Bored at work: woman fleeing a cage

Stephanie Naznitsky shares her top tips to combat boredom at work and make your career satisfying

Boredom is a hard emotion to deal with. Our brains are hardwired to seek stimulation. When we’re not engaged in meaningful activity, they tell us to stop what we’re doing – to take a nap or do something more interesting. If left unchecked, prolonged boredom can have serious consequences, including increased stress levels, turning to bad habits, poor mental health and low productivity.

To channel your boredom and make positive changes, you first must work out what’s wrong. Be honest: Could you be more proactive about improving your situation?

Ask Yourself:

Do you have enough to do?

You may think you wouldn’t want to add to your workload, but employees who are busy feel more valued and purposeful. If you’re underutilized, let your manager know that you have some spare capacity. Not only will the hours pass more quickly, but your boss will be impressed by your motivation.

Is your work too easy?

If you’ve been in your role for a while and can do it with your eyes closed, it can be hard to feel excited. Mitigate your boredom by becoming an overachiever. Look for opportunities to go beyond your job description, whether it’s learning a new skill, straightening out a troubled project or completing tasks before you’re asked. Taking the initiative will cure your boredom and put you in good standing for a promotion.

Is your boredom cyclical?

Is there a particular time of the year that you find difficult, or an annual task that you dread? Many workers struggle in the dark days of winter. Rather than hibernating, set regular challenges for yourself – like completing an online course or reaching a fitness target – that will keep you moving forward.

Dos and Don’ts for Overcoming Boredom

DO refocus your attention

Look for ways to help busy colleagues or take the pressure off your executive. Not only will this make you feel useful, but you’ll improve your workplace relationships as well.

DON’T lose sight of your purpose

Remind yourself why your job is important and how it fits with the company’s mission. Maybe your coworkers wouldn’t get paid without you or a key project would not get done.

DO set time limits

Completing tasks that we don’t want to do typically takes us longer because we procrastinate and get distracted. Setting a deadline gives your brain a sense of urgency and helps you to stay focused.

DON’T scrimp on sleep

Lack of sleep can impact your decision-making and creativity. It also adversely affects your ability to concentrate at work. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night gives you the energy to liven up your day.

DO get active

A daily dose of fresh air and exercise can stop you from feeling sluggish. When you’re having a work lull, get up and move around or escape your workspace for a power walk.

DON’T neglect your resume

Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, keeping your resume up to date helps you to take stock of your progress, highlight gaps in your skillset and reinvigorate your desire for self-improvement.

DO look for a growth industry

Tech companies, health and government agencies, and infrastructure firms are likely to experience a boom after the pandemic, and highly skilled administrators will be in demand.

Your boredom may be temporary or something you just can’t shake, but it’s in your power to make changes and find a way to be more engaged. Whether that’s striving for a promotion, reassessing your aspirations or shifting to a more rewarding field, taking responsibility for your career destiny will leave you more satisfied in the long run.

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Stephanie Naznitsky is executive director of the administrative and customer support practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm, where she manages operations for nearly 300 practice locations worldwide. For ... (Read More)

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