Top 10 Ways to Cure Your Boredom at Work
Ever have days where you feel like you're just slogging through useless, boring work and time seems to stand still? We do too. Here are ten ways to jump-start your job and make your days a little more interesting.
10. Start Your Day Off Right with a Better Commute
For many of us, the boredom doesn't even start at work—it starts once we hit the road to get to work. Whether you're stuck in traffic or you just live far away, that drive or ride can be a bear. Luckily, we've got a guide that can help you outsmart the traffic and keep your mind busy in the car (we recommend podcasts, and we have one you can start with). If all else fails, you can try to convince your boss to let you work from home sometimes, too—that can cut down on that boring, time-wasting commute. Photo by kusuriuri (Shutterstock), Fontana (Shutterstock), Lilkar (Shutterstock), and Nelli Shuyskaya (Shutterstock).
9. Make Your Cubicle More Productive (and Less Boring)
Believe it or not, your surroundings can make a big difference in your mood—and a tiny, boring, grey cubicle is not exactly the most exciting work environment. Lighting can make a big difference, so a lamp or two can help out, as can better furniture—particularly furniture that is more ergonomic. Heck, even a few plants and other decorations can make you feel more comfortable. Check out our guide to improving your in-office workspace for more details. Photo remixed from originals by maraga (Shutterstock) and OCAL.
8. Fight Exhaustion and Get Back to Work
Maybe the problem isn't your work. Maybe you're just exhausted and you don't have the energy to do your work, so your boredom and your energy become a vicious cycle. Eating and sleeping right can help a lot, but performing a few quick exercises can help get your blood moving and wake you up, too. And, if your boss will let you, a standing desk can help energize you as well (not to mention a short power nap). Check out this guide for more tips on surviving the workday when you're exhausted. Photos by Korki.
7. Make Your Meetings Worthwhile
Meetings are easily one of the most boring parts of your workday. Half the time they're just wasting time you could be spending on real work. We've talked about how to make it through a boring meeting before, but the best thing you can do is attack the problem at its source and change how meetings are run. Talk to your manager and see if you can give your meetings some constraints to keep them moving, and make sure they have a very specific agenda. Heck, even going outside and taking a walking meeting can help keep everyone engaged. Photo by Andrew Magill.
6. Become an Overachiever and Get Some Bonus Points
If your work is dull and easy, it can't hurt to take some extra notes during that meeting, or taking some extra initiative on that new project. Not only will it keep you engaged, it'll get the attention of your boss and help you score some nice points. While you're at it, you might want to do a self-review and identify your own professional pain points—that'll give you something to do.
5. Get Some New Responsibilities
If becoming an unofficial overachiever isn't enough, you can actually talk to your boss and see if you can negotiate a change in your job description. That way, you can work on things that are more interesting to you. Alternatively, see if you can institute some kind of "20% time," or work on other projects that'll be beneficial to the company. Heck, you could even swap a few tasks with your coworkers to keep things interesting.
4. Learn a New Skill During Work
If you do get some new responsibilities, you can learn a lot of new things from that, but even if you're stuck to your boring grunt work, you can use that time to learn a new skill that's interesting to you. Perhaps you can listen to educational podcasts while you work, learn a new language by changing the language on your favorite web sites, or use your breaks to reinvigorate you with a personal project. Some personal projects may even integrate with your work—just make sure you know your company's policies about pursuing personal projects on work time. Have a question or suggestion for Ask Lifehacker? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Take More Web Browsing Breaks (Seriously)
Chances are, when you're bored, you get tempted to browse the web and waste time. As long as you don't go overboard, it's okay to give into that urge! In fact, some studies have shown that the occasional web surfing break actually increases productivity. After all, it's really hard to stay focused for 8 hours straight. Use your breaks wisely, but don't feel too guilty about heading off to Facebook, Twitter, or your favorite tech- and productivity-oriented weblog during your workday. Photo remixed from lululemon athletica.
2. Embrace Your Boredom: It Fosters Creativity
If your job requires any kind of brainstorming or creative work, even once in awhile, use your boring spells to foster creativity during that time. Letting your mind wander can help boost creative ideas, so the next time you're feeling bored, give in to the urge (as long as nothing important is happening). In the end, boredom, distraction, and procrastination are vital to healthy living, so you don't want to fight against them 24/7. Title image remixed from Subbotina Anna (Shutterstock).
Sometimes, boredom is something we just have to deal with. Other times, it means you're at a soul crushing job and it's time to leave. If you aren't sure whether it's time to quit your job, watch for these signs and take the advice of an employer: let your boss know and part on good terms. Then, you can get back out there and find a career you actually like, and kick that boredom to the curb permanently. Photo by Daniel Schweinert (Shutterstock).