Office Blues: How To Not Be Bored at Work
By: Mary Bowers
Allegis Group - Summer Intern
It's the day before a holiday, raining, a Friday afternoon, or maybe you've finally gotten caught up on all of your assignments. And bordem sets in.
It happens to everyone, but don't fear; there are many things you can do to stay occupied and productive until the the whistle blows.
Below are a few tips on how to make it through office boredom:
It is a healthy practice to get up one to two times each hour and walk around, stretch, and give your eyes a break from the computer screen. Not only will this pass a few minutes but it will also act as a little energy boost. If you don't feel up to leaving your desk, stretch your arms and back from your chair or stand up for a few seconds to straighten your legs. After sitting at a desk for an extended period of time joints and muscles become stiff and the body relaxes. Keep it active with stretch times.
The army does it, so shouldn't you? Snacking is a healthy practice. As humans we are supposed to eat a small portion every two hours to keep metabolism up and to keep our energy levels steady. Make it a habit to keep something quick you can eat throughout the day in your desk drawer along with a drink to sip on. Try to choose snacks without a lot of refined sugars; these snacks can cause a sugar rush that may do more harm than good.
Not only does snacking help you feel better, buying and consuming it is an "event" that helps to break up your day. Get up and discard or recycle any wrappers or containers to add a little exercise to your snacking routine.
Nothing helps pass time like a little personalization to the work area. Take a few minutes each day and think about how you would like to decorate your desk or cubical area. Once you have a basic idea, start bringing items in one at a time or a few at a time and set them up. Once your work area has been customized, your environment with feel different and it may be more relaxing to work on stressful assignments. Also, you will have things to stare at if you are having trouble brainstorming an idea or just need to take a break. Lastly, with personalization in the office you will be creating a conversation piece for people walking by which may also aid in passing time between assignments.
There is always work to be done! Even if everything you have been assigned is completed, there is something to do in the office. If you know what projects are coming up and can do any work towards them, go for it. Otherwise, go to your boss and talk to him or her about what projects may be coming up or if there is anything at the moment he or she needs help with that you may be able to do. This will help you later on when maybe several projects pile up at one time all with deadlines. Having work done ahead of time will make meeting future deadlines much easier. Also, if you do get assigned something from your boss and do well with it you may be given additional job responsibilities which would give you more to do during the day.
During your stretch time, as people pass by your cube, or during lunch, ask people how they are doing. It is important to always be kind to your co-workers therefore greeting them is also important. You may not want to hold them up by dragging conversation out for ten minutes, but just a quick greeting followed by a possible comment about a project you know they have been working on is acceptable. During lunch you could hold longer conversations, but otherwise anything from a quick greeting to a minute or so of conversation is plenty and will make work seem to go by quicker giving you a more variety in the day.
After big projects things can get cluttered around the desk. Especially after being at a job for an extended period of time, drawers and files can become crowded or simply out-dated. Spend between five and ten minutes each day straightening up an area of your office space. You could dedicate one day to a different section in order to give you something to do during slow work periods over a week or so. Throw out old papers, sort through files and bring the most recent documents to the top of the pile, check your pens to make sure they all have ink, and sort through old e-mails and delete what you don't need anymore. This will add to the environment of your office space by refreshing things a bit and giving you more room to work in.
There is no real challenge to finding things to do at work to keep you occupied during slow times. Above all, it is important to communicate with other team members to ensure everything for each project has been completed to the fullest and that nobody has gotten stuck doing more work than anybody else on the team. By taking this extra time and putting the extra effort into each assignment you may never become bored at the office.