It’s also Anti-Boredom Month, created as a media spoof by Alan Caruba’s now defunct Boring Institute. So it feels like the right time to talk about boredom at work.
Ever felt bored at work? Most of us have. Boredom doesn’t mean fatigue, although they can be related. When you’re bored, you either have nothing to do, or you may face tedious and burdensome assignments that you’d like to avoid.
Instead of yawning, complaining and checking your computer clock for the fiftieth time, get back into action with these ideas:
Build up energy. Be sure to eat right and get adequate sleep. During work, get up hourly to stretch and take a brief walk. Go for a walk at lunch time. Try meditating at your desk for a few minutes (don’t forget to set your phone alarm first).
Make your work area inviting.
- Add personal touches like photos and a small lamp to counter that fluorescent glare.
- Change your desktop picture often.
- Add music, using earbuds to avoid annoying your coworkers.
- Play with seasonal decorations. They can be as simple as flowers from your yard and a few shells in summer.
- Add plants to bring in a little of the out-of-doors.
- If the room temperature isn’t right, bring in a small desk fan or portable heater.
- Be sure all modifications fit company/facility guidelines.
On the other hand, if your cubicle is overstuffed with personal items and knickknacks, take time to declutter for a fresh start.
Pep up your meetings. Try something new, like a walking meeting, or using a room with no chairs. This will foster a quicker meeting and you’ll stick to the agenda. Always start promptly – don’t wait for latecomers – and end on time. Be sure that every participant has a chance to contribute.
Tackle a tedious task. Have a list of “nice to do” jobs that you never seem to get to? Replace boredom with productivity. Take care of filing accumulated material, and purge existing files. Create or update a procedures manual. Scrutinize your organization’s internal websites and Intranet for any overlooked issues or revisions. Review new hire orientation material for any needed updates.
Enhance Responsibilities and Skills
Assess your job responsibilities and skill set and compare them to a new project’s requirements. Come up with a volunteer “stretch assignment” to further the project and, at the same time, give you an interesting and challenging task. Or trade assignments with a coworker to benefit both.
Volunteer assignments can also be cross-functional. Partner with a resource in Finance or Legal to explore those aspects of the project.
Break the boredom mold by choosing a new skill to learn. Investigate in-house and external training opportunities. Use break time to participate in podcasts. Learn new software, or work to improve your writing.
Still bored at times? Relax; it’s impossible to completely eliminate it. A little boredom is necessary to foster daydreaming and creativity. You’ll come up with all sorts of new ideas, ensuring you won’t be bored for very long.