Being bored at work is not your fault (and the one proven way to change it).
Have you ever felt bored at work? You spend time walking briskly but aimlessly around to look busy, when you know you’re disengaged?
You spend your time at work aimlessly online or going through your Instagram feed.
As growing, evolving humans, it’s natural to become bored at work. It really isn’t your fault. Work seldom evolves with you.
Why boredom happens:
Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but you’ve really done as much as you can in the position that you’re in. It’s gone past the point of automaticity and to the point of “doing just enough so you don’t get fined.”
Your perfunctory approach has but one end result. Downhill. If you ignore the signs, your work becomes sub-par and eventually, not only do you feel bored but your work relationships suffer. You are now seen as the weak link. It’s why some great athletes leave at the top of their game. They become bored, disengaged and instead of hurting their stats, they ride off into the sunset.
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to become the villain .”— Harvey Dent, line from The Dark Knight.
Address your boredom issue before it becomes not only your problem but the problem of everyone else.
You’re growing (personally)
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” — Steven Covey
You feel it.
You want to do more. You want to earn more. You want to achieve more.
You find yourself spending hours online searching for the next move or thinking of starting a business.
If your ambition outweighs your current situation, you will become bored.
Do you live to work or work to live?
If you’re a millennial like me, you feel that your work and life should intersect closely.
You want to feel as fulfilled and engaged in your professional life as you aim to in your personal life. We talk incessantly online about, “Doing what inspires you,” “Finding your passion,” or “Finding work you love,” yet many of us barely know what this looks like. Does your current profession feel like “your passion” or “work you love?”
Millennials often work to live but many of us want to live to work. We want the two to be closely aligned.
When we don’t have that, disengagement happens. Boredom ensues.
It’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility to change it
The one thing you can do, NOW, is to take responsibility for your career.
If your job is a place you want to stay long term, a 9–5 to pay the bills while you work on building your side hustle, or a necessary step to get a promotion, you have to address boredom. It’s a large part of work. We will never get 100% engagement and enrichment from what we do.
Even those who do highly engaging work aren’t at it 100% of the time. There’s always paperwork to complete.
It’s on you to be honest about how you feel about your job and make the necessary changes to improve your situation. Here are some suggestions:
Have a candid conversation with your boss
Firstly, please don’t tell your boss, “I’m bored.” That can only lead to problems. You should, however, have an open conversation with him or her about being challenged. See if there are other tasks or projects you can take on to make your work exciting. Another tip is to ask him or her, “What are you struggling with right now?” Take up the challenge to help them solve their biggest problem. That gives you extra motivation and also puts you in a different category with your management team as the go-to person to solve complex issues. Let’s see how bored you become after that!
Infuse your passion into your job
When you get home, or on the weekends, what do you love doing? Maybe you’re a gamer. You love Game of Thrones. Maybe you love the rabbit hole that is Instagram or you read fashion blogs on Saturday mornings. No matter what you do, there’s a way to integrate it into your job. The results from that can benefit you, your team, your boss or even your company. Here’s what I mean when I say to infuse your passion:
- Start a Game of Thrones club with your co-workers, integrating your work with the show in a creative way.
- Offer to produce “Day in the Life of” content for your company’s social media accounts.
- Hold a gaming tournament where your co-workers can pay to enter, and the winner can donate the pot to a charity of choice (great CSR).
Once you can show the upside for the company, more often than not, your bosses will say yes or come to a middle ground of some sort. You get to test your passions in a professional space and that may even raise your excitement to do your job.
Raise the bar
You may be focusing more on the time you are at work, rather than the tasks you are expected to do.
Are we watching the clock or are we watching the work?
Are we “on it” as we love to proclaim? Or are we just lazy?
There’s one way to find out:
Increase the stakes, reduce the time.
Challenge yourself to complete more in less time. Set a timer on your phone to knock out some more work in less time. Or get your boss to assign you a big project or to lead the next staff meeting. It’s amazing how we can motivate ourselves by changing the conditions we operate under.
The monotonous stuff can suck the joy out of what we do and sometimes it monopolizes our time. What if we could get it out of our hair?
- There’s always someone on work who can benefit from the work that holds you back. If you lead a team, you should work on effectively delegating to team members so it frees you up to do the things you need to.
- Trading tasks with co-workers who enjoy the stuff you don’t. Look into bartering your tasks
- Virtual assistants. Not only your boss deserves an assist, does he? Think of the time you get back by spending some dollars a month getting a VA to handle the tasks you don’t want to. You can find highly qualified VAs on Freelancer or Upwork to handle the minutiae. You have free time to work on projects you enjoy and doing engaging work.
If you’re bored find out why, but don’t leave.
Do a deep dive into your work and why you’re bored or disengaged. What you should not do is leave immediately. That’s crazy. Some small changes can make your job more exciting, engaging or even turn into a passion of yours.
Just take responsibility for making that happen.