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How to Distract Yourself From a Job You Hate
Unfortunately, many people are dissatisfied with their jobs for some reason or another. Whether the pay is too small, the workload is too large, or you are just bored, working a job you hate is no fun. Fortunately, you can learn how to distract yourself from a job you hate. If you focus on staying entertained, realizing the positive aspects of your job, and creating goals, your workday will become much more bearable.
Focusing on the Positive
Make a plan.One way to make your job more tolerable is to look at what you are hoping to gain from it in the long run, such as skills or experience, and making a plan to attain that goal. Is this job a stepping stone to another job? Do you need the experience for your resume? Or are you hoping that a better position will open up at the company that you can apply for? Identify your main reason for needing the job and then make a plan to help you work towards it.
- For example, if it is your intention to apply for a different job after you have at least a year of experience in this position, then you might plan to stick with your job for seven more months to get the experience you need.
Find good experiences in your work.Just because work is not your favorite experience, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be good experience. You can learn as much from a job you hate as a job you love, and what you learn can be the difference in getting a better job or not. Take advantage of things like optional trainings, continuing education, and professional development programs. These opportunities will help you build your resume and your network.
- For example, if your office offers a training on how to use a new piece of software, take the training. Even if you don’t use it in this job, it can help you land a new job that you enjoy more.
Practice problem solving.Many times, people obsess about minor problems. Something as simple as being displeased with the type of toilet paper at work can be mulled over so many times that you dread going altogether. Practice solving as many problems as you can, so that your day is as enjoyable as possible. For example, if the toilet paper is a serious issue, bring your own toilet paper instead of dreading your workday.
- There are also efficiency problems in most work scenarios. For example, your office might use much more paper than it actually needs. Analyze the situation and come up with a plan to be more conservative on paper.
- Even if you can’t problem solve your way out of hating your job, it is good practice for mitigating problems in a future job that you do enjoy. It will also distract you from the job you hate in the meantime.
Imagine that you are protected by a shield.An inconsiderate boss, demanding coworkers, or other emotional hurdles can make it hard to deal with work sometimes. Try to imagine that you are surrounded by a protective shield each time you enter your workplace.
- Take a moment before entering your place of work every day to put on your psychic armor. Imagine a solid shield going up around your whole body, or imagine putting on full plate armor that will protect your from any unpleasantness throughout your day.
- Any time something happens that is frustrating or upsetting, remind yourself that you are well-protected and imagine that it is bouncing off of your shield or armor.
Practice gratitude.Taking a few minutes every day to practice gratitude can help you to feel happier as you go through your day.Try jotting down five things that you are grateful for at the beginning of your workday every day. As the day goes on, keep adding to this list as you think of more things you feel grateful for.
- The items you list can be small or large. For example, you might include on your list things like, a hot cup of coffee, no traffic on your way to work, a compliment that a coworker gave you, a pleasant smelling air freshener on your neighbor’s desk, or an upcoming long weekend.
Think about your salary.Very few people work in their positions purely for the love of their work. Most people work where they work because it pays them something. You probably fall into this category, and focusing on your paycheck might help to distract you from how much you hate the work you do to earn it.
Entertaining Yourself During the Workday
Socialize with coworkers.Your coworkers provide an easily accessible means of distraction. You can talk and socialize with them, and in many cases even claim the distraction as being “work-related.” Socializing with your coworkers can also give you the opportunity to build your network, which will help when seeking a promotion or another job.
- Keep in mind that your coworkers are there to work as well. They may enjoy their job, or have a family that depends on their income. When someone is busy with work, avoid interrupting them. Constantly interrupting coworkers will annoy them and is inappropriate.
Do something relaxing or refreshing.If the work day seems to drag on, then doing little things to break up the day and make work less stressful can help. Try getting up for frequent breaks if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, or do some exercises at your work station to help break up your day and reduce stress.
- Head to the water cooler often for a drink of water.
- Stand up and stretch or walk around to get your blood flowing.
- Take a walk around the neighborhood during your lunch break.
- Do some deep breathing or meditate for a few minutes.
Make a game out of your work.People often get bored at work because the work itself is dull or monotonous. If this is the case, try making a game out of it. Create rules and challenges that force you to do your work in a more creative and interesting way.
- For example, if your job is to enter data into Excel, then try timing yourself for 15 minutes to see how many entries you can make in that time frame. Then, after timer is up, reset it and try to break your previous record.
Try jotting down details about what your ideal job would be.Since you have a job that you do not like, you may find it easy to identify what you want from a job. Try keeping a piece of paper handy and, as you go through your day, jot down what features you hope your dream job will have.
- For example, you might jot down things like, “better cash incentives for sales,” “a supportive boss who treats me with respect,” “a pleasant workplace,” “flexible hours,” “weekends off,” etc.
Apply to other jobs.If you are unhappy in the job you currently hold, it is time to start considering the next step. You can make your days at work go by considerably faster if you spend any free time (or make free time) to look for jobs you’d rather have. Most jobs will require some sort of application and/or resume, and you can polish these things up at your current job to distract yourself.
Seek inspiration.Being inspired can distract you from how much you hate your work. Read quotes or blogs that motivate you, talk to your coworkers about their accomplishments or desires, or write your own inspiring pieces. Doing so will help you get through the day to day job that you hate.
- You should be cautious while doing this. If your boss and/or coworkers see you, they may feel that you are not doing your job and be upset with you.
Creating Attainable Goals
Negotiate changes.People are never happy when they feel taken advantage of or undervalued. If these are the reasons that you hate your job, you should come up with a plan to negotiate changes. Sit down and make a list of the changes that would make you happy in the position you hold. This will distract you from your current circumstances, as well as paint a picture of better working conditions. Approach your boss and suggest the changes. Even if they aren’t implemented, the meeting will get you away from your normal work for a bit.
- For example, you could set up a meeting with your boss and start off by saying something like “I appreciate all of the opportunities that the company has given me over the past two years that I have been an employee. Having taken all of those opportunities enthusiastically has allowed me to build my skill set and handle more responsibility for the company. Unfortunately, I do not feel like my pay has raised appropriately to reflect the job that I now do.”
Work towards a new position.Keep in mind that your job does not have to be permanent. Fantasizing about a better position can keep you distracted from the work that you hate. Another approach is to channel your attention away from “what” you are doing and into “how” doing it will get you a better job.
- New positions often come with more responsibility. To show that you are ready for such responsibilities, volunteer to take on projects or help someone who is struggling in your department. This will stand out to your boss and show your ability to be a leader.
Push yourself to do your current work better.Being underchallenged day in and day out is enough to make anyone hate their job. Push yourself to take on a new project, or complete your current projects in a more effective way. This will make you think critically and creatively, and distract you from the boring ins and outs of every day. It will also build good habits for your future employment.
- For example, if you create spreadsheets to list businesses’ contact information, push yourself a step further and hyperlink out to their websites, or to other relevant businesses within the spreadsheet.
Maintain your personality.You likely know the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” or some version of it. While this holds true to some degree in the workplace, you should still be yourself. Put your personal flare into your work and distract yourself from the monotony of the work.
- For example, if you design a flyer for your company, you should look at it not only as an employee, but as a person as well. This will allow you to understand how the flyer “feels” to people like yourself, and give you the insight to tweak it into being more appealing.
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