7 Reasons Why You Might Be Bored at Work and How to Avoid Them
Thinking that your job is boring? You’re not alone. A study found that nearly 70% of U.S. employees feel miserable at work, with Millennials feeling the least enthusiastic about their tasks. That’s a ridiculously high number.
It doesn’t always have to be this way. With companies becoming ever more invested in their best staff and there being ever more indications that a happy workforce is a productive workforce, there’s a high possibility to provoke some change.
If you’re part of the 70% that feels unhappy with their work, the first step down the road of improvement is to identify the problem. The rest of the journey is doing something about it.
1. Your job is too repetitive
Many tasks are of repetitive nature. Put a signature here, stamp there, say ‘thank you’ and move on to the next activity. This can be a massive drag and can indeed raise boredom levels to nails-on-chalkboard proportions. If this sounded like you, you should consider if there’s a way to automate what you’re doing. There are online tools that can help you along the way.
Even if you can’t entirely automate a task, you can still consider working together with someone else with similar functions and see if you can optimize some of the work.
Finally, you can ask about a task’s importance from those higher up, especially if it doesn’t seem to return a high benefit. This will work far better, of course, if you’ve got some alternative suggestions about how to improve the situation. This way you’re not just a whiner, but somebody who presents a solution to the problem they’ve presented, something that’s always appreciated.
2. Your time is being wasted
Though it certainly isn’t the only way to waste time at the office, meetings are high up the list. And yet many companies cling to them – possibly because of those in charge consider meetings to be productive. If this is the case, it’s about time you suggested some changes and embraced them when you’re in charge.
So in addition to getting started on time, what else can you do to improve the overall quality of your meetings?
One strategy is to not just set the end time for a meeting but also set time for each individual topic that needs to be discussed. Another useful strategy is to remove all the chairs in the room.
Standing – especially when applied to today’s less fit office types – is an excellent way to focus and get things done faster.
Another meeting hack is to say simply ‘no’. Daring, to put it mildly, but if you’re already bored at work, then something has to change anyway, right?
3. You’re not being challenged
This is one of the greatest problems, indicating boredom at the office. Many professionals do not feel that their skill set is being correctly utilized and end up feeling bored because they’re not intellectually committed.
At the same time, they’re afraid to say anything due to fear that their workload will increase too far, and they’ll end up stressed, wishing they were still bored. So what are you supposed to do?
One of the best strategies is to have regular meetings with your boss, where you can start hinting at these problems without immediately throwing it out that you’re bored. You don’t want to become overwhelmed with new assignments, simply find a new challenge.
Look for new tasks that sound interesting and suggest that you might be able to make time for them. If your boss takes you up on your offer, make sure you give regular feedback on how it’s going and if you can do even more.
Your superiors will appreciate your proactivity, and you’ll have more exciting (and challenging) things to do.
4. You’re not feeling engaged
This is a common problem, with the task you’re being called upon to do not really provoking or stimulating you. If there is no way to change the tasks you’re doing, then find new more creative ways to look at them.
An excellent strategy is to find the means to bring what you’re good at into your work more often.
Write down five new things that you can use more often at your workplace. Focus on the top 5 tasks you’re especially good at.
They don’t have to be huge achievements, simply try to renew the list every week. So if you’re curious, find out how a new software package works, or where the recycling bins are.
If you consider yourself creative, take time and see if you can use that creativity to remove a step from your work process or some other way to cleverly integrate more productivity into your day.
The great thing about creativity and problem-solving skills is that if you keep it up, they will get noticed. And from there it’s not far for you to be offered new opportunities and possibilities.
5. You’re not feeling respected
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if your job is challenging and the work is engaging unless you feel that you’re listened to.
Feeling disrespected may lead to resentment and from there to boredom. If you believe it’s happening, you’ve got to look into whether it’s just your opinion that isn’t being respected or whether all of your colleagues feel the same way.
In the case of the latter the company has a structural problem that needs to be addressed. It might be time to discuss the issue with your fellow colleagues if they’re willing to collectively address the management to inform them of the problem – after all, nothing concerns the leadership more than low staff morale and the consequences thereof.
If, on the other hand, the neglect is just directed at you, take the time to find out if it’s you that’s causing this problem. In these kinds of situations, it is wiser to first take a look at yourself before confronting others. After all, if it’s not your fault, you can still express your concerns.
However, if you accuse someone else first, it can’t be withdrawn.
6. Your contribution doesn’t matter
Sometimes you’re working for a large enterprise and your contributions might feel so small, so compartmentalized and so meaningless that it’s hard not to wonder why you’re doing it all.
Truth be told, you’re almost dealing with an existential crisis. The ‘what am I doing this for, shouldn’t I be doing more with my life?’ feeling. We all get it occasionally so if it happens to you every so often, you might just be having a bad day. However, if it happens all the time, you have to take action.
The best thing to do is take a more holistic look. See what the company produces, what your department creates, what your colleagues and you put out together.
Take an interest in the production cycle and management processes. This way, you will get a much better idea of how your work contributes to the company’s success. And once you’ve got a better idea of what’s going on, you might be able to make small changes that make your work more meaningful.
7. You feel your skill set is being misapplied
We all feel we’re good at certain things and when we engage in that activity we’re more productive, happier, and time goes by faster. Now that’s obviously what we want. And yet we rarely feel like this is what we’re actually doing most of the time (if we’re doing it at all).
When we feel like decision-makers, we’re instead filing documents. When we feel we’re designers, we’re instead implementing administrative tasks.
How to fix the feeling of misused skills?
The trick to doing more of what you’re good at is to get even better at it by practicing it in your free time. The next time you get some opportunities to contribute by doing what you love, you’ll be far more likely to impress your colleagues and those in charge and thereby raising the chance of being asked to do it again.
You’ve got to practice. Use productivity hacks to stop wasting time on other activities so that you can devote more time and more effort to activities you like. And do devote time to it.
Don’t finish tasks quickly because you can. You’ve got to be a perfectionist in tasks that you love if you want to do more of it because it isn’t the quick work but the end product that gets noticed.
The take home
The problem with boredom is that it breeds boredom. It can make us listless and unwilling to engage with others and our work. That is the first part of the problem that needs to be overcome. If you want to get more out of your work, you can’t allow yourself to be the victim of boredom. You’ve got to find ways to proactively change your life for the better. Because who else is going to do it for you?