It may be safe to say boredom is at an all-time high, given we have spent almost a whole year indoors and social distancing. If it isn’t pacing around your house looking for what to do, it is bugging your colleagues at work for no reason. Or, scouring the internet for how to not be bored.
Researchers from York University, Canada concluded that boredom doesn’t come from a lack of what to do. Instead, it often stems from not being able to do what we want to do at that time. That is why it is common to be bored even with a chunk of work staring at you.
This article will show you how to not be bored, whether at work or home.
How to not be bored at Home
1. Focus on the bigger picture
“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.” -William Inge.
It is easier to get bored when work becomes routine and monotonous. Your brain then looks for a spark or something more exciting to shift to temporarily at such a time.
Always remind yourself of why you even started. With that in focus, it can get easier to keep your mind engaged in that activity to achieve the bigger goal.
2. Create new routines
During the Covid19 lockdown season, many people had to stay home from school, work and all the daily stuff that made up our lives: the result, boredom.
To keep yourself from getting bored, scientists recommend finding new routines that may provide similar challenges to keep your mind active. Create these for workouts, learning new courses, etc.
3. Try something new
When you grow accustomed to doing certain things over and over, it takes the fun out of them. Then, it will not be long before your brain needs something new to stay engaged.
Scientists suggest that this phenomenon is most common with the current generation. These rely on external sources for entertainment like TV and video games and don’t often know what interests them, which causes boredom.
Therefore, you can figure out how to not be bored by learning something new. It gives your mind a new high and helps acquire new skills and knowledge, which prevents boredom in the long run.
4. Indulge in things you love
For many, some hobbies are often equally mentally tasking. This rules them out as options to overcome boredom. Such hobbies like writing don’t sound as appealing when you just want to do something with little effort.
A great way to get around this is to allow yourself to indulge in some guilty pleasures. Have you been typing away at your computer all day? How about binge-watching that new season you’ve been putting off, or doing some online shopping. You never know what you might find on sale.
5. Get rid of routine
It sounds counter-intuitive but introducing spontaneity could add a little flavor to your activities. That, in turn, keeps you from getting bored.
Routine activities get boring with time. You wake up at the same time every day, do the same things, meet the same people, etc. It will not be long until boredom knocks. Yet, when you do something new, it awakens dormant parts of your mind.
For example, try out a new restaurant instead of the usual drive-through. Or, make breakfast yourself instead of grabbing a bite on your way to school.
6. Connect with other people
Looking for a way how to not be bored when stuck alone, for example in quarantine, embrace some human connections. Instead of staying in silence and solitude, call up a friend as you cook and clean. Get on a video call with a sibling for no reason, etc.
The best social moments are usually unplanned and unstructured. Yet, they can raise your spirits and give you something new to talk and think about.
7. Check the to-do list
Sometimes you get bored even with a lot of things undone around you. You simply lack the motivation to get on it or even forget it has to be done.
Now is the time to revisit that to-do list you have been editing for months. Find something you can do now and get on it. Maybe when you see how long that list is getting, you may develop the motivation to start reducing it.
If you need an extra push even for that, challenge yourself to complete at least one of those things before you can reward yourself with some fun.
8. Cook something new
During the COVID lockdown, it seems everybody became a chef in their own right. After all, being stuck at home, unable to go anywhere whenever you want is bound to make you visit your fridge more. So, why not learn how to cook stuff.
Nowadays, you can learn almost any dish with YouTube. So, challenge yourself to learn something new, whether it is how to make KFC-like chicken or new ways of frying eggs. It is bound to keep you excited and looking forward to something.
Boredom is a symptom of physical monotony according to research. It is a sign you need to switch things up. What better way than to give yourself something new to be passionate about by volunteering.
You could sign up of help at your local orphanage, or at elderly homes. It gives you additional responsibility, inner happiness, and something to positively occupy you for the long run.
10. Find new hobbies
Is there an activity you have always wanted to try? Maybe knitting or baking? Well, if you are officially running out of things to keep you entertained, you could figure out how to not be bored by adopting new hobbies.
Whatever it is, just order your supplies online and get down to learning some new stuff. Who knows? They might end up replacing what you thought you loved before.
11. Revamp your living space
Staying home for long periods can take a toll on you, especially when you start to feel like you have exhausted everything you have to do. Yet, one thing we often forget is our home environment.
Start with your closet. You will be surprised at how many things you forgot existed until you dig them out. And if you are the thorough type, that should keep you occupied for hours.
Additionally, it might also be an excellent time to rearrange your furniture into that style you saw in a magazine a year ago. Move around the couch, change the position of the table or get new décor. A new environment might give you the jumpstart you needed.
12. Clear your inbox
Wondering how to not be bored when sitting on your couch? Well, check your email. I bet there are emails from 10 years ago that you’ll never need, many of them from brands. If you smell boredom coming, that would be a great time to start clearing those out.
If your inbox looks like mine, you will probably be at it for hours. Furthermore, you might want to use the time to unsubscribe from mailboxes and services you longer need. Doing such low effort activities helps you readjust your mind to other tasks briefly. Afterwards, you can then continue with your planned activities well rejuvenated.
