9 fun ways to tackle the job boredom

Learn a new language, watch funny videos or consider going above and beyond at your job

Rachel Loock, Washington Post
07:00 February 19, 2017

Feeling bored or stagnant in your current job? Whether you love your job, or are thinking about searching for something new, it is important to do something useful with your time. whether that is making yourself laugh by exploring the best that the internet has to offer or by going deeper and reflecting upon not only your successes of the previous year, but also to look to the future with an eye toward enhancing your job satisfaction and, potentially, your career.

Short term boredom solutions:

1. Use your commute

For many of us, the boredom doesn't only start when we get to the office - it actually start with our morning commute. If you live far away from your office, or get stuck in traffic on the daily, then start using your commutes to your benefit. Instead of listening to the usual top 40 hits we hear on a regular basis on the radio, why not try listening to a new podcast? Check out our blog on podcasts here

2. Learn a new skill during work 

If you have some time between meetings with nothing to do, use that time to learn a new skill that's interesting to you or that can help you move forward at the job you are doing. Whether you can learn about consumer habits or a new language that will help you communicate better with your suppliers, this might be the best time to put your brain to work and enhance your life with a personal project. 

3. Surf the web

Sometimes you come across new ideas in the most unexpected places. Mindlessly surf the Internet and watch videos, read articles or even chat to your friend abroad. You never know where inspiration will hit you. 

4. Make yourself laugh

Sometimes that's all we need to turn the day around. Watch hilarious viral videos or a stand-up comedy show is sure to make you crack up. If you can't watch anything during work, then read jokes online. 

5. Find a friend

If your workplace is boring, consider making a new friend in another section of your office or work site. You never know who could pull you out of your rut. 

Long term boredom solutions

You need to look at the bigger picture and identify whether your job is the reason you are bored. You might not be pursuing the right career path for you.

6. Look for opportunities to contribute

At first glance, this may seem obvious. Job descriptions map out responsibilities and requirements of the job and, often, serve as a contract between employee and employer about mutually shared expectations for the position. If you don’t know the answer to this question, look to conversations with your boss as part of your company’s performance evaluation process as the best place to start. However, the new year provides a chance to reflect upon these responsibilities, separate and apart from your annual performance review. Consider how external factors may have impacted your job in a way that didn’t previously exist. For example, changing customer needs and economic and demographic factors and industry trends can result in an opportunity to make a positive contribution that didn’t exist before. Internal factors such as a company re-organisation or change in leadership may also help pave the way to contribute to your organisation differently than you have in the past. Ongoing dialogue with your boss can help refine these ideas into concrete contributions.

7. Go above and beyond

'Going above and beyond' can occur in both large and small ways and means different things in different organisations. Your perspective will largely determine this — do I do the bare minimum in my job or do I consistently add value to a project, program or initiative? What is it about your job that you’re most enthusiastic about and how can you contribute to a project or initiative that you haven’t contributed to in the past? As you consider your own perspective, also consider your co-workers’ view of you. Am I the “go-to” person to get things done, or am I seen as an obstacle? Conversations with co-workers about their successes and pain points can provide insight into where you can potentially add value. Taking initiative through offering assistance or expertise to help move a stalled project forward is another way to contribute. Going above and beyond can also include mentoring a co-worker or more junior employee or volunteering to lead or serve on a committee.

8. Collaborate more effectively

As Helen Keller famously said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Collaboration is perhaps one of the best ways to expand your perspective and contribute to your job in a new way. This can be as simple as requesting feedback from a co-worker (especially from someone you don’t normally request feedback from), trusted colleague or mentor, or reaching out to another team or across functional areas to gain new ideas and insights in support of a project or initiative. New or expanded partnerships with vendors, partners and other key stakeholders may also provide the chance to contribute in a new way.

9. Find places to gain and build your knowledge

As you reflect upon the past year, are there knowledge gaps or areas where enhanced knowledge can help you become more confident and perform your job more effectively? Is this lack of knowledge holding you back? Many companies offer in-house training for free or at a reduced cost. Company-sponsored training is often designed specifically for employees with the added bonus of being conveniently located. Many companies also offer full or partial tuition reimbursement for college degrees, certifications or other training. If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that offers this benefit, be sure to take advantage of it. Participating in training and networking opportunities with professional associations is another way to learn from others and apply it in your current role. If you’re a subject matter expert, consider sharing your expertise with others in your field by submitting a conference presentation, white paper or article to the association(s) that represent your industry. Sharing your knowledge as a thought leader can help to expand the perspective of others and may create opportunities for increased collaboration with other professionals in your field.

Identifying ways to contribute in new ways, go above and beyond, collaborate more effectively, and build and share your knowledge are just a few ways to bring a new, proactive perspective to your job in the coming months.