As always, it’s the usual case after lunch. After a good meal, you sit in your office chair and stare at your laptop. Soon enough, you start to feel your eyes begin to droop, your fingers tapping across the keyboard more slowly, and your productivity levels dropping. Soon enough, you’re dozing off without even realising it, and despite your best efforts to stay alert, you find that it’s simply impossible!
If you’ve ever experienced such a situation, know that you are not alone. This is something that happens to the best of us, sometimes even daily! And worse, it’s not just after lunch - during moments when you’re feeling tired of doing tedious, repetitive tasks, or when you’re simply uninterested in the work that you’ve been assigned to, such moments of boredom will hit you. It then becomes tough to be productive as your mind cannot stay focused!
Thankfully, it’s not an incurable situation. Rest assured that you can learn to feel engaged at work and avoid feeling bored during work hours!
Read on to resolve your boredom issues!
Why do we feel bored? What can we do about it?
Before resolving boring behaviour, it is vital to understand its reasons first. Why exactly do we feel bored at work? What is the actual cause? Is it just due to our lacking performance? Or, could other external factors be causing us to feel bored?
We have no control over many reasons and are negatively affecting our work performance. Read on to find out which of these you can relate to! Then, find tips to resolve these causes!
1. Your work is repetitive
If you’re working in an administrative role, your tasks would likely be very tedious, such as staring at Excel spreadsheets the whole day, copying and pasting information from the document to document, filling up forms over and over, and having to do manual data entry endlessly. As we all know, admin work is usually endless and very repetitive, making the fundamental nature of the work already boring from the beginning. In most jobs, even if you’re not fully administrative, your work would require you to do some admin tasks, which can be incredibly dull and makes for inefficient use of your valuable time.
What you can do:
In such cases, one easy way to make your tasks more exciting would be to complete the job in a set period. For example, if you need to fill up a big stack of forms, try to finish each state in 15 minutes, and treat it like a race with yourself! Of course, the time limit would be adjusted according to the task's difficulty level.
If this method is not suitable for you, another way would be to allocate blocks of time to complete admin work. For example, you can give 1 hour to complete a spreadsheet, another hour to complete filing forms, and another hour to do data entry. This way, you would spread out your tasks throughout the day instead of mindlessly tackling them with no set time limit in mind. This would help keep you more engaged and hopefully reduce your boredom at work.
Of course, this still means that you will have to complete the administrative tasks manually. If possible, you can automate these tasks instead via workflow automation methods or using Tessaract’s all-in-one business management system. This way, you can reduce the time needed to complete these administrative tasks. With one less worry, you can now focus on more important higher-level tasks, such as brainstorming, ideation, and process planning!
2. Your work is not challenging
Sometimes, rather than having to deal with repetitive tasks, you may be assigned to simple tasks which you do not find challenging at all. This could include doing basic research with a few quick Google searches, or coming up with reports which are simply completed templates of previous years’ submissions.
This means that your work isn’t challenging at all. In fact, it is too easy! Sometimes, you may even feel that such work should not be included in your job scope, as it includes low-level tasks which even interns can handle. When we face a lack of challenges, we tend to feel very unmotivated as it feels too simple and brainless.
Although some may say that they prefer to do such easy work, having a complete lack of challenges would be detrimental in the long run. Workers would gradually lose their drive to take up new challenges in the future, since they would have gotten too used to doing unchallenging tasks. This also causes a negative effect on the company, as their workers would be unwilling to take up challenging projects which could implicate the growth of the company.
What you can do:
Before such a feeling sets in, take the first step to seek new challenges by asking your supervisor for more difficult work. Make it a point to show them that you are definitely able to handle the work you’ve been assigned to, but that you have so much more potential and are able to handle higher-level tasks.
You can even draw up proposals about new projects which you would like to tackle, and present your action plans to your supervisor. This way, your supervisor would realise that you are much more capable than they first imagined, and would be more open to giving you more challenging tasks. With successful projects, you may even be able to make a company-wide change, and feel a bigger sense of achievement! Re-lighting that spark may also require switching up your routine to find something to get excited about. This may take the form of a new collaborative effort or initiative with your colleagues. Working toward a shared vision and goal drives motivation and innovation especially when your team is really passionate about the work that you are doing.
Also, make sure to set clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with your supervisor. Although some may say that KPIs are detrimental to workers as they cause higher stress levels, KPIs are a good way to set clear goals for both the employee and supervisor. They would serve as a better measure for you to evaluate your own performance and motivate you to do well in your daily work. KPIs can even state clearly the qualities or milestones you need to achieve in order to receive a promotion!
3. You’re interested in another field of work
Sometimes, it is possible that your interest in your original job scope has waned, and you have discovered a new interest in a different field! While this is very good for your own self-development, it means that your interest levels in your current work would drop, leading to feelings of boredom and listlessness when doing work.
