Balancing Stress and Boredom at Work

In the real world, exciting jobs often come with high stress while low stress jobs can get pretty boring.  Chances are, your job falls too far to one side of the boring/stressful spectrum.  Finding a balance takes time and some effort on your part.  The solution is to increase good stress (the kind that motivates to action) while decreasing bad stress (chronic, unproductive stress).  Some tips for balancing stress and boredom at work:

  1. Volunteer for a new project.  There will be stress, but most should be good stress because there are specific actions to take.
  2. Improve processes and increase efficiency.  Always look for new, better ways of doing things.  Making tasks more effective and efficient leaves time for better things by eliminating unnecessary steps.
  3. Learn something new.  Take advantage of any continuing education or additional training opportunities your company offers.  If formal training isn’t available,  ask to help a coworker whose job requires skills you’d like to attain.
  4. Train coworkers.  This doesn’t just mean training new hires, but also helping more experienced workers in areas where you’re stronger.  Mentoring and teaching leads to more cooperative work environment and increases the chances that your coworkers will return the favor.
  5. Network. Why do you need to network when you have a job?  Networking with your coworkers now means a stronger network if you lose your job.
  6. Stop multitasking. Even if you think you’re good at doing two or more things at once, your work suffers.  Block out time for one task, then move on to the next.

Don’t try to avoid stress completely because without any stress at all you’ll probably be bored.  Work is work and the interesting aspects won’t be pure entertainment.  For more on increasing productivity and increasing job satisfaction, read Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters..