No job is perfect, and if you have done yours for a while now, you will likely go through moments where your motivation, passion and interest simply decrease. Even though this is normal, it doesn’t mean you should accept it and wait for it to get better on its own.
There are things you can do to spice things up at work and break the cycle of boredom. It’s about being proactive, learning new things, and setting your own goals.
1 | Change your routine
Having a routine is a good way to structure your daily or weekly tasks. It removes the time and energy you’d spend on micro-decisions to make them automatic. It gives you the headspace to think about more important things like a project or an actual task you need to complete.
The danger of these automatic behaviours though is that they put you on auto-pilot. You become less mindful and you arrive at a point where you have so many (tiny) habits structuring your day that you don’t have any surprises anymore, making your day (and your job) less exciting.
The great news is that you can change that very easily by first reflecting on these daily micro-habits you have so you become aware of them, and then change them. For instance, if you can wake up 15 or 30 minutes earlier/later than the usual, you will see different things in your commute. You can decide to take your lunch in a different way once a week, or sit in a different chair next time you have a meeting (this last one may seem tiny, but you will see how your perspective of the room and the group changes as your position changes too.)
2 | Attend trainings, even if they’re not meant for you
If your company is somewhat big, it likely offers trainings of all sorts. Whether it is on products, processes, soft skills or even managerial skills, many companies have internal or external training resources to help their employees grow. To make your job exciting again, find what trainings are organised by your company, even if they are not meant for you (maybe they are for another department). You can ask your manager or HR representative for more information on upcoming trainings. Explain why you would be interested in joining one. It will be a good opportunity for you not only to learn something new, but also to meet new people.
3 | Find a mentor in your company
Another great way to spice up your job is to find a mentor in your company who will offer a safe space for you to openly talk about your work. You can obviously talk to your manager about the way you feel about your job, but I know it’s not always easy. Instead, find someone you do not report to, with whom you will be 100% honest about the lack of interest you’ve had in your job.
Sharing the way you feel to someone else will first help you put words on what exactly is bothering you. It will also give you the chance to listen to advice from someone’s own experience. Everyone goes through this phase at some point in their career. Having feedback on how they managed it and what they did to spice things up at work will be valuable to you.
4 | Shadow people from other departments
If you are bored in your job, it is likely because you know the ins and outs of your tasks, your team and your department. But do you know what other services do? Or how they do it? What are their goals, their processes, their challenges? You might know to some extent, but unless you sit with them and watch them work, you will not fully grasp it.
Think of a department you’d be interested in learning more about, and reach out to someone there, even if you don’t know them. Unless you catch them at a very bad time, people love sharing what they do and they will very likely agree to show you their job.
5 | Create a proper career development plan
In my personal experience dealing with a decreasing lack of interest at work, this #5 was by far the one that had the biggest impact on making my job exciting and fresh again. What is a “proper” career development plan?
- One that you document in writing
- One that has a short-, medium- and long-term vision
- One that focuses on your strengths, your areas of development, and your motivation (there is a difference between knowing you should improve on something and actually wanting to improve it)
- One that you keep updated as you reach goals or think of new ones
- One that lists the resources you have to support you (materials, training, people)
Creating a document like this and sharing it with your manager, your work friends or your mentor (#3) is the perfect way to find purpose in your current job. You will be able to link what you would like to do in the future to what you are currently doing. You will see a clearer path and see how you can start making it happen now.
6 | Increase the quality of your work
I have always found that improving the quality of my work was challenging and exciting at the same time. It’s about improving yourself, giving your best, not being satisfied with the bare minimum or ticking the boxes. Look for ways you can be a top performer. Listen to the feedback you are given, look at other people work, be thorough and do not leave any stones unturned. You don’t know what you might find.
7 | Start a project or get involved in one
Raising your hand to take part in a project is another way you can make your job exciting. A group project allows you to work with people you wouldn’t necessarily have worked with on a topic that is related to your job, but that isn’t about routine.
There are always things to improve in an organisation. Creating or joining a project is the best way to have a say in how your company, department or team evolve. You will develop skills in collaboration, project management, strategy. You will take part of something different and contribute to positive change.
8 | Organise internal events
You can also contribute by organising internal events, whether it’s a simple team lunch or dinner, or a bigger event that is cross-functional. Set up an interest group to discuss a topic you are passionate about, or talk to your manager or HR representative about organising a Q&A panel with internal speakers.
9 | Ask for feedback
Proactively ask for feedback will help you uncover (or confirm) the areas that you are the strongest in and the ones you could focus on. It will not only help you with your career development plan (#5) but it will also give you a different perspective on your job. Talk to your manager about the best way for you to do a 360° feedback in your company.
10 | Solve problems
This is linked to starting a project (#7) but not just that. Identifying the pain points at all levels (clients, employees, in your team or your entire department) will make things more interesting for you. You probably already know what doesn’t work, so you’ve done phase 1 already. Phase 2 is taking some time to think about how to change that. Phase 3 is to take action.
Solving problems is also about helping others do their job better, onboarding new hires, training them, mentoring them. It’s proactively offering your support so you day-to-day isn’t just about your own tasks anymore, but also about having an impact on others.