August 18, 2021

4 Ways to Stop Boredom and be Challenged at Work

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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If you’re bored with your job and miss feeling challenged at work, you’re not alone.

There was a study done that said that employees are bored 10.5 hours a week. That is more than a full workday in one week!

So what can you do to enjoy your job again?

You don’t need to change roles or careers just to find new challenges.

In this episode, I’m sharing some quick ways that you can start right away to help you stop feeling bored and bring back some zest or challenge to your work days.

What You’ll Learn

Reasons you might be feeling bored at work

4 ways you can stop being bored and feel more challenged at work

How to recognize employee boredom if you’re in a management role

Featured in This Episode

Podcast episode 34:  Change What You Do Without Changing Your Title

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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence.

Let’s get started.

Whoa! Can you believe that it is August right now? This summer is just flying by so fast, before you know it, we are going to be getting back into school routines, for those of you that have children. I don’t know about you, but it is going to be an adjustment. We have spent so much quality time together these last 18 months that the kids going back into a school setting is going to be a change. I’m going to miss their heads popping in and out and into my office, I should say, not popping in and out of their body.

Just in and out of my office, going for walks with them, having lunch with them, but it’ll also be a little bit more quiet. So, yeah, it’s going to be interesting for all of us. Busy time. OK, let’s dive into today’s topic. This one is going to be short and sweet and it is a challenge, no pun intended, that I hear from my clients very regularly, and that is what to do when you’re bored at work and you’re not challenged anymore, most likely because your skills aren’t being fully used, or maybe you’ve outgrown your role.

Maybe you’ve just gotten so good at what you do that what used to be fun or a challenge for you just isn’t anymore. There was a study done that said that employees are bored 10.5 hours a week, that is more than a full workday in one week. Interestingly, the study also found that managers think their employees are bored only six hours a week. So this tells us that you are more bored than your boss knows and that your boss may suspect that you are a bit bored.

And if you are a manager listening to this, then listen up because your employees are more bored than you think. So we’re going to talk about some quick ways, some quick wins that you can start right away to help you stop feeling bored and bring back some zest or challenge to your work days. So the first one is give yourself a challenge. Yup, let’s gamify your work. If you are bored, but want to stay put and just beat the boredom, make it a game and give yourself a challenge.

Some ideas could be finding one problem a week to solve that no one else has found or set timers throughout the day for some of your mundane tasks and try to beat the clock. You could challenge yourself to work in a different location every day or every week for a month. You could challenge yourself to cut 15 minutes from every meeting you facilitate this month. The goal would be to think of a challenge that would be exciting and motivating for you and make it fun.

Bring some excitement back to your work. Number two, meet new people. Another way to bust boredom is to get to know more people at work. You could set up coffee chats with team members you’d like to get to know better. You could attend one of your company’s webinars or events and make a goal to connect with five people you don’t normally talk to. You see, again, bringing that gaming element in. You could host an open coffee or tea hour at work, virtually or in person.

It could be informal just to get people together and talking. It doesn’t have to be something big and overwhelming. One of my clients had a great idea to do a Zoom Bingo. You would make a bingo card with some of the common virtual meeting mishaps like you’re on mute or technical camera issues or host is late and so on. All of the things that happen so common in this virtual meeting world. Give your team a card and do a little prize for the first person who gets bingo over the course of a couple of weeks or month, based on the frequency of the meetings you have.

You could go on LinkedIn or look at your company directory and reach out to someone you’d like to know better. This will not only bust your boredom, but it will also increase your network and visibility. So it is a win-win. Number three, do a role audit. A role audit is a concept of mine that I teach clients to do when they find themselves bored because they outgrew their job or their responsibilities have creeped and what they do is no longer aligned and to proactively prevent this from happening.

You can learn how to do this in a prior episode, it’s episode 34, Change What You Do Without Changing Your Title. I highly suggest you go back and listen to that episode if you haven’t yet. It will really help you bring challenge back into your work and get your boss on board with making some changes in your responsibilities. I’m going to include talking to your boss under this tip as well, because this is really part of the role audit process.

So if you haven’t told your boss that you could use a challenge by either asking for a stretch assignment or asking to take on new responsibilities or challenges, definitely have that conversation. Number four, change your environment. Sometimes our boredom comes from the same routine and environment, so making tweaks can solve that problem. For example, when I wrote the outline for this episode, I did so outside on my patio. I make an effort to get out of my office at least once a day.

So sometimes I work on my patio, sometimes it’s in the kitchen. You could do this, too, whether you’re at home or at work. Mix it up where you do your work if you can. If you work at an office, see if you can work from home once a week. If you’re always in the same spot, see if you can sit in a common area of another building sometimes. You could change up your desk, bring in a new picture or a plant to spruce it up.

Haha, see what I did there? Tree, plant, spruce. OK, you could change up your commute and you could start driving a different way to and from work. Look at what opportunities you have to change up your normal day to day and see how that helps. Now, you can use any or all of these ways to stop boredom. I’d start with the one that you think addresses the cause of your boredom first, and then if that doesn’t help add another and then add another, like layers of lasagna.

So there you have it, the four ways that you can right now, after listening to this episode, bust some boredom, stop feeling bored and feel more challenged is to give yourself a challenge by gamifying, meet new people, do a role audit and change your environment. All right. I will see you next week. Same time, same place.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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