and be productive when you don’t feel like it
We all get bored at work, we have to admit it. Staying in an office nine hours a day, we’re bound to get boredom struck. The reasons behind it can be various; we’re not challenged enough, work is mundane, we don’t take enough breaks or we just lose concentration easily. It’s normal to happen once in a while, but if this ennui is becoming a never-ending state during your workday, then it might be a sign that you need to make some serious changes to your professional life. Here are 15 tips to try out and you’ll overcome boredom and get back to being productive in no time.
1. Take a break
Instead of pressuring yourself to continue working even though you are not feeling productive, you should take a break. Whether it is for 5 minutes or 30, you need frequent breaks to relax your mind. By putting your mind on something else, either talking to coworkers, taking a walk around the office or listening to some music, anything can help rewire the brain and give you a fresh perspective.
Staying in one position while doing repetitive movements is the typical thing us in desk jobs do. And it’s a lot of us in the same state, apparently. An analysisof job industry trends revealed that 8 in 10 American workers are desk potatoes. But we need to take the habits we build at our desk seriously. Especially while sitting, these habits can contribute to discomfort and health issues, including neck and shoulder pain, obesity, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, lower back pain, etc.
To fight this, we need to stretch our muscles once in a while. Getting a stress ball to squeeze is also a good way to improve productivity. As Healthlinereports, ‘a review of stretching programs in workplaces found that stretching improved range of motion, posture, and provided stress relief.’ Moreover, if we make workplace stretching a habit we can reduce pain by up to 72%.
3. Don’t complain
Beyond the time we waste,complaining creates many dysfunctional side effects. It replaces productive engagement and makes the complainer appear negative. Moreover, it reinforces and strengthens dissatisfaction; we become so used to complaining about our job that we become disinterested in every task and find them boring.
4. Talk to your co-workers
If you work with a lot of other people, take the opportunity to interact with them exchanging ideas either work-related or not. Just because you’re co-workers, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn't try and establish better relationships. You do spend most of your day with them, after all. Collaborating on group projects leaves no time for boredom.
5. Ask your boss for more challenging tasks
If the reason you’re bored is that you’re sick of doing the same things over and over, and don’t think your full potential is being used, the solution is simple; talk to your boss about it. Tell them that you’d like to take more responsibilities and work on more challenging tasks. I’m sure they’ll welcome an employee asking for more work.
6. Stop commuting long distances
For many people, the boredom doesn’t start when they go at the office but even on the way to work on their 1-hour daily commute. Getting a job that is far from your apartment is tough. Not only do you have to wake up extra early to go to work, but you’ll waste hours of your day on a car, bus, or train. These lost hours will have a detrimental impact on your physical and emotional health, not to mention your productivity and your relationships. It’s exhausting! So, of course, you’re going to have trouble focusing and will eventually get bored.
7. Suggest improvements
If you notice it’s not your fault you’re having boredom problems, rather the thing that is boring you is actually not fun for other co-workers either, then it’s time to report to your boss about it and suggest a change. Maybe it's the long, unnecessary, daily meetings are what’s triggering it, or perhaps the endless paperwork you wish you didn’t get to do. If you're fed up with them, then go approach your boss with suggestions for improvement.
8. Go out for lunch
Ordering in is useful sometimes. Yes, sometimes, not daily. It’s nice to be able to spend some time out of the office. Nine hours in a single place can get you suffocated, let alone bored. Spending your lunch hour eating lunch at your desk without moving at all makes you de-energized and sleepy. The ability to step away for a lunch break reduces fatigue, and getting lunch with your colleagues also increases team performance.
9. Update your LinkedIn profile
When you don’t feel like working at all, at least do something productive like updating your LinkedIn profile or cleaning your desktop. Put a recent profile picture, write a strong headline, and update your experience. You might feel like you finished a task, and you’re more motivated to move on to your actual ones. At least you’re doing something…
10. Make Your Office Space More Fun
Workspaces are usually bland and boring. It’s up to each one of us to personalize them to make them more joyful and vivid. Making your desk feel like home can make a big difference! And it’s not like you have to fill it with stuff; you can start with bringing a framed picture, your own stationery, or even cute decorations.
11. Keep snacks in your desk drawer
I, myself, get all kinds of feelings when I’m hungry, and boredom is one of them. It helps to always have a desk full of snacks to eat for extra energy. Try to have healthy snacks like power bars, dark chocolate or dried fruit. Keep away from crunchy snacks so that you don’t annoy your neighbouring colleagues.
12. Listen to music
Listening to music makes anything slightly more fun. If dealing with a task that doesn’t need your full concentration, go ahead and play a tune. However, make sure your music choices are sensible. ‘Lyricscould distract you (especially if you know the words), fast-paced songs could make you frantic and slow, sad anthems could make you feel emotional, sluggish and even more bored!’
13. Keep work and home life separate
Try to be active outside of work so that you come in a good mood at work. If you had a nice weekend with your loved ones, you’ll feel energized on Monday and seize the day. Don’t be sluggish and watch Netflix your whole evening, because when you go to work the next morning it won’t feel like you had a rest at all. Don’t waste your precious work-free time. And that applies to not working at home, too. As if nine hours of the day weren’t enough to devote to work… A work-life balance is necessary.
14. Watch some career-inspiring TED Talks
If you’re in the need of a little pep talk to encourage you to work, there are countless free resources dedicated to improving skillsets and help with productivity. Listen to a podcast within your industry, attend a webinar, or listen to a TED Talk. You can always find available material that can inspire you to do great things. And that great thing for you right now is to cure boredom.
If you’ve tried everything and no longer feel challenged by your job, maybe it’s time to face the music and resign. No job lasts forever, after all. Maybe you already know this is just not the career of your dreams; well this is your queue to make the jump.
Dafina Zymeri is passionate about reading, writing, and self-development. She aims to make a difference with her writing and does it by intertwining her passions into helping mothers return to the workforce. She writes for mother-works.com, which is a job portal designed to bring together stay at home moms and recruiters