Working from home can get boring at times due to lack of challenge, structure or routine. Fill the void with catch-up tasks and get ahead while you can.
You’re working from home and the day is going by a lot slower than usual. And, each time you glance over at the time, it seems like time is moving even slower than before.

There are no crises at work that demand your immediate attention and most of your priority things have been taken care of. Plus, you only have a couple of calls and meetings scheduled - a light day.

When things get this slow while you’re working from home, it gets boring as fuck.

Sometimes, when you have a consecutive string of slow days during the week, it makes the week so much longer. It can be agonizingly boring, especially if things are too quiet at home.

During these times, it’s really easy to backslide into some serious cyberloafing and procrastination. Not a good thing because ultimately, it will come back to bite you in the ass if you don’t reign it in.

What you need to do in these situations is to make your day more fun and productive, not boring and lazy.

Reasons Why You Get Bored

The root cause of boredom really comes down to several factors and when all of them happen at the same time, you have the “perfect storm” for boredom to kick in.

For some people, being bored is absolute torture. While for others, it can be a relief. It all depends on what’s going on in your life at that time.

When there isn’t enough stimulus, challenge, structure or direction, you not only feel bored but also lost, melancholy, lazy and unfulfilled. Generally speaking, you’re just not happy.

Here are the three big contributors to boredom.

1) Lack Of Eustress Or “Good Stress”

Ever play tic-tac-toe with a child? Like 10-times in a row?

You lose interest really fast because it’s just not a challenge for you. However, for the child, it’s just challenging enough to keep their interest and motivation going for a long time.

Now, think back to a time when you were “in the zone” with work.

Remember, how deeply you were in your work?

You were heads-down and getting shit done left and right. The stuff you were working on wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t impossible. It was exactly matched up with your skills and abilities.

This is what is known as the eustress zone or “good stress” zone.

When you’re “in the zone”, you feel unstoppable and you enter this powerful flow state of mind where you’re hitting one home run after another. It feels fucking awesome.

However, when your workload falls significantly below your capabilities and/or output, you get bored easily. This happens often when things are slow at work.

2) Lack Of Structure Or Routine

There’s something to be said about having a daily routine and/or schedule. You have a set list of things you normally do and you know how and when to do them.

Having a structure to your day allows you to get into a rhythm of things. You’re able to set a pace as you go from task to task or transition from one environment to another.

This kind of structure is more solidly in place when you’re working at the office.

However, when you’re working from home, you have much more flexibility and freedom in how you start and structure your day.

This is a huge benefit of a work from home arrangement. But, it also presents a challenge to those that don’t have enough self-discipline to stay on track.

What you need to do is create a WFH routine and structure for your day. It doesn’t have to be detailed down to the exact minute, but at the very least, it has to be set in blocks or chunks.

For example, if you’re not a morning person, then develop a slow-n-easy morning routine to get up to speed and dedicate the morning to focus on deep project work and any meetings. Then, set aside the afternoon for emailing and phone calls.

Use these work from home hacks to get yourself set-up for optimum productivity without the intense stress.

3) Lack Of Purpose, Direction Or Motivation

When you don’t have a clear purpose as to why you’re doing what you’re doing, then it’s really easy to lose motivation.

When this happens, you feel lost. It’s like you’re a ship out at sea without a rudder or sails, just floating around and wandering aimlessly. It sucks.

But, when the goal is clear and right smack in front of your face every day, it’s much easier to keep grinding away at the work. You know that your effort will make positive progress toward the goal.

Now, you don’t need to have some humanitarian purpose like solving world hunger. It can be as simple as earning a paycheck so that you can keep a roof over your family’s head, food on the table and clothes on their backs.

Finding purpose in your job will not only make your job more fulfilling and awesomer, but it will also prevent boredom from creeping in.

Things To Do When You’re Bored

As mentioned above, when your workload is way under your capabilities, you’ll get bored quickly. So, when you have longer durations of downtime or boredom, use it to your advantage and don’t just piss it away doing bullshit things.

Replace your boredom with tasks and activities that will benefit you personally and/or professionally. This could be getting ahead on something, tackling nagging issues, improving yourself, etc.

Here are a few ideas.

1) Work On Your Side Project 

If you have a side project at work, this would be an ideal time to get back at it and keep building it.

This could be that automated excel database that would make your life easier. It could be a directory of the latest resources or an FAQ guide or whatever.

It’s your little side project that when completed, will definitely be appreciated by others at work. 

2) Scan Your Outbox For Follow Up Items

Every office has a few coworkers that are impossible to get a hold of and always take forever to respond.

This is an ideal time to scan your sent box and identify the ones where you’re still waiting for a response. Getting what you need from unresponsive coworkers is critical for your success.

