Boredom Busters: Six Ways to Be More Alert and Productive at Work

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Michiko Morales

When we were kids, summer was the best time of the year: School was out, you got to go to camp, hang out with your friends and, best of all, no homework! While summer doesn’t have quite the same appeal as adults, it’s still a time for vacations and (hopefully) a more leisurely pace at work.

The problem is, our usual pace is so frantic that when we’re not busy, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. With the usual urgency of non-stop deadlines gone (or at least diminished), we have more time on our hands than we know what to do with!

When boredom strikes, we have difficulty paying attention or participating in regular tasks, and our productivity suffers as a result. The good news is July happens to be National Anti-Boredom Month (yes, that’s a real thing), and we have six quick tips on how you can beat boredom at work.

1. Do a Quick Workout – Just because you’re in the office, doesn’t mean you can’t fit in a quick workout to get you reinvigorated for the rest of the day. Try a walk around the building, desk pushups or a 15-minute abs workout. At GMG, we like to break up the day with lunchtime yoga on Wednesdays. A fun workout not only cures boredom, it also makes you feel better and healthier.

2. Read Something New – Reading is an easy way to beat boredom. As a PR practitioner, I’m always reading the news and relevant publications. But if I ever have free time (what is that?), I like to check out random or offbeat publications I wouldn’t traditionally check for our B2B tech clients. It’s a great way to learn something new, have a laugh or even discover a new pitch angle for your clients.

3. Organize Your Desk and Desktop – Okay, this isn’t the most exciting thing, but it’s something we should do to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle. If you have a messy office and a cluttered desktop, a slow day at work can be the perfect time to file away old documents and backup your computer files. Keeping your desk – and your computer – organized can keep important stuff from falling through the cracks because it was lost in a stack of papers or not easily searchable on your computer.

4. Challenge Your Mind – If workouts keep your body in shape, puzzles keep your brain healthy. There are tons of free mind twisters and brain puzzles online that are fun and a good exercise to keep your brain sharp. Try crossword puzzles, brainteasers, Sudoku or brain training apps like Lumosity.

5. Take a Power Nap – Granted, this one might be hard to do at work (and we recommend making sure your boss is okay with it!), but experts agree taking a quick, 20-minute nap can actually boost your alertness, mood and performance.

6. Sniff Some… Peppermint? – This one sounds weird, I know. But Psychology Today says peppermint can be a really helpful scent when we’re doing tedious, boring tasks. According to researchers, smelling peppermint helps you feel more alert and complete tasks faster with less effort, all while enhancing your memory. No word on whether peppermint schnapps works just as well.

And if all else fails, check out BuzzFeed.

From the Blog

Leah Nurik