Do you ever just die from boredom at work? I’m writing this blog right now because the other task I was working on was frankly boring me to death. So I thought I’d write a blog about being bored at work! Great solution, right? Well, in my role it works, but if you’re in a different role, it might be more tempting to spend the next two solid hours trolling Facebook, shopping for Christmas gifts, or getting sucked down a Wikipedia black hole. I probably don’t have to tell you that, although tempting, that’s probably not the best way to spend your paid company time. So how do you combat boredom in the workplace?
12 Ways to Keep from Being Bored at Work
Ask for Something to Do: This is a pretty obvious choice, but if you’re literally out of things to do, ask your manager or supervisor if there is anything they need help with or if there’s something that they can think of for you to do. You may be hesitating to do this, because you want to appear self-sufficient or don’t want to bother your boss, or even let them know that you are bored in the first place. Just know that it would probably bother them more to know that you’re playing Solitaire instead of getting something done, so simply ask nicely if you can help out with a task on their plate or if there is anything they have in mind for you to work on.
Check Your To-Do List: Is there something on your to-do list that’s been on there for quite some time? Now’s a great time to work on crossing that off. Even if you just need a break from something else that’s boring, check out your to-do list and find something manageable that would make a good break from the task at hand. Merely switching tasks for a short time can make a menial task more bearable later on.
Go for a Walk: Take a stroll around the office. Go out on your lunch break. Walk outside, down the street, and back. Sometimes just getting away from your workspace can clear your head enough to return to menial work.
De-clutter Your Email: One of the best things you can do while bored at work. Go through your email and find lingering messages that you haven’t responded to or things you haven’t followed up on. Even just cleaning out your spam folder and deleted messages can be a useful way to spend your downtime at work. Also, think about clearing your browsing history on your Internet browser and updating old passwords.
Clean Your Workspace & Get Organized: This is something that is always a great filler when you’re bored at work or have some extra time on your hands. Organize your files, inside and outside of your computer. Get out the duster. Clean the papers off of your desk and digitize any notes or business cards you have lying around. Put your tools away neatly. Streamline your workspace for easy access when you do have important and exciting tasks at hand. If your workspace is completely pristine, is there another space within your office you could dedicate some time toward organizing such as a store room or a resource area?
Let Your Boss Know: We’ve gone over asking your boss for more work, but if you have work to do and it’s simply boring, talk to your boss about it. If your boss is considerate and decent, they should care that you’re not exactly stimulated by the work you’re doing and a plan can be put in place to either shift that responsibility to someone else or find a way to make it more interesting or easier.
Evaluate Your Salary and Benefits: When was the last time you did either of these things? Research what you could be making versus what you are being paid now. Hey, if you’re bored, maybe you should be taking on more work and could be getting paid more, right? Also, check out your benefits. Could your plan use an update? Take time to communicate with your benefits manager.
Search for Jobs: This maybe isn’t the most ethical thing to do, but if you’re bored at work, there may be a good chance you also don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Check out AgCareers.com for bigger and better opportunities.
Evaluate Yourself & Your Career: Do you have a five-year plan? Check on that and see where you’re at in your journey. Write down some goals for yourself that you can follow up on within the next year, the next two years, the next five. Are you starting to feel like you could use a promotion? Research what you think you would like to be doing in your career and determine the best path to get there.
Get Educated: Talk to your boss about reading a business book or something related to advancing your career during work hours (of course this can be done in moderation). Check out some industry news articles or sign up for a webinar that could improve your skill set or your career knowledge. Research continuing education opportunities such as an industry conference or a workshop that you could approach your manager about attending. Take a class online.
Meet With a Coworker: Or offer to help them out with their work. If you’re bored at work, swing by your coworker’s office to see if they’re busy and could meet for a coffee. Or visit your mentor in your workplace to discuss your career development and your goals.
Update Your LinkedIn: Take some extra time on your hands to create a killer LinkedIn profile. Connect with some people you recently met at an industry event. Join some groups that would accelerate your career development. Don’t just stop at LinkedIn; work on updating your Twitter presence to be more professional and streamlined with your career.