What you can do:
Try to get assigned to tasks that are more related to the topic or field that you are actually interested in through team collaborations across different teams. Be on the lookout for upcoming opportunities that are in line with your passion as these can serve as a stepping stone for you to pivot and gain experience in your area of interest!
Another alternative is to request a transfer to the department of your interest so that you can get firsthand experience and learn from your colleagues. To transfer, you may have to upskill first to gain the relevant skillset that is required in the new department. There are many options such as free LinkedIn courses, or even YouTube tutorials to help you hone your skills. Once you are ready, you can apply for the cross-department transfer and hopefully, your new job scope will get you excited to come to work every day!
4. Lack of human interaction & self-care
If you work a job that only lets you interact with your computer, there is a high chance that the lack of human interaction is affecting your daily mood and causing you to feel bored! Having too much screen time may affect you in many negative ways apart from just the physical strain on your eyes and body.
When you are preoccupied with your screen, there will be an obvious lack of real-life interaction with others, which could lead to antisocial tendencies and feelings of withdrawal. As a result, you may feel distant from your colleagues and become unable to talk with them easily, causing you to be glued to your seat the whole day. This then increases the chance of you feeling bored with your work, since you have nothing else to do but stare at your screen all day!
Additionally, if you do not practise self-care such as getting regular sleep, staying fit, and having good mental health, you could find yourself burning out even faster and increasing the frequency of bored behaviour at work! This could include feeling completely unmotivated to do work, dozing off, and having lower levels of productivity overall.
What you can do:
If possible, you could try to get to know your colleagues better, be it just greeting them when you see them around in the office or lunching together with them. Although you may think that this is unnecessary and that you much prefer being alone, having colleagues to rely on or just making small talk with them would greatly improve your working experience. Who knows, you may even build strong friendships and gain close colleagues with whom you can share your worries!
As for self-care, this is something that many people overlook the importance of but is absolutely vital in the long run. By keeping your body and mind fit, you will find that you are performing better at work, and with better performance comes more motivation to excel in work. This would result in lesser feelings of boredom, as you are now intrinsically motivated to be productive and would feel a sense of achievement every time you complete your tasks well. You can also find ways to work smarter, not harder such as taking set breaks which would help to avoid burnout!
Additionally, having colleagues to share your successes with would build camaraderie and help you gain recognition as a good performer. This would be extremely helpful later on if you have to do team projects with your colleagues. This would also build a high-performance culture within the company, which would help you feel motivated and look forward to going to work every single day!
5. You hate your job!
This is one of the worst issues to have. Unfortunately, it is possible that sometimes, you join a company where you absolutely dislike everything about the job - the work, the people, the company culture, and so on. Such a toxic workplace would definitely ruin your motivation to do well at work and cause you to feel listless and bored at work. The only thing running through your mind the whole day would be to quickly get off work. Furthermore, the pandemic has made many people reflect on their jobs due to added downtime at home and raised many important questions such as having a career that you are actually passionate about to fulfil your life goals.
What you can do:
For such a case, despite how much you dislike the job, it would be best to try to make the job work first and only consider quitting once you have done everything you can (and yet, couldn’t bring yourself to love the job). Ask yourself important questions like: Do you really need to quit, or is it just a tough period in work that will eventually pass? Are there any other different actions you can take to be happier at work?
You could also try to speak to your supervisor or another company leader about the issues you are facing. For example, if it is an internal team issue, you can try and request for a transfer to switch departments or a shift change if you are having difficulty working with your team’s colleagues.
However, if it is a company culture issue such as regular overtime work or leadership styles that you disagree with, it is likely that there is nothing you can do. Then, the only solution would be to leave the company and find another one which better suits your working style. COVID-19 has also exacerbated the worldwide economic trend of ‘The Great Resignation’ in which many people have chosen to walk away from their jobs after rethinking their careers, work conditions, and long-term goals. So, you’re not definitely not alone in a career or job switch, and always remember that your mental health comes first.
Yet, do take the time to remember that such cases can happen to anyone. Sometimes, things simply do not work out even when we desperately want them to, and it is no one person’s fault, especially not yours. Instead, there are always more companies and jobs waiting out there for you to explore, and your next company may be the one you’ve always been searching for!
Boredom isn’t your enemy. It’s trying to tell you something, and it’s time to listen.
All in all, boredom at work is trying to send you a message, and it is something that is in your power to change. Be it finding a new job scope, looking for more challenges or interacting more with others, your boredom can turn into productive behaviour once you have found the right direction!
If you would like to learn more tips and tricks with Tessaract, check out our other blog posts on building an effective weekly work plan template through 7 essential steps, 6 repetitive tasks that can be replaced by workflow automation, and the secret ways to increase your workplace productivity.