“It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than be absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe
Your curiosity made you click on the article titled “35 productive things to do when bored at work.” After reading this piece, you’ll be amazed to learn how you can utilize your free time at work, which is better than wasting your energy on irrelevant things.
When I was a kid, my parents would often tell me that people who do nothing all day are the ones who fail to find a solution to a common question- How to be more productive?
People who work never get bored because they are occupied with work, they would say.
Many years later, sitting in the comfort of my room, I am feeling bored. Why am I feeling bored? I am doing my work, collaborating with my team online, monitoring the tasks and projects’ progress, creating reports, and all that stuff.
Still, amid the heaps of work, I feel bored. But my parents would say that the only people who get bored are those who do nothing. Now my parents laugh off this notion of theirs.
The fact is we all get bored at some point or the other, irrespective of how busy we are in our lives. Of course, when you’re bored at work you don’t want to continue with the same activity that has worn you out.
Let’s zero in on the boredom at work because this article is written for working pros who often have to fight melancholy without having an effective solution to deal with it.
Let me ask you a question that applies to both in-office workers and remote workers – What do you do when you’re bored at work? If you’re working from home then there are good chances you’d probably have a coffee break, listen to music, watch TV, or the most common remedy to boredom – take a nap.
On the other hand, if you’re working from a regular office space then you don’t have as much leverage as remote workers do (pun intended). You are not supposed to waste time at work. If you’re bored, there are other things to do besides having a cup of coffee and engaging in watercooler conversations.
Okay, I know you also check your social media accounts frequently but we don’t want to be spending time on activities that add up to nothing. Alleviating our boredom doesn’t mean we should be wasting our time on things that are of little or no use to us.
So, what are some of the most productive things to do when you’re bored at work?
I have fought boredom at the workplace and realized soon that I can’t waste my time on unproductive activities. I created a list of productive activities to do at the workplace when bored, and I gradually added more things with time.
Here, I am sharing with you some simple and engaging activities you can do when you need to deviate your attention from grueling work sessions. These activities will help you relax and rejuvenate your mind, and you’ll be able to switch back to your tasks with newfound energy.
Doing these activities will help you utilize your spare time efficiently rather than wasting it.
35 Productive things to do when bored at the workplace
Table of Contents
- 1. Go out for a stroll
- 2. Appreciate your team members
- 3. Check your emails
- 4. Assess your performance
- 5. Organize your workspace
- 6. Hone your skills
- 7. Organize your files in one place
- 8. Read books
- 9. Prioritize your tasks
- 10. Update your resume
- 11. Minimize distractions
- 12. Indulge in domestic chores
- 13. Help your colleagues
- 14. Work on your mental & physical health
- 15. Financial planning
- 16. Check your tasks’ status
- 17. Watch a TED talk
- 18. Grow your professional network
- 19. Do your research
- 20. Listen to productivity podcasts
- 21. Evaluate your productivity timings
- 22. Maintain a journal
- 23. Set goals for the next year
- 24. Find a new hobby
- 25. Figure out ways to improve team collaboration
- 26. Share your expertise
- 27. Make your grocery list in advance
- 28. Step away for a lunch
- 29. Grab a coffee with the CEO
- 30. Research upcoming industry conferences
- 31. Reach out to old contacts
- 32. Make an unexpected weekend plan
- 33. Find your next job
- 34. Write a blog
- 35. Meditate at your desk
- Wrapping it up
1. Go out for a stroll
Whether you’re a remote worker or working from a regular office space, go out for a stroll for some time when job melancholy gets the better of you. It is much better than sitting idle in a chair. This productive activity will help your body as well as mind as both will get a much-needed change in surroundings. It will also help to improve blood circulation in your body as you get an opportunity to move away and think something new about work or personal life.
2. Appreciate your team members
When was the last time you appreciated your fellow workers for good performance? Whether you’re a project manager or a team member, appreciating other people for a job well done can go a long way in improving team camaraderie. Moreover, such acts can help break the ice between team members.
3. Check your emails
Is your inbox full of emails that you never checked, leave alone replying to them? It’s a common problem with so many working people. They are so busy with their work schedules that they don’t get enough time to check all their emails. When you’re bored at your workplace, you can check all your unchecked emails, filter spam/junk emails out, and reply to those that are important.
4. Assess your performance
When making a list of productive things to do when bored at work, it’s one of the more important things to do – assess your performance yourself. Do you think you are progressing in your work, or you have reached a plateau? You can plan your future course of action based on your current job situation – seek better opportunities elsewhere or achieve career growth in your current organization.
5. Organize your workspace
Do you know that a neat and clean workspace can improve our productivity as well as the overall mood? Your workspace can get messy and untidy, and it can have an adverse effect on your productivity. So, take a look around and declutter and organize your workspace to give it a neat, professional look where you want to work for hours.