Send follow-up emails and chase ‘em down for that reply you need.

3) Up Your Skills & Knowledge

If you work at a Fortune 500 company or any large corporation, there’s a good chance that your HR department has online classes available for career development. These online classes could be in-house or via a partnership with other organizations like Lynda, SkillShare or others.

And if they don’t or if you work at a smaller company, there are plenty of free online courses available as well.

The key point here is that you can use your downtime to improve your skills and thus, your marketability for that promotion or new job.

4) Lend A Hand To Your Team Member 

If you know that one of your team members is drowning in work, reach out to them and offer to help. Tell them that you can take on some of the general non-job specific tasks like formatting a presentation, proofing-reading a document, etc.

These are all tedious tasks that don’t require specialized knowledge but do take up time.

The great thing about doing this is you’ll be banking up some serious positive Karma points with your coworker. So, when you’re buried with work and falling behind, they’ll return the favor.

5) Organize A Team Event

Team bonding and relationship building is important not only for its social aspects but also for productivity. When you have strong bonds with your teammates, everyone goes the extra mile for each other to get shit done.

So, while you have the time, try organizing a team outing or event, whether it’s virtual or in-person. Getting the gang together in a fun way will help boost enthusiasm and have some fun.

6) Write Down All Your Big Wins 

Most of us don’t think about preparing for our annual reviews until a few days before, sometimes, maybe not even until the day before.

Preparing your annual review at the last minute means that you’re forced to come up with an emergency action plan and scrambling to get everything organized in time.

Don’t put yourself in this situation. Get started earlier so that you can ace your annual review.

And one aspect that you can take care of now is to write down all of your key big wins thus far. Compile and describe each big win in detail and save the file for future reference when your annual review comes up.

This way, when your review comes up, you won’t be scratching your head on what you accomplished.

7) Digital Decluttering

Just like your real physical desk, your computer’s desktop can get messy, sloppy and cluttered. And just like in the real world, digital disarray can make your work life more stressful.

Not having a logical file structure, confusing file names, duplicate files, missing files, etc. all can make your work life harder than it should be.

Eliminate desktop digital clutter and get your computer files, media, programs, apps, browser URLs, etc. all sorted and organized.

8) Back Up Your Files

After you’re done doing a digital decluttering session, it’s wise to back-up your hard-drive to another source.

Some companies have an automated back-up process that works in the background. While others don’t. So, check with your IT department or helpdesk and see what the deal is.

If there’s no formal back-up process, do it yourself and back-up all your work files to a high-capacity USB thumb drive. You’ll have peace-of-mind.

9) Socialize Virtually

If your downtime happens to coincide with your work BFF, set up a video conference and shoot the shit for a bit and catch up on things. It can be personal stuff or even better, work-related things that help each of you.

Getting some human interaction during the day is a good thing especially when you’re feeling isolated working from home.

10) Do Micro Exercises Or A Lunchtime Walk

Sitting on your ass all day long isn’t good for your health. Dead butt syndrome is for real. You need to unglue your ass from that chair and get your body moving.

So, try doing micro exercises throughout the day to keep yourself limber, flexible and strong.

Or, go for a brisk walk after eating lunch. It’ll help stave off the post-lunch food coma so that you’re not falling asleep at your desk in the afternoon.

11) Turn On The TV For Background Noise

Unlike the buzz of activity at the office, when you’re working from home, it can be too quiet. So, having some background noise can actually help you focus and boost your productivity.

Watching TV while working is a great way to replicate some of that office buzz. To clarify, you’re really not “watching” TV but listening to it at low volumes.

The TV conversations and sounds help to fill the void of silence in your house.

12) Change Up The Scenery

Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery to kill any boredom.

Working from your home office desk all the time can get old. So, consider working remotely from other places like a cafe, library or even your work BFFs place.

Just having the presence of other people around is enough to motivate you to focus on work and keep plugging away.

You Have It Good Right Now - Take Advantage Of It

On these kinds of WFH days when you’re bored outta your fucking mind, it’s so easy to be annoyed and irritated with the situation.

But guess what?

It’s not gonna be that way forever.

Life has a way of throwing curve balls when you least expect it. And it’ll only be a matter of time when the shit hits the fan at work and you’ll be up to your eyeballs in stress and putting out fires all day at work.

So, don’t bitch about being bored.

‘Cause it’s a lot easier to keep yourself busy than it is to prevent work overload.

Use the downtime to get other shit done, get ahead or improve yourself personally or professionally.

This is all about building up a buffer for yourself mentally and workload-wise so that when the wave of work does come crashing in on you, you’ll be ready to take it on.

Feel Better,

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