What to Do When You're Bored at Work: a Comprehensive Guide

Are you bored at work and don't know what to do? Don't worry, we've all been there. Instead of just sitting at your desk waiting for the day to end or endlessly scrolling through social media, why not make the most of your time by trying something new?

In this ultimate guide, we'll cover everything from what boreout is and why you might be bored at work to practical tips for overcoming it.

Whether it's giving your workspace a makeover that will boost productivity or learning skills outside of what you're paid for –– we've got plenty of strategies to help you stop yawning through your 9-5. Let's dive in!

Short Summary

What Is Boreout?

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Boreout is a term that may be unfamiliar, but it's something more and more people are talking about. It's the flip side of burnout—when we're not overloaded with work but under-challenged and bored silly.

Picture this: You've finished your tasks at work, there's nothing left to do, and you're sitting at your desk watching the clock tick loudly in the background. Sounds familiar?

Here are a couple of examples to help paint the picture. Think about a graphic designer who used to dream of creating innovative, eye-catching designs but now only makes basic layouts day after day after day.

There needs to be more room for creativity here. But nothing new ever gets suggested. It's just same-old, same-old always. Such a person can't let their imagination run wild.

Or, envision an IT professional whose abilities could revolutionize how a firm operates but who spends their days idly because their talents are scarcely tapped.

Burnout is not an issue here. That's when you're overwhelmed and stressed out by too much work. With boreout, you crave more. You want additional responsibilities, more chances to apply your skills—and, above all else, to feel interested and enthused by what you do all day at work.

Why Do You Feel Bored at Work?

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Now that you understand what workplace boreout is, let's take a closer look at some possible causes.

You Perform the Same Tasks Every Day

Picture yourself on a carousel that never stops, constantly circling through the same scenes. That's what it can be like if your job has you feeling stuck: things repeat so much that one day blends into another.

Take a data-entry specialist who spends all day putting numbers in a spreadsheet – how can they feel excited when every day is identical?

You might start losing interest in what you do and wishing for something different or out of the ordinary because this routine makes it seem like work isn't supposed to be enjoyable. It's just something we're obliged to do.

Your Job Lacks Challenges And Opportunities for Personal Growth

Working without challenges is like hiking on a completely flat surface – it might be easy, but it won't be exciting.

Take the example of a customer service representative who has learned every script off-pat and can deal with all callers even if they're half asleep.

In case there are no fresh challenges that push them to develop further, their role risks becoming stagnant. Personal growth within your job should come with that adrenaline rush from conquering obstacles.

Without this kind of challenge, there's a real risk that what you do will start feeling thankless and tedious.

You Don't Have Opportunities to Express Your Creativity

Not being able to express your creativity at work is like seeing a beautiful world pass by while you're stuck in a cage.

Think about a marketer who loves coming up with narratives that really speak to people—but instead, they just make charts all day.

Without room for innovation or the chance to see their ideas take flight, everything can feel gray. If there's no outlet for what inspires you, it's hard to stay passionate about it—and easy to get disengaged or bored!

Your Current Job Has a Poor Work Environment

Picture yourself in an office where the air conditioning always makes it feel like winter, the lights are so bright they could give you a tan, and there is nothing to listen to except other people typing away.

It's not just uncomfortable – it's boring too. A wrong workspace can suck your energy and positivity as if it were coming out of a plug socket.

If you spend all day dealing with broken machinery, dull rooms, or an environment so stressful that Alfred Hitchcock would have liked it for one of his films, then it is hardly surprising if you find yourself gazing at the clock thinking: "Why am I here? I've had enough!"

You Don't Have Career Development

Feeling stuck in your career is like being a runner on a treadmill; you're putting in the effort but going nowhere. If there are no visible routes to progress, learn, or gain new skills in your job, it's natural to feel bored and unsatisfied.

Yet years pass by, and you're still doing exactly the same tasks, with no promotion on the horizon and nothing new learned. This lack of momentum can drain your drive – making every day at work feel like Groundhog Day.

Your Personal Life Values Do Not Align With Those of the Company

Working for a company whose values do not align with your own can be incredibly frustrating. It's like trying to row a boat in different directions from everyone else on board, making any headway feel impossible.

Maybe you believe passionately in environmental sustainability but work for an organization that considers green initiatives an unnecessary expense. Or perhaps your core values are all about inclusivity and community, while the culture at your place of work is exclusive and cutthroat.

This is more than just a case of being bored by your job. If there's such a fundamental disconnect between what you spend your days doing and what you believe in, then chances are it won't leave you feeling unfulfilled. It will sap the joy from anything you might otherwise find exciting about work, too.

Signs That You Have Chronic Boredom at Work

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Do you often find yourself looking at the clock and wishing time would go by faster? Do your tasks feel tedious rather than challenging, leaving you bored and yearning for something to look forward to?

