Hit the Esc button on boredom at work

Whether you are working from an office or at home, at some point you get to that part of the day when time stops. All of the buzz from the excitement from the beginning vanishes. You’re left sitting at your desk wondering if you turned the oven off…when was the last time you called your mother…will Jon and Daenerys rule over the Seven Kingdoms…and when will you go to Bora Bora like you always wanted to.

These are all very valid questions that need an answer, but you must remember that even if Cersei wins, you still have obligations at your workplace.

What to do when you’re bored at work

Here are a couple of things you could do to either ward off boredom or to manage your time and workflow better and prevent boredom completely.

1. Find your triggers

Boredom hits when you’re not productive. This is why you need to pinpoint and make a list of things that are making you less productive and that are causing boredom. Surely this won’t be a short list, however, it will help in the long run. It is one of the most important steps in ”recovering” from this ”symptom”.

The next time you turn to some of the numerous distractions you’ve pinpointed, whether it be a phone call, an e-invite or a gossipy Slack chat with your co-worker, be sure to write it down and track time to see just how much you waste on them daily.

This way you will know the exact distractions and just how much time they are taking, while at the same time killing your focus and making you bored and unproductive.

2. Make a list of tasks for the day

It’s like the previous advice, but this time you write down the tasks you need to complete on a certain day. When you have your workday planned out as precisely as possible, you will have no time to get bored.

Depending on your preference, you can arrange your tasks to alternate between the difficult and easy ones. This way you can make your work more dynamic. You get boosts of confidence by completing short and easy tasks between those which need more focus and willpower.

The other approach is to write down and organize your tasks according to their importance. The ones that are close to the deadline should be first on your list. After completing the first, you should feel like a heavy burden has been lifted and other tasks should be done in a jiffy.

But, you still need to be careful!

Oftentimes, after doing the most difficult assignment, there will be resistance towards completing other tasks. That’s why it is crucial to have your list in front of you to remind you of ALL of them. It is quite pleasing to tick off the ones that are done. As you see the list becoming smaller and smaller, you start feeling happier and happier.

No matter which way you organize your day, the important thing is to have it organized and to leave as little room as possible for boredom to creep in.

3. Use a website blocker

While we are tied to our mundane jobs, we might glance at Instagram, or Reddit, or Facebook. You suddenly notice the clock and, oh my, it’s already five o’clock and you haven’t done anything yet!

It’s a tricky business, being so close to all these fabulous social media platforms and web magazines and not browse them. That’s why you can help yourself by activating a website blocker. There won’t be any more temptations guiding you away from your schedule and responsibilities.

4. Take breaks

Sitting at your desk all day with your eyes glued to the computer screen does not give a good result. You then start to feel uneasiness and mental tiredness that tends to turn to boredom. Go outside to breathe in some fresh air, eat something healthy, and maybe stretch a little. You can even meditate if you work from home or if you have a quiet corner at work. It’s good for our mind as well for our body to relax a little.

A good rest can do wonders for the brain. After a short rest, mind clearing, and oxygen boost, you’ll feel ready to take on any tasks and challenges.


5. Don’t let boring phone calls distract you

It’s a good thing we have caller ID. That way you know which phone calls are work-related and of great significance and which are from relatives asking if they can bring their cat with them.

In case you find yourself stuck in an endless conversation, try to cut to the chase or just sent them to voicemail. You can have shorter calls by paraphrasing: try making a few short notes on the specific topic, keeping your sentences precise and clear so there won’t be a need for another call.

6. Don’t read all emails

Reading all emails as you receive them is a sure way to lose your will to live. Your inbox can be filled with messages which you don’t need to open right away, often never. Emails from all sorts of subscriptions, articles, travel guides and recipes, promotions, and countless others. Even those work-related can overwhelm you, so you need a smart system to deal with it.

To avoid getting bored by reading them all, categorize your emails by importance and urgency. That way you can answer right away only to the urgent and important ones, while others can wait for a more suitable time.

A system called the Eisenhower Matrix can be useful for determining which emails should preoccupy your attention and which ones shouldn’t.

Source: Wikipedia CC

Also, by making your responses short and clear, you are saving yourself and other people a lot of time. There should be no more than five sentences, which should also be short. The points should be clear and the closing should be pleasant.

Don’t bore other people with long and wordy emails just like you don’t want to get bored by reading those yourself. After drafting your message, read through it to make sure the recipient knows exactly what you need them to do.

7. Streamline meetings

Without a plan and timetable meetings can lose cohesion and turn into random ramblings that get tiresome and boring fast.

While planning a meeting, make an agenda with the main points. This way it’s less likely that the conversation will change its course. The agenda should be planned a few days prior to the meeting. You should take in consideration who would attend the meeting and the meeting objective. Set the time limit for each topic. It’s not necessary to stick to it blindly, but it’s reassuring to have a plan.

If you’re an employee, give your managers some constructive feedback if the meetings take too much time and get off track.

Also, if you are working from home or if you are a freelancer, apply the same principals to your Skype meetings with clients. It’s the same thing.

8. Get healthier

Exercising is good for your physical as well for your mental health. Exercising has an anti-age effect on the body and brain cells. It also makes you energized, thus making it easier to conquer the difficulties you face at your workplace that make you bored.

When we exercise, our body gets more prepared for everyday activities and gets tired way less. When you have more energy you will have more desire to work and boredom will stop being an issue for you.

And don’t forget your breakfast! Find those ten minutes in the morning because they pay off. Breakfast gives you the energy to start your day. Stick to high protein food such as eggs or yogurt. They give you long lasting energy.

9. Get bored in your free time

I know, it’s a tough thing to plan, but give it a try. Leave your schedule open on some afternoons and evenings for doing absolutely nothing. Lay on your sofa, read books, watch Netflix and chill. Or just chill with some music in the background.

These are just some of the tips for what to do when bored at work. But, in the end, we are all unique human beings and we all find other things or situations boring. Is there something that you find particularly boring during your workday and do you have a system for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments.

About the author: Marko Maric is a marketer and a blogger. He frequently covers topics on business, marketing, and productivity. Marko currently works at Clockify where he’s trying to make the world a more productive place. You can follow him on Twitter @mmmaric for more tips and ramblings.

Feature photo by Hutomo Abrianto on Unsplash

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