What to Do When You're Bored at Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published November 5, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published November 5, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There may be times when you have little to get done at work. Perhaps you had a crazy week, and now things are finally slowing down. Instead of sitting at your desk feeling bored, there are plenty of things you can do to occupy your time. In this article, we share what to do if you're bored at work.

Related: 13 Productive Things to Do When You're Bored at Work

Why it's important to find something to do when you're bored at work

Rather than sitting idle, finding something to do when you're bored at work is important for the following reasons:

  • Time passes faster: When you have little to get done at work, time tends to move slowly. By finding things to do, you may find that the end of the workday comes much sooner.

  • You can advance your career: There are plenty of tasks you can do to continue to work toward your goals. Even if your employer hasn't assigned something to you, there are things that you can do to continue to add value to your team.

  • You look busy: If your manager sees that you are busy, this can indicate that you are a hard-working employee. This may benefit you when it's time for performance reviews.

Related: 15 Examples of How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

70 things to do when you're bored at work

Try doing one of these tasks when you're feeling bored at work:

  1. Clean your desk. Get all the dirt and grime off of your desk. Organizing any clutter will make you feel at peace.

  2. Organize your computer. Delete any useless files and put your documents into labeled folders. Consider transferring your files to a cloud computing system.

  3. Reach out to clients. Now is a great time to check in with clients. They may have additional work to give you.

  4. Chat with a coworker. Take a moment to socialize with a colleague. Use this as a chance to learn more about their life.

  5. Check your email. See if you have any emails you need to reply to. Take your time when writing responses, checking for spelling or grammar errors.

  6. Learn a new skill. Think about which skills would be beneficial to your career. Start looking into how you can learn these skills.

  7. Read industry publications. Look up publications that are relevant to your field. This knowledge may be helpful when you need to think of new ideas for a project.

  8. Read the news. Staying up to date on what's happening in the world can help you be more informed and cultured.

  9. Write down your goals. Make a list of all of your short-term and long-term goals. Create a plan for working toward them.

  10. Pick out a new desktop picture. Choose a photo that makes you smile every time you look at it.

  11. Go on a walk. Get your blood pumping by taking a short walk around the block.

  12. Do some stretches. Wake yourself up by doing some deep stretches at your desk. Look up ones that can improve your posture.

  13. Research new clients. Take this time to see who you can connect with to get more business.

  14. Create training materials. Help out a new hire by creating how-to guides and tutorials for common tasks.

  15. Practice meditation. Learn to focus your mind on just your breath. This can help you feel more centered and relaxed.

  16. Take a longer lunch. If you're allowed, see if you can take a longer lunch today. Treat yourself to some takeout or go home to cook yourself something nice.

  17. Listen to a podcast. There are plenty of podcasts that are sure to capture your interest and maybe even teach you something.

  18. Look into networking opportunities. Making new business connections is an important part of advancing your career.

  19. Plan team-bonding activities. Brainstorm different ways you can help your team bond. Plan your next after-work meetup.

  20. Start a blog. Write about what interests you. As you gain more followers, blogging could even become a side gig.

  21. Plan for your next meeting. Get your presentation notes in order and practice what you want to say.

  22. Take care of office chores. Taking out the garbage, loading the dishwasher and cleaning the fridge are all helpful things to do.

  23. Offer to pick up lunch. Let your coworkers know you're making a lunch run and take their orders.

  24. Look into volunteer opportunities. See how you can give back to your community.

  25. Ask for more work. Inquire about taking on more tasks or responsibilities.

  26. Take a day off. Use your paid time off to relax and unwind.

  27. Give your team praise. Let your coworkers know you appreciate their work through a kind email.

  28. Plan your week. Write down everything you need to do this week.

  29. Organize your inbox. Delete any old emails or spam messages. Create new folders to keep your inbox organized.

  30. Watch a TED talk. Look up a lecture that is relevant to your career.

  31. Offer to help your team. See if your colleagues need any assistance with their work.

  32. Write in a journal. Keep track of what you've been up to.

  33. Digitize your business cards. Take all the business cards you've collected and add them to your digital contacts lists.

  34. Subscribe to newsletter. Look for helpful newsletters related to your career.

  35. Brainstorm new ideas. Think up new things to try at work.

  36. Update your software. Do that full computer restart you have been putting off.

  37. Change your passwords. Update your passwords to be more secure.

  38. Clean your keyboard. Buy some keyboard cleaner to get all the dust out of the cracks.

  39. Make a list of what you need. Use this time to make a list of everything you need at work, whether it be office supplies or a new desk chair.

  40. Create a reading list. Write down all of the books you've been meaning to read. Ask your coworkers for suggestions.

  41. Sign up for a course. Think about what skills you want to develop. Find an online or in-person course that will teach you them.

  42. Learn a new language. There are plenty of online resources to learn a new language.

  43. Look for a mentor. See if there is anyone who can help you grow as a professional.

  44. Research your salary. Use salary search tools to find out if you're making enough money based on your job title, skills and experience.

  45. Plan your next career move. Think about what the next step in your career looks like and how you plan to get there.

  46. Prepare for a raise. If you're ready for a raise, plan your talking points for when you meet with your manager.

  47. Learn about diversity. Inclusion in the workplace is extremely important. Learn how you can be a better advocate.

  48. Say affirmations. Use these short, positive phrases to boost your mood. "I am talented, "I have value" and "I am smart" are just a few.

  49. Edit your portfolio. Add any recent projects to your personal website.

  50. Edit your LinkedIn account. Write a summary that will attract more recruiters and help you get your next job offer.

  51. Request informational interviews. Reach out to other professionals to see if you can meet for coffee. This is a great way to network.

  52. Follow interesting leaders. Request to follow inspiring leaders on social media websites.

  53. Look into time-management tools. See if there are any apps or websites that can help you manage your time more efficiently.

  54. Start a club. See if any of your coworkers would like to join a club. A book club or volunteer club are a couple of good ideas.

  55. Plan what to do after work. Write down everything you need to get done after work. Also, think about what you want to do for enjoyment.

  56. Reach out to a friend. Send your friend an email or text message to see how they're doing. Try to catch up with them.

  57. Learn a new word. Choose a word in the dictionary to learn. Make an effort to use it in a sentence.

  58. Fill the coffee pot. Be the person who is willing to get a fresh pot of coffee going for the office.

  59. Think of a new hobby. Decide what new activities you'd like to try outside of work.

  60. Offer to run errands. See if anyone needs you to pick up any office supplies or drop off a package.

  61. Write a poem. See how creative you can get with your words.

  62. Get ahead on your work. Start working on any upcoming projects or tasks.

  63. Drink some water. Make an effort to fill up your water bottle more often. Staying hydrated is an important part of being healthy.

  64. Take a personality test. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test can tell you a lot about your strengths and weaknesses.

  65. Learn to code. This is a great skill for everyone to have. Start with the basics and work your way to more complicated coding.

  66. Find better solutions. Reassess your team's current operations, and find ways you can all be more efficient.

  67. Reflect on your accomplishments. Boost your confidence by thinking of everything you've achieved over the past few years. Think about what you might want to achieve in the future.

  68. Start a gratitude list. Write down everything you are thankful for. This can help you find a better outlook on life.

  69. Contribute to an online forum. See what tips and advice you can share with other people in your industry.

  70. Do something nice. Try to make someone's day a little bit better. Buy your team a treat, or give more compliments.

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