6. Hone your skills
Learning never stops. You might be a skilled project manager or an efficient team member, there’s always room for improvement. You can use your free time at the workspace to brush up on your skills and acquire new knowledge. You can enroll with trending online learning courses (related to your work), which will help you improve your skillset besides giving you an upper hand over other pros in the same industry.
7. Organize your files in one place
This is the digital age. Heaps of paperwork have been replaced by digital files that you can easily create, store, and manage in a centralized location through a good file management tool that is inbuilt in a top project management software like ProofHub. You can use your boring time to upload, store, and organize all your digital files in a single place. You can access them easily and collaborate on them even when you’re on the go, through a mobile app.
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8. Read books
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” There’s so much to learn by reading books as the old saying goes. So, go and grab a book that is based on a topic that you find interesting to read. It can be general affairs, fiction, humor, suspense, sports, inspirational, etc. No matter what type of book you read, you only stand to gain from it.
9. Prioritize your tasks
Do you prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency? If not then you should do it ASAP. You can use your free time to filter your tasks and work on them in that order. Generally, tasks are prioritized into the following categories:
- Urgent and Important (do it now)
- Important but not urgent (schedule them)
- Urgent but not important (delegate them)
- Not important, not urgent (eliminate them)
10. Update your resume
Updating your resume is one of the most productive things to do when you’re bored at work, especially if you are seeking job opportunities elsewhere. It’s possible that recruiters are not impressed with the outdated resume that you left unchanged for quite some time now. Your skills, qualifications, and job responsibilities have likely increased in recent times. You never know from where your next chance is coming so update your resume at the earliest.
11. Minimize distractions
Where there’s work, there are distractions and they kill your productivity. They are in the form of chatty colleagues, mobile usage, watercooler conversations, kids and pets, domestic chores, texting, frequent meetings, cluttered workspace, etc. You need tominimize distractions to improve your focus and productivity. Make a list of everything that hampers your work and figure out how these can be removed.
12. Indulge in domestic chores
This one is for remote workers who often juggle domestic work and professional work. You can always do some personal stuff when you’re bored at work. You can try your hand at cooking, playing with kids or teaching them, or assisting your family members in household chores. There’s so much stuff to do when at home. You can always utilize your free time for these activities rather than mixing them with work.
13. Help your colleagues
The word collaboration holds utmost importance in the context of teamwork. Spending your free time is not always about using it for yourself. Some of your team members might be stuck in their work then you could help them out to do their work quickly and efficiently. This idea might appear off the line or even weird, but it will show you in a positive light that you’re not only a good performer but also an excellent team player.
14. Work on your mental & physical health
Boredom is considered one of the main causes of depression and anxiety. You stand the risk of losing energy and motivation to achieve both your short-term and long-term goals. Use your free time for exercise, which can help you break the monotony and give you that energy boost to finish that task. Go out for a walk, jogging, swimming, or biking. You can also meditate and do yoga for better mental health benefits.
15. Financial planning
Can there be a more productive thing to do when bored at work then using this time to manage your finances? Track your expenses compared to your income, and note down unnecessary expenses that punch a hole in your wallet. Do some research on various savings and investment plans in the market today. Always prioritize saving money for the rainy day, especially during uncertain times like these.
16. Check your tasks’ status
You might be busy with your task at hand, but it’s important to keep an eye on the status of your other tasks too. What will you do once you’re done with your current task in hand? Which task will you begin working on? Have you been assigned new tasks? Is there a pending task with a looming deadline? Use a good task management tool to find out the accurate status of all tasks you’re assigned so that you can plan accordingly.
17. Watch a TED talk
Let’s get it straight. Watching a TED talk can be considered as the responsible person’s method of procrastinating. Yeah, you’re killing time but others assume that you’re working on something meaningful. By the way, Ted Talks are more useful than web series you’ve been watching, so have it. Many wise brains talk there on a variety of topics, so there are good chances you will learn new things.
18. Grow your professional network
In your free time, make new professional connections through apps like LinkedIn. Recruiters these days are highly active on LinkedIn; your posts are getting noticed. Do you know that even a single post of yours can land you a good job through LinkedIn? Widen your professional network and make sure that you only post engaging and meaningful content on this platform.
19. Do your research
One of the most productive things to do when you’re bored at work is to carry out some research on the latest online tools available. If you’re using time tracking, project management, or virtual communication tools then you should use your free time to research whether there are better tools available that offer more than what your current lot does. You might end up saving valuable money that way besides getting more functionality and ease of usage.
20. Listen to productivity podcasts
Productivity podcasts can help you to uplift your morale and be on the top of your game. The best thing about productivity podcasts is that you can listen to them even while carrying out other activities, like walking, driving, or having your coffee. Refine your search and find tips and tricks from thought leaders and entrepreneurs who are inspiring people to bring a positive change in their lives and make their careers more lucrative.
21. Evaluate your productivity timings
Statistics show that individuals get most of their work done (9.7%) in the pre-lunch session of the day. You can use good time tracking software and find out whether you are at your productive best during morning hours or post-noon. If you kind of drag yourself during the daytime, pull your socks up and try to get through most of your important tasks during the day. This will enable you to get more work done and still have ample time left to do other work.
