a prerequisite of a future task. It might get stalled due to negligence.
Bottom line is, while you might have the tendency to get bored at work, there are creative and productive ways you can make things interesting. Reframe your mindset and perspective. Instead of being bored, strive to be a positive influence.
Additional reading: 67 time management tricks to quickly increase your productivity.