What to Do When You Are Bored With Your Job?

Boredom at work is common, but should be fixed quickly to avoid a downward spiral.

Boredom at work is common, but should be fixed quickly to avoid a downward spiral.

If you're bored with your job, don't freak out just yet. While career burnout is a very real thing, sometimes it's just temporary fatigue. Slow down and isolate the cause of your boredom before you box up your office and hit the road for good. You might be able to tweak your routine or your job description a bit, or just take a much-needed vacation to boost your enthusiasm.

Assess Your Day

Take note of how you spend most of your day at work. One good practice is to keep a journal tracking your activities and moods for a day in the office. Write down what you're doing each hour at work, and how you're feeling during that hour. You may be able to isolate the cause of your boredom. For example, perhaps you feel burned out in the late morning hours when you're waiting for responses from emails, or sitting through mundane meetings. Or, maybe you feel sluggish and bored after lunch, possibly because of that post-lunch brownie or coffee shop sugar crash. Odds are, you're not miserable all day long, and you can find the source of your burnout and fix it easily.

Talk to an HR Counselor

Perhaps your burnout isn't stemming from a small part of your day, but you have actually excelled at work to a point that your job no longer challenges you. If that's the case, it may be time to take on new responsibilities. Meet with a counselor or supervisor to discuss possibilities for growth within the company. Maybe you're ready to take on more responsibility with clients, participate in travel, manage projects, or train other employees. Organize your ideas and desires before you approach someone at work. When you do, phrase your requests as desires to do more for the company and challenge yourself. Leave boredom out of the vocabulary.

Assess Your Home Life

Maybe it isn't work at all that's boring you. Assess your social life. Maybe you don't spend enough time relaxing with friends, engaging in sports or fitness activities, or following hobbies or interests. If all you do is work, your career is bound to drain you quickly. According to the MayoClinic.com, burnout at work can be caused by a poor balance between work and life. If you're not making adequate time for family or socializing, you may quickly resent and detest your job. Try to schedule "wireless" times at home, where your work cell phone and email are shut down and you spend time with family and friends. Get some exercise, which can lead to better sleep, better concentration, and an uplifted mood.

Consider Options

If all else fails, and you realize your burnout is from a real dissatisfaction with your career, you may consider switching jobs. First, meet with an HR manager or supervisor to see if can move jobs within your company. If you're happy with your work environment but unhappy with your daily tasks, moving into a new position might solve the burnout. Also, consider professional development and continuing education, two things many companies actively encourage. Perhaps you should attend a conference, take a few classes, or head back to the university for the next phase of education. The main idea is that there are options, and burnout doesn't have to feel permanent.

 

About the Author

Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.

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