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How to Deal with Boredom at Work

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How to Deal with Boredom at Work

By Michelle Yozzo Drake

The hands of the clock are moving so slowly they actually appear to be going backwards. You start to wonder how many ceiling tiles there are above you and decide to count them. The files and papers on your desk get shuffled around, but you can't bring yourself to really work on them. Good thing you don't have a window or you'd be staring out of it for hours on end. Instead, you squirm in your seat, listen to the fluorescent lights hum and silently count the minutes until the end of the day.

In short, you're bored to tears, and some days it feels like work is sucking the life right out of you.

Brody from Uniondale knows what I'm talking about:

Dear Michelle,

Sometimes at work I feel like a little kid ready to throw a tantrum because he's bored. Every day it's the same tasks over and over again, and I'm beginning to dread working here. When I first started, everything was new and challenging, and I was so excited. Now it's all the same old, same old.

Please give me some ideas on how to inject a little life back into my job.


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Okay Brody, I'll start by giving you my favorite piece of advice:

You. Have. To. Take. Control.


So many of the issues we face at work can be remedied by simply taking control of the situation and making change happen. Take some responsibility for how you are feeling at work. If you want to keep this job or, better yet, set yourself up for a promotion (which might help to solve your boredom problem), you need to regain your enthusiasm, your focus, and your commitment to doing the best job you can with the work that you're given.

Your boss can be your strongest ally in making your work more interesting. Take care not to whine about your current work! Instead, explain to him or her that you are looking for new challenges and ask for projects that will stretch your skills. Make sure your regular work is done first, no matter how tedious it may be. You can also ask some of your co-workers if they need some help with projects - an excellent idea because not only are you getting some new interesting work, it shows your boss that you're a team player!

Make a commitment to learning. Sometimes work can't give you more challenging projects, or maybe your boss isn't very helpful because he's got his own work to worry about. If that's the case, think about what you might be interested in. Take some classes. Join a professional or trade association in your field and then get on to a committee - maybe even take on a leadership role.

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But let's face it: some jobs are just plain boring. In those instances, there might be other valuable benefits like great insurance, fantastic pay, extra vacation time. Weigh those pieces against your boredom: is sacrificing those benefits worth feeling a little more interested at work?

Focus on life outside the office. A boring job might be easier to deal with if you're following your personal interests when the workday is through. Some people get their identity caught up in the work they do, and that can be a huge mistake. You're more than just your job: spend your after hours pursuing your interests and you'll find they add a richness to your life. Even though I'm rarely bored at work, my hobby - I'm a painter - keeps my brain creative and challenges me in a way that my work doesn't.
It adds to my life AND my work. Find your passion and follow it!

Sometimes all it takes to stop boredom in its tracks is a little time away. Take a vacation to re-energize your body and mind. While you're relaxed, examine your current job and think about whether a total career change is in the cards. Your boredom might be the wake-up call you need to change career paths.

Good luck, Brody!


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“It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are – not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within – that you can begin to take control.” Oprah Winfrey