Nearly anyone who has ever worked at any job knows full well that work is sometimes boring. Sure, there are probably some professions when there’s never a dull moment ever — but it’s hard to think of many. Most of us have had to sit through at least a few boring work days in our time… and if you let the boredom swallow you, the hours may become very long.
While this is not always avoidable, there are many ways that you can fight boredom throughout the day, even at work. Here are eight to try.
Meditate in the morning
While meditation may not quite erase boredom from a workday, it can help. Meditating in the morning before you start your day has numerous benefits. It can center your mind, increase your concentration, relieve your stress and help you to stay in the present as you go through your day. This attunement to the present can help keep your mind focused on the now, and prevent it from slipping into the past or future too much.
The more you practice meditation, the easier it will be to gently guide your mind into the present moment and keep it there. When you stay in this state during work (and during off hours, as well), things become more engaging and less boring. This is because you are allowing yourself to actively engage with what’s right in front of you instead of drowning in thoughts of everything you’d rather be doing.
Put on music
Music has been my life-saving prescription for boredom ever since I was very young. For me, it often helps to relax and engage the “churning thought” part of my brain while allowing my active mind to complete the task at hand. If you are able to put on music where you work, do so — unless it distracts you, of course.
If you’d like to work with music on but can’t have it on in your office, wear headphones if you can. Invest in a comfy pair — bad, poor-fitting headphones can really hurt after a while.
Set yourself a challenge at the beginning of the day
This could be anything… get creative. The key is to set yourself a goal before you go to work (after you meditate, preferably), to be either completed or worked toward that day. This could be smiling at a certain number of people, not getting frustrated by the copy machine, helping someone improve their work — these are just a few examples.
Make your challenge something that will make you feel good and accomplished. You can also divide a larger goal into smaller ones. For example, if your challenge is to get everyone on board with regularly cleaning and stocking the break room, you may divide this into several days, where you reach out to your coworkers on one day, and make a plan the next. When you’re actively accomplishing goals, there’s no time to get bored.
Redefine your lunch time
Make the most out of every minute you get for lunch. Pack yourself something both healthy and delicious that you can get excited about eating. If it’s a nice day outside, eat outside, perhaps with friends. Depending on how much time you have, you could go for a walk or do some yoga.
If your lunch break is short, you could still savor your meal in a nice spot, do some deep breathing to refocus your mind and relax. Maybe read a few pages of a new book if you have some extra minutes. Whatever makes you happy and brings a smile to your day.
Take five-minute exercise breaks
This is especially important for those of us who work at desks, or who spend much of the day sitting down. Sitting is extremely detrimental to health, and the key to getting around these dangers is to stand up as often as possible and to get lots of exercise throughout the day. Stand up at least every half an hour and get a few stretches in, even on a busy day.
Also, whenever you’re able to, take a five-minute exercise break. If you can get outside for a brisk walk, do it. If not, at least walk around your office a bit. A bit of exercise is better than none.
Get as much sun as you can
There’s just something about sunshine that can really make a slow, boring workday more enjoyable. It’s the vitamin D, of course… but also just that warmth and radiance. If you have a window in your office, open the blinds to let in as much sun as possible. If it’s a warm day, open up the window if you can. As mentioned, get outside on your lunch breaks and other breaks as often as you can. If it’s cold outside, bring extra layers.
Try to get out every day, unless it’s storming or unreasonably cold. On those cold days, at least try to bask in as much natural light as possible. It really does make a difference between the hours crawling by and the hours moving along at a normal pace.
Write a few jokes
If you’re inclined towards both writing and humor, start a notebook or a text file for jokes. When you feel the boredom of a long, slow day setting in, write a few down. Read them back to yourself later for a chuckle. You could get coworkers involved if you like; start a company joke notebook. Just remember that it’s better not to poke fun at those you work with, lest drama occurs.
Make a list of things you’re grateful for
Doing this on a regular basis can be a game changer. In the morning before work, or during a boring part of your day, make a list of things you’re grateful for. List as many things in your life as you can — the big stuff and the little stuff. Keep this list with you at all times. If you find yourself bored, discouraged, anxious or otherwise feeling low, read your list to yourself. Remind yourself why it is you do what you do.
Any other ideas on how to get through a boring work day intact?
— Tanya Mead