Don’t Be Bored at Work: 7 Productive Ways to Fill Downtime

Posted July 27, 2012

Boredom kills -- well, not literally. Succumbing to it at work, however, can totally kill your motivation, causing you to (oh horror of horrors) disengage and become all around unhappy. Next thing you know, you’re the guy in the coffee line no one wants to stand behind because you just ooze negativity.

You might be overqualified, underappreciated or, heck, working at a job that’s just too easy for you. Whatever the reason — if boredom has you yawning at work, grab some sort of beverage that will give you a jumpstart (we’re thinking caffeinated, not alcoholic) and beat your boredom once and for all. Don’t sit like a potato!

First thing on the list: your vocab. From here on out, there is no such thing as “downtime,” only “opportunity time,” says Robby Slaughter, productivity and workflow expert and principal at Slaughter Development. Opportunities are meant to be seized!

Check out these awesome boredom busters the next time you find yourself clockwatching, and seize your opportunity!

1. Tell it to your Blog

Start an industry blog—one that shares fascinating, nail-biting insights, commentary and news updates about your job. Even if you don’t grow a huge Bieber-style blog fan base, it’ll help you learn more from others in your industry. To get started, comb through blog directories like BlogHub.com to find fellow bloggers. Google, of course, is your best friend for this.

2. Invest a Little Bonding Time with a Coworker

Nothing beats boredom like a stimulating conversation. “With all the virtual communication we have these days with technology, a personal check-in is much appreciated as long as you are not keeping your colleagues from doing their work,” says Joyce Marter, psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance.

3. Re-energize with Some Midday Meditation or Yoga

Ommmmmm. Even if your company doesn’t offer a fancy gym, you don’t need much equipment to practice a few Yoga poses. Find a quiet spot outside because A few minutes of self-care can clear out the cobwebs and make you more productive at work,” Marter says. Squeeze some time in for exercise on slow days and get away from the hullabaloo.

4. Expand your Virtual Network

Take this opportunity to make some new virtual contacts outside of your office. Cue LinkedIn, your second best friend. Write a killer, personalized LinkedIn message and reach out to experts in your industry. Join a professional group or two and check out their discussions. LinkedIn even offers a “Groups You May Like” feature (hover over the “groups” tab to find it).

5. Prep for your Performance Review

If someone were to ask you what your three greatest accomplishments are so far this year, could you answer them? Stay ahead of the curve and keep track of your achievements. This will save you a truckload of time when performance review time comes around. Here’s your handy-dandy to-do list to get you started:
  • Gather all emails and reports that include recognition and positive feedback.
  • Handpick your top achievements over the past year.
  • Keep track of past mistakes or projects where you could have done better.
  • Research your salary and see what others in your position are making.

6. Do Something for Someone Else

You will feel good and look good! “Even volunteering to organize a file room or shared workspace is something that would probably be appreciated and show that you are a team player and invested in your workplace,” Marter says.

7. Brainstorm

Grab your umbrella and create a brain storm -- make it rain with your brilliant ideas! “Ultimately, anytime we are not actively working on mission-critical activity we should be doing something to enable us to be better at mission-critical work in the future,” Slaughter says.

Go above and beyond by brainstorming ways to make your job more effective and anything else you can do to help the company’s bottom line.

photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviewssalary informationcareer advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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