Workplace Ennui: 10 Productive Things to Do to Beat Workplace Boredom

May 16, 2023

Ever find yourself passing a work break in random scrolling sessions and then regretting you could have done something better, meaningful, and productive?

It's common for employees to get bored at work and constantly look for breaks. According to recent surveys, almost half of the workforce is bored at work, finds it uninteresting, and might be in line for resignation.

State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report by Gallup finds 60% of people are emotionally detached at work. In another study, 33% of workers cited boredom as the main reason for leaving their jobs.

You can tell if your lagging performance is due to boredom if you:

  • feel zero motivation to start your workday
  • catch yourself zoning out during meetings 
  • are always looking for distractions
  • are hardly catching up with deadlines
  • find no inspiration in your company’s goals/objectives
  • are always counting down the hours at work
  • are trying to find some meaningful and productive things to do

Why Do You Feel This Way

Before we move on to the list of productive things to do at work to beat the drudgery of everyday work, let’s look at the causes of workplace ennui, which makes you disengaged at work.

1. The Nature of Work is Repetitive

Oh, that’s pretty boring!

Some tasks are, by nature, repetitive, like data entry, filing, or report generation. This situation can become a drag and increase boredom to the point where you simply zone out. 

What you can do:

Find some productivity tools to automate monotonous tasks. timegram is a digital assistance tool that can save you from the drudgery of repetitive tasks by sorting out your data automatically with its AI-powered time-tracking feature. You can easily segment billable and non-billable work, convert timesheets into detailed invoices, and ace many other reporting and management tasks.

2. A Sense of Meaninglessness

If you have been doing the same kind of work for a long period, you can easily get lost. Though handling the tasks in this situation gets easier through repetition, it can also create too much idle time where you are neither free nor engaged in meaningful work. 

Consequently, your mind, not fully occupied, wanders off to distractions.

Well, you must find some meaning in what you do! 

What you can do:

You can return to your list of goals and redefine them to have a new perspective on your responsibilities. Management can also play a role by regularly informing the employees about the significance and impact of their tasks.

3. Your Tasks Are Not Challenging or Stimulating

This is a major cause of boredom at work. Sometimes the task at hand might not be boring, but it is perceived as such because it doesn’t match your aptitude or level of intellect. 

If you think that what you are doing is not challenging enough to keep you stimulated, you will lose interest and might feel disconnected.

What you can do:

You can clarify things with the management and see if you can switch organizational roles. Your expertise might be valuable in other departments, making your work more fulfilling.

4. Work Environment

You will likely lose motivation to work if you are not feeling listened to or your opinion holds no ground in organizational matters. In the case of remote teams, a sense of isolation might also creep up to dampen your spirits.

What you can do:

Having friends in the workplace prevents boredom to a great extent. If you have only formal communication with your coworkers, it can be isolating. Take the initiative for regular informal interactions with your team members and make your workspace an interesting and fun place!

10 Productive Things To Do at Work

Don’t waste your breaks! Use them to reboot yourself before returning to work. Here are some creatively productive things to do at work that can elevate your spirits while improving your productivity and workflow;

1. Declutter Your Space

“The space and light and clarity that's created by empty space - those are the things that humans need as much as food and shelter." - Marie Kondo

Start clearing up your physical and digital space by decluttering your workstation.


Clean up your desk (time to throw away that half-eaten pack of crackers!)

Take up the small tasks you have been postponing for months. If you work from home, you must also declutter the rest of your room and your closet. Give away the clothes you haven't worn in a year.

Try to rearrange your furniture and move your desk to a place that receives a good amount of light and air. Separate your workspace from the rest of your living space. A new perspective from your desk could be just what you need to regain focus and optimize your productivity.

When you clear up your space, it rejuvenates your mind and gives you a fresh start!

2. Organize and Upgrade Your Devices

Take the opportunity to update your software and hardware for an improved workflow. Check out if your Mac has a new update. Using outdated software just because you are familiar with its interface can hinder productivity.

Organize your mailbox, files, and folders on your laptop and other devices. Create backups for those thousands of images in your Google Photos; keep the ones you need and delete the rest. You can also check out these Chrome productivity extensions to enhance work efficiency.

3. Revive a Favorite Hobby

Your work breaks can be a great chance to pick up that book on your to-be-read list. The therapeutic effect of reading can not be overstressed. Highly productive and successful people are often diligent readers. Reading provides great life lessons and makes you more focused. There is nothing you can’t teach yourself by reading. 

You can plant a tree or an exotic plant. Watching it grow day after day is an experience that heals your soul and mind and makes you feel productive. 

You can also resume your passion for photography and start capturing beautiful things or phenomena that interest you. It will be a great investment of your time! 

4. Learn Something New

Try learning a new instrument, such as a guitar or flute, start a new painting, or write a blog to share your experiences. The best thing about creativity is that the more you create, the more it flows in all areas of your life.

Are there any skills you have wanted to learn? The only thing you need to do is to take the first step. Find some tutorials or motivational podcasts on YouTube, or take an online course. It is as simple as that.

