Just because you are grateful to have a job doesn’t mean you aren’t sometimes bored. When times are tough no one wants to rock the boat and risk losing steady income, so the key is to try to improve the situation. Boredom is a clue to try something new. Here are five simple ways to create more interest and less boredom on the job.
1. Add a Perk
Boredom happens when our brains are not interested in what we’re doing. You don’t always have a choice about what you do at work but often you can change how it gets done. Most people naturally become interested in perks like beating the clock, competing, or making something look good, so adding in these kinds of activities can make boring tasks go more quickly. For example, if you have a monthly report that takes hours to generate, you can make it more interesting by setting a timer to have a competition with yourself for reducing the time it takes each month. Or you could give yourself a reward right after finishing the report, like a bike ride or a cookie. Remember, your brain can be interested in the method or perk even if you are not interested in the actual task.
2. Change Location
Moods are often influenced by environments. Our brains remember how we felt before in specific places, and that mood naturally comes back when we start a new activity in the same place. If you’re usually bored working on that monthly report at your desk, doing something as simple as moving your chair to the other side of the desk can change your mood. Or perhaps you can work on the project while sitting on your patio, or in a coffee shop.
3. Get a Partner
Sometimes boring activities become fun when you add someone else to the mix. Talk over options about how to proceed with a co-worker, friend, spouse, or even your child. The person you talk with does not have to be an expert – that’s your job. The purpose of talking about your project is to generate interest within your brain. Throughout time, humans have developed interest and enthusiasm by sharing their struggles with others.
4. Switch the Order
Routines are useful and help keep us on track, but routines can also create ruts. Boredom grows in ruts. Take a look at when you do certain things to determine where you can make changes. If you usually make sales calls in the morning and do your paperwork in the afternoon try doing the reverse. Or maybe alternate calls with paperwork. If you feel as though you are in a rut, you probably are – change it up!
5. Change your Thoughts
The way we think about a situation creates our feelings about it, and how we feel determines what we do. Hyper-focusing on thoughts of being bored can actually make us feel more bored. Instead of wallowing in thoughts of how boring something will be, remind yourself about how good it feels when you’re done or how glad you are that you have the expertise to handle your work. Change your thoughts and you can change your world.
Left unchecked, boredom can lead to burn out. Just remember, boredom is a choice. Whenever you notice yourself becoming bored, try one or more of these simple steps and create a pathway of interest instead.