I was recently invited to talk on Share Radio’s “Shop Floor” programme – I'd love to add the link here but they've since taken it down... :-(
Anyway, the topic was “boredom in the workplace;” specifically referring to some of the “most boring jobs in the world” and whether there is anything that can (or should) be done to improve them.
So as a follow up, I wrote “12 Ways to Stop Your Employees Getting Too Bored at Work” revealing some helpful tips for managers.
But is it solely their responsibility? Is there anything YOU can do to make your own working life a little more interesting, exciting and even fun?
How can we make the most out of a bad, boring job?
Let’s take a look…
1. Decorate your desk space.
You’d be surprised how much environment can affect your mood.
Bright colours like blue, green, yellow and red will boost your focus, productivity and mood; keeping your energy a little bit higher when you’re starting to feel that slump.
So guess what greys and browns will do?
Photographs of loved ones will always put a smile on your face – but you can add all sorts of other things too, from funny ornaments and colourful stationery to comedy calendars and plants.
Giving yourself other things to look at will subconsciously keep your brain engaged (aka, not bored).
Obviously, if you’re hot desking at work, then this one won’t really be suitable but the constant changes in environment should be enough to jar the senses and keep you on your toes anyway.
Click here for more great ideas on things you could buy to brighten up your office (and life).
2. Tell your boss.
If you’re bored, you’re probably not feeling challenged enough at work – so tell your boss that!
They might have some great ideas of ways to give you a little bit more responsibility, perhaps even in areas you aren’t currently involved in.
They’d much prefer to hear from you about your ambitions and true potential than be lumbered with a bored and totally underestimated staff member.
The more responsibility you have, the more challenged you’ll feel and the less risk there’ll be of boredom!
But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
3. Set yourself targets (with rewards).
Chances are, you’ll already have a set of ‘big-picture’ targets that you have to reach at work… but setting yourself smaller, personal goals will help you to keep focus and stay motivated.
On completion of each little target give yourself a little treat to make it all worthwhile.
Your reward doesn’t have to be a sweet treat… it could be something simple like a 5 minute break to check your phone, a wander across the office to stretch your legs or (goodness forbid) a brief check of your Facebook.
You’ll subconsciously work harder as you look forward to your little treats and feel proud when you complete tasks!
4. Take a break.
I know, sometimes it’s tempting to just lose yourself in the work, get your head down and plough through the boredom (and unhappiness) – but that’s just not good for you!
Taking a short break (it could be one of your rewards for completing a task) will stop you from getting bored, help you to retain information and enable you to assess goals more efficiently.
And the best ideas tend to crop up when you least expect them anyway!
Refusing to take a moment for yourself won’t make your boss (or co-workers) love you more…
What do you think they would prefer? Good work or sloppy work? A burnt-out employee who brings down the team or a happy one?
5. Mix it up.
If you find yourself getting things done really quickly and ending up with a lot of free time – do something worthwhile with it.
Are there any projects you’ve been dying to start? Have you thought of a great way to make things more efficient at your company? Can you use your skills to do something else to help?
The more strings you have to your bow, the more indispensable you become and the more likely you are to get a pay rise or promotion (and to be a lot less bored)!
As long as these strings actually benefit the business, of course…
6. Just have some fun.
Life’s too short to hate your job. Have some fun!
That means making friends with your colleagues, getting involved in conversation, games and jokes and attempting to make your own, individual work a little more fun…
- Change the font (to something silly) in your document (make sure you change it back after).
- Feel free to doodle, when you’re watching that training video.
- Pick a catchy song and attempt to (surreptitiously) get it stuck in your co-workers’ heads.
Whatever it is, as long as it’s not really affecting your productivity, it’s definitely more beneficial than allowing yourself to get dead bored and eventually give up altogether.
Click here to find out more ways to have fun (whilst procrastinating) in the office!
7. Listen to music.
OK, so you’ve got a mind-numbingly boring task to do…
Could you listen to some music to make it slightly more fun? Or perhaps a podcast? Or a video? (If you don’t need to concentrate, that is.)
Warning: make sure your music choices are sensible. Lyrics could 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!
Time to quit..?
If you’ve tried all of the above and really can’t shake that fed-up, bored feeling, it might be time to consider moving on.
Recruiter Pro Tip Now, I know that’s easier said than done and handing in your notice is a big deal (always wait until you’ve found another job, first!) but consider what’s important. If you’re really, truly bored at work, are you really, truly happy? Click here for some more guidance on how to know it’s time to give up on your job.
Or for general careers advice, click here to subscribe to our weekly blog posts.
Remember; life is too short to hate (or even dislike) your job.
Want more advice?
Check out these articles to find out how to escape boredom like a pro(crastinator)!
- 20 Fun Things to Do Online When You’re Bored at Work
- 27 Pointless Projects To Do When You’re Bored At Work
- 50 ways to liven up your working day at the office