Boredom is a normal part of the workday for most people. In fact, studies have shown that the average employee is bored for around 10.5 hours every week. Sometimes boredom is caused by being underemployed (where your skillset is higher than your job role’s demands), but it can also come from repetitive activity, recent shifts in personal life that shift focus from work, or even things like a long dull winter. Some people find that they are bored regularly throughout the day, while others find that boredom only hits ever now and then.
Whatever your experience, the statistics suggest that at some point in your working career you will be bored at work.
Is it okay to be bored at work?
Studies have shown that boredom is not as bad for you as you might think.
Boredom is often your mind’s way of letting you know that it is under-stimulated or diverted. Finding the cause of that diversion or discovering what holds your interest can help you improve your productivity or move into an area of work better suited to your skill set and interests.
Boredom is acceptable, and even expected. But boredom can turn into active disengagement, a state 16% of the workforce are in constantly. During active disengagement you are not only avoiding work, you are actively being counter-productive. This is bad for both your job and your mental health. Mindless scrolling on social media, flicking your colleague with bits of paper, or taking that seventh BuzzFeed quiz because you can’t think of any reason not to will most likely only make you feel worse.
So instead of turning to snacking or yet another walk around the office, why not have a look at our boredom causers and boredom killers to help you find out why you are so bored and then find out how to rectify the situation so you can enjoy going into work.
What are the reasons for boredom at work?
- Mismatched job
Maybe it’s the industry, maybe it’s the company, or maybe it’s the role, but a job that isn’t right for your interests, skills, personality, and experience is the number one reason that people find themselves bored at work.
The problem with a mismatched job is that you will neve feel completely fulfilled in the role. There is less job satisfaction and less drive to achieve or improve.
Everyone knows that you have to start somewhere. A lot of people will take an entry-level job or a “just until…” job and find themselves there years later wondering why they’re still not achieving their full potential.
Another cause of underemployment is when there are company changes or staff or management shifts and your role changes to something less stimulating.
Underemployment can leave you feeling undervalued and invisible, making work seem pointless and boring.
Recent years have seen a rise in self-improvement, professional development, and a growth mindset. If you are in a job where your role cannot change and you have no freedom to extend yourself then you might find yourself getting bored of the same routine and tasks, even if you loved the job to begin with.
Our minds are remarkable and are able to push boundaries and learn and upskill. Just like a child with no stimulation, when there is no room for growth in a workplace, you can become bored and irritable.
How to kill boredom at work?
So how do you tackle boredom at work” There are some surprisingly simple strategies that you can start implementing today to help you deal with your lacklustre day.
- Create a new challenge
Depending on your job you may be able to do this on your own, or you may be able to meet with your boss to work together. Identify any gaps or areas that could do with improvement or streamlining and challenge yourself to find solutions.
A feeling of confinement doesn’t only come from being confined in a job, it can also come from a physically cramped space (including all those desktop shortcuts). Clean out your desk and computer to clear your head. You might also find something new to work on that was buried underneath other debris.
- Make your work a game
Turn a mundane day into a day full of intrigue by pretending you work for the CIA, or set yourself challenges like replying to emails in record times. Any activity that engages your imagination or competitive side can break the boredom and restore interest to your work.
- Do some stretches or exercises
Getting the blood flowing and oxygen moving through your body can give your mind the boost it needs.
- Use a soundtrack
Interesting music can give your mind something to concentrate on while you do less stimulating work. If you are writing and need to concentrate on words then use instrumental or ambience music, or if your work is more active find something that gets you excited. There’s a reason people exercise with music on, it adds a level of motivation, utilise that advantage.
If you find yourself with too much time on your hands but still enjoy your job, speak to your boss about the possibility of taking an online course or doing additional training. Often, employers are happy to help fund upskilling if you can pitch the new skill well enough and show how it will benefit the company.
- Work with a colleague
If you have time but your co-worker is swamped, offer to help them with tasks they can delegate. It gives you a change of pace with something new to do, while giving you a chance to learn new skills.
- Concentrate on mindset
Ultimately, you need to make sure your job is a good fit and that you are coming to work with a healthy mindset. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and water as tiredness and hydration only make you feel worse and can quickly trigger boredom.
See your job as an opportunity to grow, practice resilience, and improve both interpersonal and professional skills. Don’t underestimate the importance of thinking of others. 88% of award-winning projects were implemented after their creators asked the question: “what impact could I create that other people would love ”
Or who knows, maybe now is the perfect time to venture out on your own and start that new business you always dreamed of