Work is a necessary evil, at least if you like to eat. And it can often be boring as heck. Although the necessity to work may not go away, you can nip the evil and boring parts in the bud by jazzing up your job in several ways. A few simple suggestions can help transform even the most mundane activities into a barrel of fun. OK, maybe not a barrel of fun. But at least you’ll stop being bored to tears at work.
1. Change your attitude
First off, stop calling your job boring. If you consider your job boring and keep saying your job is boring, your job has no other choice but to live up to your boring expectations. It’s the same concept that guides the power of positive – or negative – thinking.
For instance, if you expect to go somewhere and hate it, odds are you’re going to get there and hate it. If you keep an open mind or actually dare to think you’ll enjoy something, the same can come true. Do that with your work.
Make a list of all the positive things you do and the positive things that come out of it. Boring can become beautiful, or at least tolerable, if you realize the positive impact each task has on someone, somewhere. Maybe the impact will be making your boss happy, which is always a good thing. Perhaps you’re solving a problem that will stop the office computer network from crashing. That’s a good thing, too. Just look at all the good things you do!
2. Play the time frame game
Turning tedious tasks into games is another way to help beat the boredom. Instead of picking up yet another stack of rote phone calls you need to make or typing you need to do, look at the big stack as a challenge.
Choose a time frame and try to complete as much as the stack as possible before your time runs out. Another way to do it is to time yourself doing routine chores and attempt to better your time with each run-through. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice quality while playing the time frame game unless you want to play the game from the unemployment line.
Nor do you want to set an impossible 20-minute time frame for a task that usually takes all day. This can only serve to enrage you. Be realistic and have a bit of fun. The game also gives you a good excuse to ignore those annoying coworkers. You can’t chat right now, sorry, but you must finish this stack of typing within the next 8 minutes and 22 seconds or your head will turn into a giant pumpkin.
3. Stop ignoring your coworkers
Although you do need to tune out senseless chatter when you’re working on a particularly challenging task, you can still engage in conversation when you’re able. A bad job can be a great job with good people around, just as a great job can be a crummy job if you’re stuck working with a bunch of stiffs. Don’t be that stiff.
Besides, burrowing your head in your cubicle all day without any human contact can turn you into one of those people who no longer even know how to interact with others. If you think your job is boring, just wait until you see the monotony being a social outcast brings.
4. Personalize your workspace
Working in a cubicle that looks like a plain old prison cell does not do much for job enjoyment. Nor does it do much for your psyche. Spruce up your computer area and desk with photos of your loved ones or pets, silly cartoons, colorful artwork or other knick-knacks that give you a feel-good vibe. You simply can’t stay grouchy and bored when you’re dog is drooling and smiling at you from a picture frame.
5. Sit on a ball
Too many people sit around slouching at work, a habit that can add to boredom as well as neck and back problems. The boredom can especially set in if you’re one of those workers who sits fully reclined with your chest against the desk, an instant recipe for falling asleep on the job.
Try sitting on one of those blow-up exercise balls instead of a standard office chair. The ball forces you to correct your posture and sit up straight while it strengthens your core muscles and reduces your chances of getting office-chair-fat-butt. An otherwise boring day will also be spruced up by everyone who sees your blow-up ball and must ask you about it at length.
Exercising can help relieve boredom as well as tension, stress and that crink you get in your neck from stooping over the computer all day. You probably don’t want to hop on your desk and do jumping jacks, but you can incorporate exercise into your work routine to help fight irritation and fatigue.
Invest in one of those under-the-desk pedal machines and mimic riding a bike as you’re merrily typing away. You can also perform stretching and bending exercises, take a brisk walk during your breaks and learn to walk things across the office instead of sending an IM or email. At the very least, get up and walk around once every hour or so to keep your blood pumping freely to your head.
7. Take glee in the little things
Who knew colored paper clips could be exciting? Well, they may not be as exciting as something like getting a $1 million raise but they can brighten your mood and attitude if you let the little things count. Paying attention to small, cheerful details and occurrences is an automatic way to turn a ho-hum day into a 24-hour stretch peppered with lovely moments.
If you’re in charge of buying office supplies, you’re really in luck. Neon notepads, color-coordinated file folders and fancy label makers are all at your fingertips! Gleeful moments go far beyond lavender legal pads, however, and can include an amusing interaction with a client or coworker, positive feedback from a boss or even a pigeon perched on an office windowsill that is quizzically giving you the eye.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with other ways to increase the joy of your job. As long as you don’t end up working too little or laughing too loud, your new attitude may take you far from boredom and closer to job satisfaction. Super-loud laughter will probably just get you in trouble for disturbing all those bored-to-death stiffs.