Boring jobs – we’ve all had them.
If you’re experiencing one right now, it probably feels like your days go on forever with every task a huge effort.
Even worse, you probably feel exhausted by the effort of simply turning up every day.
The worst thing about boredom is that it sucks out your energy, sinks your mood and puts you at risk of being stuck in a negative spiral. This leads to a constant low mood and a feeling of hopelessness.
You need to find a way to get motivated FAST.
Why stay in a boring job?
Before we go any further, let’s get clear on why you might be in a boring job in the first place. There are lots of reasons, including:
- You needed to take a step back before you could move forward in your career and this boring job is an essential step to something much better.
- It was the best job available at the time – and you needed a job. In fact, even though it’s boring, you’re grateful to have it.
- You didn’t think it was going to be a boring job when you took it and you need to stick it out until you find something better.
- It used to be an interesting job but it has changed and now you need to consider what to do next.
- You need a low-stress, fixed-hours job while you plan your new business/study/bring up your kids (basically, while you focus on something more important in your life).
So if you’re stuck in a boring job and can’t leave for a while, you need a strategy for surviving it without losing your zest for life. Here are some ideas to help you stay motivated.
The easiest way to make your job more fun and interesting is to set yourself challenges. There are many ways you can do this but here are some ideas.
Set a time limit
Set a time limit to get a particular piece of work done. If you make it challenging, you’ll start to compete with yourself to get it done before time runs out. If a task usually takes an hour, try to get it done in 50 minutes. That way, it’s not only over faster, you’ll also remain focused because you’re trying to beat the clock.
Alternatively, you could set a timer and work on this task for 20 minutes at a time. You could set yourself three sessions of 20 minutes in a day and painlessly work on this project for an hour.
Give yourself rewards
Giving yourself a reward for completing a dull task is a great way to motivate yourself. Especially if that reward gives you evidence of your success. So if you give yourself a gold star each time you complete a task you dislike, you can see those stars build up and make your achievements are visible.
This works even better if you challenge yourself to get 20 stars in a week and give yourself a reward for achieving this. There are only two rules: you must be honest with yourself and the system you devise must motivate you.
Log your progress
When you monitor your progress, you can create a visual record of what you’ve achieved. That means you always know what you’ve done. It creates a huge sense of achievement. With each milestone you reach, you can celebrate and enjoy the fact that you’ve won in some way. These wins give you little emotional highs and motivate you to achieve more.
If you have a boring job to do or a task you dislike doing, seeing your progress will help you keep going to the end. And if you have a big piece of work to finish, breaking it down into manageable sections by creating milestones for yourself will give you something to aim for.
Above all, keeping a record of your progress helps remind you that a task or project will be over at some point. It’s a moment in time, not your whole life.
Be a positive influence
Staying positive is an important antidote to the sense of inertia you can get from being in a boring job. Challenge yourself to achieve in different ways.
Decide to be the best
You may think that being the best in your team or role is a waste of time if the job is a total bore. But being the best is a huge challenge and taking it on will help you switch your mindset from one of endurance to achievement.
Make a difference
It’s easy to convince yourself that you can’t do anything creative or innovative in a boring job. But there’s always room for improvement in any role. Perhaps you could make certain functions in your job faster, easier or cheaper to perform. Not only will that get you noticed, it could leave you free to take on more interesting tasks and projects that arrive later.
Take on a support role within your team or company
There are often rewarding voluntary roles available within a company. These can include mentoring another member of staff, taking on responsibility for organising social events or acting as a liaison between the organisation and the community. Find out if there’s anything like this on offer and if it appeals to you, ask to be considered for it. Don’t take on another role that bores you just to add something different to your day.
Make your job more interesting
There are lots of ways to ring the changes at work if you look for them. Even attending a meeting that you wouldn’t normally go to can break up a dull day. Volunteer to run errands, do work nobody else wants to do or that isn’t included in your job description and generally look for the chance to break up your day and make it more interesting.
Develop your people skills
If you don’t have a chance to develop practical skills or learn something new in your job, make the decision to develop your people skills. Maybe you could improve your customer service skills (we all have customers, even if they’re inside our own organisation), be a brilliant team player or be the go-to person for resolving customer complaints. Be a leader, not a follower.
Make the most of company training schemes
Being bored can be painful, so it’s worth taking up any opportunities for training. Your organisation might be willing for you to take courses and do training that helps you do more interesting work. You never know what you might learn, who you might meet or what inspiration you might get on a training day. Apart from anything else, it’ll get you away from your desk and into a new environment with new people for a while.
There’s more to life than work
Even if your work is boring, there’s no reason why the rest of your life can’t be interesting. A boring job usually comes with set hours, so you’ll have more time for your hobbies and interests, as well as for socialising and spending time with family and friends. Put your focus elsewhere in your life if leaving isn’t an option right now.
Develop a Lemonade mindset
As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Your mindset and attitude to your tedious job will make a huge difference to the way you experience it. If you keep telling yourself (and others), how bored you are or how you hate your work, you’re going to dig yourself into a hole that you’ll find hard to escape. You’ll also alienate your colleagues as they don’t want to hear you constantly droning on about how bored you are.
Count your blessings
Every cloud has a silver lining – what’s the silver lining in your situation? What can you appreciate about this job? Maybe it’s a boring job, but at least you’re in work, your job isn’t stressful, you get paid holidays… whatever there is to appreciate about your situation, make sure you acknowledge it. This will lift your mood and alter your perspective when you’re having a bad day.
Plan your next step
If you’re bored at work and you want (and can) leave, it’s important that you make a plan to move on.
Apart from escaping the soul-sucking tedium of a boring job, if you don’t plan to leave, you could end up staying far longer than you meant to.
If you need help, Career Consultants can help you make an achievable plan that will help you see the light at the end of the dull job tunnel.
When you fix your gaze on a better future, the issues in the present begin to feel less heavy. Taking action is the perfect antidote to fear and boredom, so don’t sit in a dull job for too long. You need stimulation and the opportunity to grow, so give yourself that opportunity.
Do reach out if you need an exit plan or advice about how to plan your next step.