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22. Maintain a journal
Do you pen down your thoughts, goals, achievements, wishes, ideas, etc., in a personal diary or journal? Journaling is now considered an effective method for stress relief as writing down your inner thoughts helps to declutter your mind and focus on things that matter to you. It is also a good problem-solving tool as one can jot down the problem as well as come up with potential solutions on a piece of paper.
23. Set goals for the next year
There are many productive things to do when bored at work. One of them is setting targets and goals. Even if you’re still a few months away from a new year, it helps to create an outline of your future goals. This will give you a direction to work towards as well as compare your performance with that of previous years. While setting goals, useSMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)metrics. This will also help you be accountable for your written plans.
24. Find a new hobby
How long has it been since you added a new hobby to your list? Are there hobbies that have aroused your interest in the past but you were unable to keep up? It’s time to discover new hobbies that not only allow you to spend your time productively but also contribute to honing your skills.
25. Figure out ways to improve team collaboration
These are days of remote working and you are likely working remotely too. Is your team facing collaboration issues, which are causing some tasks to get delayed and projects deviating off the track? You can bring all your team members on the same page through good project management andteam collaboration software likeProofHubthat offers a wide range of tools in a centralized location. This will help your team collaborate seamlessly on tasks and projects, and yield desired results.
Do you know that sharing your expertise on the internet can help many people find a potential solution to their problems? Surprised? Don’t be. Go to Quora and check how many people post their questions in the hope to find a relevant reply. You can also share your tips on LinkedIn and Quora on topics you have a good understanding of. You will be amazed at how you will receive so many “thank you” from people who found your expertise useful.
27. Make your grocery list in advance
Okay, many people might not consider this activity as productive, but it helps to save a lot of time. You can take my word for it. Make a list of all essential items that you need this weekend, and you are less likely to forget the prime ingredients in a planned barbeque. This planned grocery list will also help you in checking how much you’re spending on what items, and what items you can remove from the list.
28. Step away for a lunch
Do you take your lunch at your desk? If yes then it’s time to move away because eating at your desk might make you sleepy and feel disconnected from your coworkers. Further, research from Cornell found that getting lunch with teammates can improve team performance through the mundane and powerful activity of eating.
29. Grab a coffee with the CEO
Meeting your CEO over a cup of coffee may give you anxiety attacks, but it’s not as nerve-wracking an experience as made out to be. In fact, such meetings can help you to know more about your company and what are the expectations of the top brass from you. You can also offer some suggestions which you think can help your company have a leading edge over competitors.
30. Research upcoming industry conferences
Research when the next industry conference is scheduled and attend it if it’s in proximity to your location. These days, most industry conferences are taking place virtually, which means you can participate in them from the comfort of your home. This will give you a chance to grow your network as well as improve industry know-how. Taking a break for a new task will reduce fatigue and boredom with your typical to-do list.
31. Reach out to old contacts
We are so busy with our professional and personal commitments that we lose touch with old contacts from our friends and family circle. This communication gap can lead to misunderstandings in relationships. Use your free time to connect with old contacts and let them know that they are always in your thoughts.
32. Make an unexpected weekend plan
Why not use your hard-earned money on a weekend trip that can give you memories for a lifetime? I guess this is one of the most productive things to do when bored in the workplace. You can postpone your purchase of a new technical gadget or clothing and rather visit a new place you’ve never traveled to. Research shows that experiential purchases give us more fulfilling experiences as compared to materialistic ones. So, go on a hike, camping, bike ride, or something totally crazy — bungee jumping, scuba diving, etc.
33. Find your next job
It’s possible that you’ve reached the nadir in your current organization. You are bored because you no longer enjoy your work and feel stuck in the rut. If boredom is frequent and not occasionally then it’s time you start looking for the next job that can offer the type of work and environment you need. That said, don’t tender resignation impulsively. Use online job portals to look for job openings, update your resume, contact recruiters, send job applications to a few places. This can take time so it’s better you start soon.
34. Write a blog
Do you run a blogging site? If not then this is the right time to do it. If you run a blog then you can use your free time to pen down a new blog that reflects your current state of mind. Write about the topic that you love and share your creation with other people on social media.
35. Meditate at your desk
In case you don’t want to move from your desk, this activity can help you de-stress and improve your focus. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It helps to bring your focus back to the present and soothes you. Sometimes it’ll calm you so much you may fall asleep.
Wrapping it up
I hope that much of your dilemma on how to be productive during bored time at work is resolved by now. There are, and there’ll be days when you will be fed up with your robotic, repetitive, and hectic work schedule.
Rather than wasting your time on unproductive activities that are of little or no benefit, you can choose to indulge in some engaging activities that can give your exhausted mind some much-needed breathing space.
What better way to use your free time than doing things that can help you a lot, both professionally and personally, in the long run? The choice is yours.