Dealing with Boredom at Work: Make a Big Splash

Here are some telltale signs that you are, in fact, bored at work:

  • You feel restless.
  • You feel as if you’re not being challenged.
  • You are surfing the web. Mainly about non-work stuff.
  • You find yourself eating at you desk…a lot.
  • The office water cooler has become your desk.

I’m sure there are more, but I’d like to get past the boredom and on to the exciting stuff.

Being bored with your work means you’ve got to change your work. It’s not the job you need to change, it’s the calling you need to change. Should you simply leave your workplace and do the same calling somewhere else, boredom is bound to creep back in. Now, if you’re content to stay in this job over the long haul, that’s fine…but you won’t find yourself doing awesome work over that haul. I’m sure that if you’re at this site that this isn’t the case, so we’ll move on.

Being bored at work isn’t exactly the same as being bored with your work. If it’s the environment that is causing your boredom, then it’s not your calling that has you feeling that way. Rather, it’s how your calling is being handled in that environment that is doing so. That’s why transfers often perk up the most bored workers – they’re in a new environment doing what they enjoy doing.

I’ve been down both of these roads. I ended up going down both of them because I fell into the second category first – being bored at work. Then, after a transfer, I found that the root cause was being bored with my work. What I was doing wasn’t my calling. I’ve discussed how I found this out in a previous article – how my journey has lead me to where I am now. However, even when I wasn’t “ready” to make the leap to my true calling, I hooked my way out of boredom by doing something big.

Remember when you used to jump into the deep end of the pool like a cannonball? There was a feeling of both exhilaration and a bit of panic all rushing over you all at once – at least the first time you ever did it. Now think back to what it was like learning to tread water. Sure, it was necessary to learn but it was pretty boring. If someone told you that you could either wade into the deep end and start treading water or jump right in with a big cannonball splash, what would you do? While treading water is the safe bet, I much rather would have the thrill of the jump instead. In fact, I’ve had a a few “big splash” moments in my life thus far.

My transfer was the first big splash I’d made. I jump-started my career and did something bold. Uprooting my life and moving across the country pretty much qualified as such in my book. When I look back on it now, while it may not have seemed like a big splash…the ripple effect it has had over the course of my life since then has been enormous.

Boredom doesn’t do anything but keep your productivity and your best work at bay. You end up procrastinating and in some cases end up turning that boredom into disdain for what you do – or where you do it. This time of boredom is the best time to decide to do something big to shake things up. The reasoning behind this is simple: you’ve got nothing better to do…at least, in your own mind.

Even now, I’m finding that I need to shake things up once again. I think it is part of human nature to aspire…some exercise that because they’re willing to break through the amount of time and energy it takes to do so, while others don’t and simply settle. That’s easier, after all. You have to exert constant energy to will – to push – yourself to a higher level. I made a decision a long time ago never to settle. Life is too short. Way too short.

During times of boredom you need to figure out the following:

Why am I bored? What am I bored with?

Be honest with yourself. These two are the toughest questions to ask yourself but if you answer honestly it is much easier to answer the others.

Where am I bored? When am I bored?

At work? At home? On this planet? Doing work? Doing life? Just existing?

Once you’ve answered those questions you can move towards making that “big splash” we’ve been talking about. More questions naturally arise from this:

When should I do it?

How should I do it?

Where should I do it?

And the final one I’ll fill in for you…

Why should I do it?

Because everyone deserves to see the best you have to offer.

But more importantly…you deserve the best you have to offer.

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Mike Vardy an editor on Work Awesome. We could tell you where his personal productivity parody site, Eventualism and all of his other projects reside on the web, but you'd be best served going to and following the trail of virtual bread crumbs from there.


  1. Emre Kılınç on the 10th April

    Perfect article…

  2. Letitia Sweitzer on the 11th April

    Good point–do something bold to shake up the scene. I coach people who are bored, sometimes students, sometimes older people. I coach by phone all over the country. Boredom is big in decision making. Boredom can be depressing. Boredom can push you to creativity and invention. I support people in finding their elements of interest because everyone’s pattern of interest is different. Then the person can bring those elements into work, or find those elements outside of work, or find work with those elements. Once you know what they are, you can make it happen. THe do something bold, anything bold might not be the wisest but it will shake boredom as newness is the most common Element of Interest. See me at Coach with me for a month and see what a different approach you can experience.

  3. Julius on the 12th April

    For me, finding another work area and rearranging my main area for work have caused a relatively big splash and have somehow minimized boredom. I found a more quiet place where a place with trees is easily accessible, and it really takes away stress and boredom.

  4. Jennifer McLaughin on the 30th April

    I can totally relate with being bored at work! Here recently at my job we got a new software system and now I know longer am needed for what i got hired for. So then i became a CAC (signing consumers up for healthcare) and now the enrollment period has ended. So,I have volunteered to do ANYTHING here at my workplace. It still doesn’t keep me busy! I live in a small town and there is not a lot of jobs.So i feel stuck! Boredom has become my life it seems. It really makes me depressed at times coming here. No one understands how that feels until they go through it! Some people may say they would love to be bored at work but NO YOU WOULD’NT! Id rather feel like at the end of the day i actually accomplished something. This makes me feel useless!!!

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