Have you ever had the feeling of being bored at work? You’ve probably experienced it at least once. Even if your profession offers a variety of tasks, boredom may nevertheless strike from time to time. I’ll provide nine helpful and approachable tasks in today’s post that you can do when you’re bored at work. You can be sure that none of these recommendations call for outrageous behavior.
When bored at work, the first thing to do is to channel your focus and stop daydreaming. It’s common to let your mind wander when bored, particularly in a non-engaging or stimulating job. However, daydreaming can be counterproductive, leading to procrastination or missed opportunities.
Instead, use the opportunity of downtime to sharpen your focus and become more mindful. This could mean many things, from practicing simple mindfulness exercises, like focusing on your breath or tuning into your senses, to organizing your workspace or planning your future work tasks.
You could also take this time to develop your professional skills. For instance, you could read articles or books related to your field or take a short online course. This helps stop daydreaming and adds value to your professional skill set, making you a more valuable employee.
The next thing you can do at work if you have downtime is ask your manager if they allow you to cross-train with another department. I know this isn’t possible at every job or company, but asking never hurts. Your boss may be pleasantly surprised that you asked, which could lead to bigger things for you. In previous jobs, I’ve had the time to cross-train in multiple areas. I think I became a better employee because of that.
Contact your manager and tell them you want to learn more about other aspects of the job. Doing that may allow you to move up faster or even get a raise. Managers love it when their employees take the initiative. Cross-training is doing just that.
Listen to Podcasts
The third thing you can do if you are bored at work is listen to podcasts. I love music as much as the next person, but I can only listen to so much 2pac or Jeezy. I’m better off listening to podcasts that motivate me to do better. Below are three podcasts that I listen to from time to time. They talk about personal finance, entrepreneurship, side hustles, and more.
When you get a chance, check them out. I’m sure you will enjoy them as well. If you don’t want to listen to podcasts about money, that’s fine. There are hundreds of different podcasts available out there.
Work on Side Hustles
Number four on the list is to work on a side hustle. If you have a family, your job (during downtime) may be the place to work on a side hustle. You don’t have much time to do it at home, so use it wisely. Depending on what your side hustle is, you may be able to get quite a few things accomplished. If you still need to get a side hustle, many options exist. Below are a few that you should check out.
If surveys aren’t your thing, check out this post that features over 70 side hustle ideas.
The fifth thing on the list is to enter giveaways. This is another item on the list that I’ve done. You can take 30-45 minutes once a week to enter a few of them. There’s nothing like winning free items. You can keep the prize for yourself, give it away as a gift to someone, or you can flip it. You can sell the item on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Mercari.
Apply For Other Jobs
Applying for other jobs is next up on the list of things to do when bored at work. Some people enjoy having downtime at work, while others hate it. Some people would rather have constant work all the time. If you’re one of those people or would do something else, this is the perfect time to start applying for other gigs. Over the years, I’ve known many people to apply for jobs during their work hours. If you’re in that situation, you might as well use your time productively. Make sure that your resume is up to date. Also, avoid getting caught by your manager when applying for other jobs.
Be careful if you plan to save a resume or cover letter on your computer. It may be best to keep it you your Google Drive.
Practicing mindfulness can be an excellent way to stay focused and centered when boredom strikes at work. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can help reduce stress, improve focus, and boost your mood, making your workday more enjoyable and productive.
Start by observing your surroundings. Notice the sounds, the smells, the colors, and the textures around you. Then, turn your focus inward. How is your body feeling? What emotions are you experiencing? These observations can help you become more aware of your current state and potentially reveal insights about how you work and what might be causing your boredom.
Mindfulness meditation is another great practice to incorporate into your work routine. During your break, or even just for a few minutes at your desk, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and focus on the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body. Then, if your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath. This simple exercise can help to clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve your focus.
Furthermore, mindfulness can also be applied to your work tasks. By fully immersing yourself in a task, no matter how mundane, you can transform it into a more engaging and enjoyable activity. Whether answering emails, organizing your workspace, or working on a project, give your full attention to the task; you may find that time passes more quickly.
Practicing mindfulness at work can not only help to alleviate boredom but can also improve your overall work performance and job satisfaction. It’s a simple practice that can yield significant benefits, making it a valuable tool for anyone bored at work.
Maintaining focus can be challenging when boredom sets in at work, but it’s crucial to productivity and job performance. Staying focused doesn’t necessarily mean you must always be engaged in work tasks. Instead, it refers to directing your attention purposefully and avoiding distractions that can lead to time wastage.
One strategy to help you stay focused is to set clear, attainable goals. This could be a small goal for the day, like completing a specific task, or a bigger goal for the week or month, like finishing a project or learning a new skill. Having a clear plan can provide direction and make your work feel more meaningful, reducing feelings of boredom.
Time-blocking is another effective technique for maintaining focus. It involves planning your day in blocks, each dedicated to a specific task or activity. This helps you manage your time more effectively and makes it easier to focus on one task at a time, reducing the likelihood of becoming overwhelmed or distracted.
Also, consider minimizing distractions. This could involve decluttering your workspace, turning off notifications on your phone or computer, or using noise-canceling headphones to block background noise. The less distracted you are, the more focused you’ll be and the more productive your workday will be.
Another important thing is to take regular breaks. It might seem counterintuitive, but short breaks can improve focus and productivity. A brief change of scenery or a few minutes of relaxation can refresh your mind and help you maintain focus throughout the day.
Below are a couple of bored at work memes I saw online and wanted to share with you.
Do you want to create your own meme? Take a look at the meme generator.
Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.