If this sounds like you, you may be chronically bored at work—and it might be time for a change. Here are some clear signs to watch out for:

Once you know if any of these red flags apply, the next step you should do is figure out how to make work feel exciting and meaningful again.

What to Do When You're Bored at Work

When your day at work seems never-ending because there is nothing to do, there are ways you can entertain yourself. Why not try giving your workspace a complete makeover? Or if that doesn't appeal, there are always personal projects to brainstorm or professional development activities to take part in. Here are some career advice:

Try to Organize Your Workspace Makeover

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When you're bored, why not start by changing your environment? It can be surprisingly energizing to update your workspace. Imagine this: clearing away clutter, bringing in plants for a pop of green, rearranging your desk to see things from a different angle.

Maybe you can add personal photos or an interestingly shaped pen pot. All of a sudden, your workspace is no longer just where you work but something that could inspire TV show mini makeovers!

And sometimes, when things around us physically change, it can flick a switch in our brains, too, making us feel more together, up for it, and like we've got our motivation back.

Brainstorm Some Ideas for Personal Projects

Take a few minutes of free time to think about personal projects. Maybe there's a way to make things run more smoothly for your coworkers—while also making your job easier.

Or perhaps you've always wanted to try something that's just for fun but could also look good on your résumé. Creating systems or blogging about industry-related topics might fit the bill.

Personal projects can help you break up the day-to-day—and make you better at what you do. Plus, when you're in charge of them, there's no limit to what you can experiment with or achieve.

Engage in Professional Development

Exploring new avenues for professional growth can be an excellent remedy for work-related boredom. Whether you opt for online classes, webinars, or engage yourself in industry news, there's always more to discover!

Take the example of a guy who felt stuck in his marketing job. To make things more enjoyable on a day-to-day basis, he started teaching himself about data analysis – on the side.

Not only did this newfound knowledge allow him to tackle novel tasks (thus banishing boredom), but it also made him more valuable to his team.

By investing time and energy into personal progression, you might just find yourself reinspired with lots of exciting options lying ahead.

Strike Up a Conversation Or a Lunch Break With Colleagues

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Try talking to your coworkers — you might be surprised how much it helps. Research shows that even just a little bit of socializing with colleagues can make us happier overall during the day.

So don't just sit there! Strike up a conversation with someone nearby, ask a teammate if they want to grab lunch together — anything to add some human connection to your workday.

It's not just about having people to chat with about last night's TV or the weather (though that can be fun, too!). You could also discover you share hobbies with a coworker and come up with a great joke together.

Plan Team-Building Activities

Arranging team-building events is an excellent method to inject some excitement into regular work routines. Activities such as escape room puzzles, creative classes, or even just a friendly game of sport can help teams feel energized and more connected.

The benefits of team-building exercises go beyond enjoyment alone: They also encourage collaboration, improve communication, and foster trust among colleagues.

By reminding everyone that they are working towards common objectives – and are part of a community– these types of activities make jobs more interesting and create livelier offices.

If Nothing Helps, Try to Find a New Job

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If you've exhausted all options for beating boredom at work and still find yourself constantly watching the clock, it may be worth looking for a new job. A change could reignite your passion, bringing with it fresh challenges and opportunities that you've been missing.

The process of job hunting can also be energizing in its own right – reminding yourself of your skills, past achievements, and future potential can put a spring back into your step.

Sometimes, the best response to long-term discontent in a role is to take yourself out of the situation – and explore new fields where you'll flourish.


Dealing with chronic boredom while at work is tough because it affects both your happiness and how much you get done. But don't worry – if you can spot the signs early enough, there's plenty you can do to stop boredom from taking over.

Sometimes, all it takes is a new challenge or learning something fresh to put the excitement back into your day – even if it's just shaking up how you normally do things.

Don't resign yourself from being bored at your job when there are so many possibilities! With a little bit of imagination and effort, you can transform those dull moments into times of growth and satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Might a Job That Bores Me Affect My Mental Health?

If your job leaves you bored, there's a chance it could harm your mental well-being (and physical health as well). You might feel disconnected or unsatisfied—or even stressed, anxious, or depressed.

What Does It Mean to Do Meaningful Work?

Work feels meaningful when it lines up with what you're interested in, what you're good at and what you value. It gives you personal fulfillment, growth and the sense that you've got a purpose.

How Can I Make Sure I Don't Get Bored With My Job?

To prevent boredom at work, look for challenges, set goals, take breaks so that you come back refreshed, and see if there are other projects or initiatives within your position that you can explore.

Should I Quit My Job If It's Boring?

If you're thinking about leaving a dull job, think about long-term objectives, how much room there is to grow and develop in your current role – and whether or not overall contentment outweighs everything else.