Even if you give your new passion a few minutes a day, it can work wonders for you. You can even try out a new recipe. Nothing is more conducive to productivity than the sense of achievement that comes with learning new skills.

5. Prepare Yourself (Ask for Feedback)

If you wish to improve your productivity, ask for regular feedback. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can make you more prepared, confident, and self-aware.

Constructive feedback makes a lot of difference!

Once you start getting feedback, create a list of the areas that need improvement at work. It can help you make effective plans and personal and professional growth strategies.

It can be difficult to stay motivated at work if you have no idea how your performance is received. Positive feedback revives your creative impulses and enables you to take new initiatives with a positive state of mind.

6. Journal

Writing down your goals and experiences helps you reflect on your progress, identify areas where you need improvement, and celebrate your successes. This self-reflection can help you gain insight into your productivity patterns and motivators.

Journaling positively impacts your mental health by bringing clarity to your thoughts and boosting your memory. It helps you prioritize what is most important and what needs to be done first.

 Introspection brings self-awareness

By keeping a record of your progress and achievements, you are holding yourself accountable for your productivity. It can help you stay motivated and on track to reach your goals. Remember: It is a great stress reliever!

7. Strengthen Your Network

"Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand." - Emily Kimbrough

You need people to share your achievements with, get emotional and professional support, and simply nurture good feelings.

Try to reach out to friends and family whenever you get a break. Reply to that text by your dear friend, which is lying ‘seen’ in your inbox. Check up on your parents. And last but not least, strengthen your social media network as well.

Update your LinkedIn profile. Instead of wasting time in aimless scrolling sessions, create specialized groups to stay updated on each other's progress, new trends, techniques, and opportunities.

8. Create a Morning Routine

"Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have." Lemony Snicket can hardly ever be wrong!

Creating a morning routine is crucial to begin your day with optimum energy and a happy disposition. Whatever your goals, waking up early is essential for productivity and success. You should have enough time for your morning rituals before work hours start. 

Is it a dream? How boring!

Hydrate yourself with water therapy first thing in the morning. And then enjoy a walk, a cold bath, breathing exercises, a hearty breakfast, and a little chat with your family. There are plenty of rejuvenating things to do that you can make a part of your morning routine, depending on your preference. 

9. Relax and Heal

It means doing things that make you feel better. It could be getting a new haircut, incorporating regular workouts in your breaks, watching a classic, or updating your work playlist. 

When you feel good about yourself, the positivity and confidence reflects in your work.

Nurturing and giving have a deep connection with mental well-being. Play with your pets, take them for a quick walk, or grow a new plant in your backyard - you’ll feel good!

And for self-care, you can also just ‘do nothing’! Sit back, relax, meditate, introspect, and come back with a self-aware mind that thinks clearly.

10. Plan a Treat for Yourself at The End of The Day/Week

Motivate yourself by planning a weekend treat for yourself. Be it a movie night, a lunch date with your besties, or an excursion trip to that new spot you have discovered. 

Having a weekend plan before you will keep you on your toes for the whole week. If you have planned something nice, you know you have to earn it by giving your best at work.

These are some productive things to do when bored, but these little activities can change how you perceive your personal and professional life in the long run.

As Van Gogh said, great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together.

In a Nutshell

All these fun things to do at work discussed above are, at the same time, the very things to do for enhanced productivity. You feel bored when you are low on productivity. You will hardly get time to be bored if you start organizing your life and make way for all your personal and professional growth requirements.

While on the subject of organizing, you can always use tools like timegram to track time spent on tasks.

It helps you create a routine to peak productivity and gives you a sense of achievement. It is a privacy-first time-tracking tool that gives you insight into your work habits, allowing you to streamline and improve them over time. 

timegram’s free for individuals and small teams. Find out more about it here.


What is a productive life?

In business terms, productivity is a measure of how effectively and efficiently resources are used to produce output. High productivity levels are typically associated with greater efficiency, lower costs, and higher output levels.

In addition to its economic and organizational applications, productivity is an important concept in personal development and time management. By improving productivity and using time and resources more effectively, individuals can accomplish more in less time, achieve their goals more efficiently, and lead more fulfilling lives.

What can I do to be productive every day?

You must manage your time better and stay focused on being more productive. Here are some tips to increase your productivity;

  • set clear goals
  • prioritize tasks
  • create a schedule
  • take breaks
  • eliminate distractions
  • use time-tracking tools

And most importantly, stay healthy!

What should I do to be productive in my free time?

If you get a break from work or some free time, you can utilize it to improve those areas of life that are important for your physical and mental health and emotional well-being. Maintaining a work-life balance and creating a healthy routine is crucial to put your best foot forward at your workplace.

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Sidra Ali Shah

About the author

Sidra is a research scholar and a philosophy nerd who fell in love with language at a very young age. She believes it's words and their combinations that make the world go round. In her free time, she likes to brainstorm with her children.

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