Getting Motivated When You’re Bored Out of Your Mind

19 Jan

You’ve probably heard me mention before how slow things are at work, and have been since May when I was hired. Luckily, I am good at entertaining myself or I would have quickly gone mad.

However, I stink at being motivated when there’s nothing I have to do. And I find myself pushing the tasks I do have off until the next day because frankly, I can’t be bothered to stop reading blogs, mapping running routes, modifying training plans, and reading other useless nonsense on the interwebs. When I do have more than one work-related thing to do each day, I find myself annoyed because I had other things I wanted to do today. I already had plans, thankyouverymuch.

Someone driven by career goals would have quit long ago. My only “career” (and I use that term loosely) goal is to be a published author so I’m not sad to not be “succeeding in corporate America.”

Others would have at least utilized their 8 hours (sometimes 7…) a day for something that would improve their job performance. (I’m a copywriter so blogging counts, doesn’t it?)

Not me. I have seriously done everything on the Internet I’ve ever wanted to do, except anything work-related. I’ll find myself driving by a billboard that looks slightly amusing and making a mental note of the website – I should look that up at work. Things I would normally do at home (read: everything personal) I now save for work, so that I don’t lose it by 10 am and wind up in the office coffee shop, chugging spiked frappucinos.

Some days I succeed. I have enough blog posts queued up in Google Reader from the 100 or so blogs I follow that after the morning’s work of logging my previous day’s workout, checking my email (work and personal), and doing “15 minutes of actual work,” I can easily zone out until I leave at 4 pm.

Other days, when it’s slow in blogland, Reader is empty by 12 pm and I languish. I get a headache from looking at the screen and reading but what else to do? I do a crossword, check email, visit The Nest message boards, vote for the best outfits on People.com, and ::gasp:: even attempt reading the news. (But my eyes quickly glaze over and I abandon that idea. How did I manage to major in Journalism without ever reading the news? I’m just that good.)

You’d think by the time I’m done wasting hours of my life sitting in an uncomfortable chair and causing my back to need physical therapy, I’d be rearing to get ‘er done once I got home. But the combination of the winter cold, the short days, and “I’ll do it tomorrow”s combine to make me even more lazy once I get home. It’s like I’m in a walking coma. After my workout and dinner, it’s only 6 pm and I wonder, Is it too early to go to bed?  I don’t want to watch TV but I don’t want to read and I surely don’t want to be productive. What to do, what to do…

I assure you, there is a point behind all this mindless chatter.

The point is, I have realized that I am not a victim of circumstances. I make my life what it is. And if I don’t want to spend days upon days of accomplishing absolutely nothing but running a few miles and eating a bunch of food, I don’t have to.

So I’m making some changes. I’m not going to get crazy or anything, but I think implementing a modest structure for my days and evenings of boredom would be wise. So this is what I’m thinking:

At work

Do work-related activities until at least noon. Obviously, this goes out the window once I (hopefully!) start having more things to do but who knows when that will be? In the meantime, I will read books and blogs on writing style, marketing, copywriting, etc, or do whatever work is assigned to me. After noon, I can do whatever useless crap I want (unless work comes in, then I will do that). Baby steps people. It’s harder than you would think to break out of a 9-month funk.

I put this into practice today. I had a meeting this morning, worked on some event materials, organized some files and then read The Elements of Style until noon, at which time I promptly opened Google Reader and exhaled a sigh of relief. Although I did mostly enjoy reading the book. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE grammar and syntax? I took a Linguistics class my senior year in college for my Spanish major and wondered why hadn’t I taken any before. It was by far my favorite class ever.

At home

Do one thing every day. I have done this before and found it quite useful. I make a list of all the things I’ve thought about, wanted, or needed to do and then do one small thing or part of one bigger thing on the list every day. For example:

  • Finish race memory book
  • Find passport or apply for new one (I’m pretty sure it’s lost)
  • Buy photo corners at Michael’s
  • Work on scrapbook (1 page each night)
  • Clean the dogs’ ears
  • Brush the dogs’ teeth
  • Buy more dog food
  • Schedule bike fit
  • Clean refrigerator
  • Get teeth cleaned at dentist done!
  • Get haircut done!
  • Get physical therapy for back done!
Because…

On a positive note, I have been more diligent about going to bed early and getting up at 5:30 to read the Bible and work on my book. So at least I have that going for me!

Do you struggle with laziness when not required to do anything? Any tips on getting motivated?

6 Responses to “Getting Motivated When You’re Bored Out of Your Mind”

  1. bearrunner January 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    haha love it

    cheers

  2. Mel January 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    You don’t worry about someone you work with stumbling across your blog and reading this kind of post?

  3. specialkkluthe January 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    @Mel – no because I’m very honest with my boss about how much work I don’t have to do. She keeps telling me that things should pick up soon… I’m still waiting. It’s not that I’m choosing to not do work. There just honestly is none to do a lot of the time.

  4. Lisa January 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I know you’ve mentioned your job is slow, but I had no idea how slow! Crazy. I don’t think I even know the meaning of the word bored anymore, but it sounds like it’s no fun. I guess as long as you’re honest w/ your supervisor about it and you’re asking for more projects that’s all you can do. Good luck with your new goals. Baby steps. 🙂

  5. Corrie Anne January 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    I wish i had teeth cleaned at the dentist done!! Haha. I am struggling with something similar at work. The desk job is killin’ me. I need to get back to teaching!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Setting the Record Straight « - January 26, 2012

    […] have a lot of things going on in an effort to improve my life (like not eating sweets for a month, limiting my laziness, reading 25 books, and training for a marathon). I dismissed her comment saying, “It’s […]

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