13. Create a spa day
What better way to give yourself a new dose of energy like a spa day? But, we can’t exactly do that much anymore, because of COVID-19. So how about you take time to create your own spa experience?
Get yourself some masks, body scrubs, candles, scents, etc. Then, soak yourself in, perhaps with a glass of wine. You could even do your own manicure since you got time. It helps you rest your mind so that you can quickly refocus when you get back to your planned activities.
Workouts can be a great way to keep occupied and wake your brain up. And, you don’t even need to go to the gym to do this. A simple routine on YouTube will do the trick.
It is never a bad idea to try those moves you have always wanted to learn and find out what the fuss is all about. Maybe boxing? Or Zumba? It keeps you awake and also strengthens your body since you cannot move out as much as you need to.
If you want to do it the simple way, try taking walks more often. Not only do you keep in shape, but also get to enjoy scenery and nature in the process.
15. Find productive pass-times
When you spend a lot of time by yourself indoors, you are bound to be bored out of your skull before long. How about putting all your accumulated energy into productive things?
Some of such activities include completing, DIY projects, learning new languages, sampling new books, listening to books on Audible, etc. It can also be a great time to update your resume. Such activities keep your mind productively engaged while keeping boredom away.
How to not be bored at work
16. Decorate office workspace
Our physical environment affects how our brains work. So, modifying your workspace can help cut down your boredom. For starters, you could switch out all the boring desk stuff with things you love. Pictures of your family, your favorite toy car, etc., whatever brings you joy. That way, you don’t get tired of staring at uninspiring stationery.
Even for your office environment, try to incorporate colors that bring life. For example, green, yellows, orange brighten up the area and reduce the chances of boredom.
17. Get more challenging or engaging work
Boredom among employees often comes from doing under challenging or unengaging work. If this is your situation, you may want to talk to your superiors about increasing your tasks or assigning you something more challenging.
Alternatively, you can find new ways to make your work more engaging. For example, find new solutions or programs for tasks instead of doing them the same way all the time.
18. Set targets and new goals
One way how to not be bored is by continually setting and updating new targets, goals and challenges. It keeps your brain alert. That way, you always have something to look forward to as you work.
It could be learning a new skill or challenging yourself to accomplish a specific task faster. This keeps you on your toes and saves you from being bored.
19. Take breaks or a vacation
If you have been working nonstop for a long time without pausing, it’s no wonder you are starting to get bored. That is a sign you need a break.
For the short run, small breaks in between your work hours will do you some good. Take a coffee break, a brief stroll to the reception or the kiosk nearby.
For the long run, you will need a couple of days totally off work. So, don’t be shy to take that leave and use it to take a road trip or go sunbathing at the beach. You have earned it. It will help you eliminate stress and come back refreshed and renewed.
20. Get enough sleep
Several businesspeople have emphasized the importance of sleep in enhancing productivity. When you have enough sleep, it becomes much easier to focus on work. Your mind doesn’t wander in a bid to stay awake. As a result, you won’t get bored that easily.
Science recommends 7-9 hours of sleep a day for adults. It will keep your mind energized for your tasks and thus keep boredom at bay.
21. Mix up your activities
If you are doing the same thing repeatedly, you are bound to be bored. Monotonous work is commonplace for most people at work. So, one of the best ways how to not be bored at work is to mix it up more often.
Find new scenery to work from, switch cubicles with your co-workers, or find new task and groups to get involved in. By keeping your work unpredictable, you always have something exciting coming up. That way, you won’t get bored as often.
22. Have some fun with your colleagues
Boredom is one of the main reasons you need to make friends at work. Take short breaks to talk to your colleagues and catch up. This would also help you create meaningful friendships.
Furthermore, instead of eating while working, take the time to have lunch with everybody else, like the school days. Use the time to catch up, entertain each other, etc. That way, you are all in high spirits when you eventually resume work, and you don’t get too bored.
23. Change your commute schedule.
Your daily trip to and from work can significantly affect your morale and concentration at work. For instance, if you take a tedious journey in the morning, you will likely already be in low spirits by the time you get to the office.
To keep things fresh, try using alternative routes or alternative modes of transport to offer you a better experience. That way, you start your day on a good note and can maintain the same energy all through.
24. Make your work a game
One way ho to not get bored quickly is to turn your work into a game of sorts. Exercise your imagination and do some role play, or even competitions alone or with your workmates.
For instance, you could set timers on your work and try to see how long it takes you to finish. Then reward yourself accordingly. In doing so, you’ll become more efficient at your job, more engaged, and above all, less bored.
25. Listen to music
Music is the knight in shining armor for most working people. There are times when your tasks are just not working out, and you cannot get your brain to jumpstart. Enter music.
Whatever genre rocks your boat, be it rock, or pop music, play it. You can even add some dancing to the mix. It will surely wake you up and refresh your mind to continue with what you are working on.
“Boredom is the deadliest poison“. – William F. Buckley, Jr., Milestones
…and a trap you want to stay out of. The best way to prevent or tackle boredom is to know the root cause.
So, use any remedy listed above that works for you. Many are easy to do. Just get to work and kiss your boredom days goodbye.