It happens to the best of us. No matter how much you love your job, monotony sets in after a while. Day in, day out, it’s the same thing—the same reports, the same projects, the same coworkers, you feel like you’re living the same day over and over again. You wonder why you should even try to hit this month’s numbers, when you had to work so hard to hit them last month. In some cases, this could be the sign of a much bigger issue, like burnout or depression. But for most of us, it’s just a matter of bringing fresh energy into a job or career we once enjoyed. If you’re experiencing a bad case of the workday blues, here are eight ways to spice up your work life and give it fresh energy and new perspective.
Pursue personal hobbies
Bring fresh energy to your life, by starting a new hobby, or even just picking up an old one. Join a book club, a new gym, or take a mountain climbing class. If you remember that 9 to 5 is just that—9 to 5—then it puts the humdrum of work into perspective. If you need ideas on hobbies to pick up, Quill has a couple of excellent posts to get you inspired.
Talk to your boss
There could be an underlying issue to your boredom. Are you overqualified for your current position? Are you feeling a lack of challenge? Maybe you need to start taking on more responsibility, or perhaps it’s time for a promotion. Is the boredom related to changes at work—such as a managerial shift, a position change, or policy changes? Did the boredom start after a specific incident? If the problem is environmental, talking to your boss could help you identify ways to cope, or that major changes need to occur. Or it could help clear the air about unresolved interoffice politics that are causing you to feel unhappy.
Take classes to get certified
If you have been doing the same thing for a long time, maybe it’s time to update your skill set. Consider taking classes to get further certification in your field. If you are an administrative assistant, for example, take a Microsoft certification course to learn all of those quirky little features you never even knew you didn’t know. Or perhaps, even consider getting an advanced degree, or finishing the one you started years ago. Getting further training in your field could enhance your marketability both in the workforce and even within your current company.
Connect with your original career vision
Sometimes we feel bored at work because we’ve lost our way in our careers. We started out well enough. But somewhere along the way, we got rerouted. Your boredom is your subconscious telling you that this is all wrong for you.
According to a study by the British Psychological Society, boredom serves an important purpose as an impetus for growth. It gives us that push to say, “Hey, I gotta get out of here.” Your boredom could be just what you need to reconnect with your original career vision, and help find your way back to where you need to be.
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There is an old saying that the best way to get over ourselves is to give to others. That’s why people struggling with depression are often urged to volunteer. In the case of worklife boredom, helping others with their career growth can sometimes break the humdrum cycle. Find someone, or a few people even, that are a little lower on the ladder than you, and start showing them how to do various things you do. If you’re the office manager, meet with the receptionist and teach her specific things that will help her grow in her career. If you’re the top sales person, and you’re bored coasting on the glass ceiling of your company, meet with the other sales people. Share strategies to bring them up to where you are. It gives you something different to do, and chances are, they will appreciate the update to their skill set.
Be the master of fun
Talk with your party chairperson and assist them with the next event. If your office doesn’t have one, meet with your supervisor and ask to plan a get-together, outing, or simply an office party for the next holiday. If you don’t want it to be that large scale, do something simple, like bring a roll of cookie dough to bake in the office kitchen. Who wouldn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the office? Or perhaps dedicate yourself to a “week of treats,” bringing in breakfast or healthy snacks each day of the week.
Plan a productivity contest
There’s an old saying that boredom is the mother of invention. Use it to your advantage. If there are certain numbers that your boss or department are constantly pushing, meet with your supervisor to spearhead a productivity contest. It can be the traditional “the person with the highest numbers gets a gift card, or an iPad.” This works, but you can also make it fun, and unique to your office. Does your office have a running interest in superheroes? Make it superhero themed. Be creative and tap into whatever kind of excitement runs your office culture, and bring it into the contest.
Plan a vacation
Maybe what you need is some good old rest and relaxation. Or, it could be the opposite. Maybe you need some fun and adventure in your life. What’s stopping you? Spend your downtime planning a vacation to that place you always said you wanted to go “one day.” What’s wrong with now?