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10 skills to improve while you're bored at work

10 skills to improve while you're bored at work

Improve Your Skills While You're Bored at Work

Being bored at work can really be fun and resourceful if you know what to do. You just have to find the things that will improve some of your personal attributes and keep you occupied at the same time. While others are unsure about what to do and yawning sitting idle in their desk, you can make a full use of it. Developing new skills in your "spare" time will not only cure you of your boredom but also equip you with better tools for thriving in the workplace. It’s called turning a curse into a blessing!

Here are few skills and useful tasks to keep yourself occupied with.

1. Learn to code

There is no better way to utilise your time than learning to code. This is the age of technology and learning a programming language is sure to add value to your profile. You don't have to become an expert, but even developing a basic understanding of how languages like HTML work can make you more productive and more attractive to potential employers.

An added bonus is that you can practise by developing your own personal website, which will help you market yourself and show off what you can do.

2. Start a blog

It can be a blog about developments in your field, but also a more personal space where you share your views on pop culture or other hobbies. The main thing to consider is who you want to read it and what your purpose is. Commit to a target each week and push yourself to reach it. This will serve to draw attention and keep current followers engaged, which can in turn give you an even greater incentive to stick to your schedule.

Fortunately for your company, writing a blog - regardless of topic - can help you enhance your writing skills, which will come in handy no matter what your job role is.

3. Perfect your MS Office skills

If you still don’t have a good grasp MS Office and you have an idle computer in front of you, that’s the suite of programs you should focus on first and foremost. It’s a key requirement for most of the office jobs and there is no denying the huge boost that a skilled use of Microsoft Excel, for example, can give you in terms of effectiveness and productivity. And they can be very useful in your personal life too.

After MS Office, you can move on to more specialised software matching your field and interests. Remember, software skills are sometimes the deciding factor between otherwise equal candidates when it comes to promotions and pay raises.

4. Practise being a leader

Just because it isn't written in your job description doesn't mean it can't be highly valuable for yourself and your organisation. Taking the reigns and doing something new for a positive change while others are too busy with themselves can be a noble and highly rewarding way to test your leadership skills. Maybe your workplace has some issues that need to be dealt with; take the initiative and get them resolved. Your leadership skills will grow much stronger and you’ll earn respect from others too.

5. Enhance your charisma

It might sound weird, but it’s true that many great orators use a mirror to practise their speech. Stand straight in front of the mirror, work on your style and posture, see how you look when you talk and try tweaking your performance for the better. In many cases, there is no better critic of your communication style than yourself.

So give it a go and develop a more engaging, charismatic style that will help you outshine others and more easily secure the collaboration of colleagues and customers in the future.

6. Learn a new language

Knowing more than one language is like fighting with more than one weapon in hand. Using your free time to learn a new language will cheer your mood and expose you to a new culture, as well as making your CV stand out.

Follow your interests but take your current work into account. If you often travel to another country for work purposes, for example, why not learn to engage with the locals? Otherwise try to focus on commonly used languages such as the official languages used in international organisations like the EU and UN.

7. Network

Experts believe that having a strong professional network is one of the deciding factors in succeeding in one’s career. If you are bored at work, create and update your LinkedIn profile, add new people in your social network and stay connected. See and be seen, that’s the trick!

8. Clean your inbox

No, we don't mean selecting all and moving everything into the bin! We mean really taking the time to go through the hundreds or thousands of emails you have been hoarding over the years to get your inbox empty... but also have all of your important messages archived in a neat, easily accessible fashion.

Step 1: define a system. Step 2: make relevant folders. Step 3: move messages to their proper place. Step 4: make tasks for current and upcoming items on your to-do list.

Still bored? Have a go at your desktop - those pesky icons aren't going to move themselves!

9. Re-arrange your workspace

Keeping healthy is of primary importance, but many employees working 9-5 desk jobs don't pay enough attention to this aspect, which can result in discomfort and injury.

Forgotten everything you learnt in your health and safety at work course? Why not brush up on your knowledge and take the time to re-arrange your screen, desk, chair and other items to make sure that you are not putting your health at risk. Take the opportunity to get some movement and/or do some research into furniture and equipment that can help you stay fit on the job, such as standing desks or balance boards.

10. Design and create

Be creative! Explore your inner talents and create something beautiful. Use software like Adobe InDesign or Illustrator (or their free open source versions), practise different skills and nurture your artistic mind. Two birds with one stone, right? Getting those creative juices flowing can only have positive results. And who knows - you might even come up with something so unique that will change your entire career!

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Last updated: 17 Mar 2016

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