Some days, you’re so busy at work that you hardly find time to eat lunch or catch your breath between calls, meetings, and projects. Other days, when business is slow or you’re between projects, time seems to move abnormally slowly. It’s on days like these, when you’re bored at work, that you have the best chance to do something truly productive and beneficial.
If being bored at work is getting you down, check out this list of ideas for productive things to do at the office (whether it’s your home office or a swanky building downtown).
6 Things to Do When You’re Bored at Work
1. Research that thing you’ve been meaning to online.
There’s no better time to sit down in front of the computer and start researching that idea or topic you’ve been thinking about lately. It doesn’t necessarily have to be work-related to give you a productivity boost – just be wary of falling down the internet rabbit hole and losing track of time. Give yourself a 30 minute or hour cap on research time to keep yourself on track.
2. Try some Sudoku or Mahjong.
Some call them “brain games,” and there’s a good reason for that. Playing games that are relaxing but force you to do mental acrobatics are a great way to beat being bored at work. Whatever your favorite brain game, pull it out or boot it up and fight the boredom while waking up your mind for more productive work later.
3. Organize and clean your desk.
There’s a good chance that your desk needs to be deeply cleaned and organized at this very moment. Why not use this lull in work to get it done? Start by clearing everything off the desk, sorting the papers and documents that were on it into files and drawers, and picking and choosing the desk decor and supplies that will earn a spot back on your desk. Put the rest in a box to take home so your office doesn’t get cluttered.
4. Pick a new skill to start learning.
Whatever your industry, you can boost your worth in it by learning a new skill or program. Maybe you’ve been thinking about picking up coding or learning the basics of digital marketing. Now is the time to start! The best part about this way to get around being bored at work is that it’s a long-term boredom fighter – you won’t learn your new skill in a day, so you’ll always have something to fall back on when you find yourself bored at work.
5. Organize your email with folders.
Your inbox may not look scary to an outsider, but the feeling you get when you open it and see thousands of unread emails from unknown senders can feel pretty horrifying. Take this time to organize your inbox by creating folders, adding people you communicate with regularly to your contacts list, and unsubscribing from email lists you’re no longer interested in. You’ll be thankful you did it!
6. Read a relevant book.
Sure, there’s no harm in pulling out a mystery or love story, but for the ultimate productive power, try reading a book that’s relevant to your position. One we recommend is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive by Dan Heath and Chip Heath. Pick a book that has great reviews – it’s all about making this down time productive, not wasting it on a book you don’t want to finish!