Get Excited About The Work You Do Again

1487100824_076641a594_bLast week, I wrote a post on five ways you can improve yourself and your business. This week, I want to discuss the dreaded work blues.

I’ll tell you a dirty secret no freelancer likes to mention: we get bored with our work. Even though we’re able to pick and choose our clients and projects we still do the same thing every day. For example, here’s a look at my daily schedule:

  • Wake up, eat breakfast, shower
  • Check emails and RSS feeds
  • Work
  • Check email
  • Lunch
  • Work
  • Check email and RSS feeds
  • Dinner
  • Work

What a snooze. Where’s all the glory and glamour I was promised when I first started freelancing? Don’t get me wrong, I love my business much much more than I loved any regular nine to five job I ever held. But, sometimes I’m just bored.


Being Bored Is OK

One of the secrets to being successful is to embrace the boring times. Being bored is good because it’s an indicator you need to do something more. Being bored means you’ve learned all you can in what you’re doing so it’s time to learn something more, try something else or target a different group.

It’s easy to get disheartened with the boring times. After all, who wants to be bored with the work they supposedly love? None of us ever want to drag our feet in the mornings to our downstairs office. But, just like our personal relationships, our business can stagnate and need spicing up.

Use It or Lose It

Eventually, you’ll either make yourself unbored, or you’ll continue doing exactly the same thing you’re doing now and eventually give up and walk away.

It’s tempting to stop working when you’re bored and this is ok if it’s only for a day or two. But remember, you’ve got clients waiting for you and you can’t hide from them for forever, if you still want to be in business. So let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out some things we can do.

What Should You Do When You’re Bored?

If you do the right kind of things during this period, you can really come out happier, improved and even gain some more business!

  • Take the day off, go somewhere and take pretty pictures–Not only relaxing, this allows you to get some creative “frustration” out, even if you’re not a designer, it’s good to do a few crafts and hobbies.
  • Find something cool to work on–Just because you’re bored with work, doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop working. Try picking up a couple of awesome projects, whether they’re personal, pro-bono or just something you’re interested in. Find a reason to come to work.
  • Learn how to design–Even if you’re a developer or writer, learning some basics of design can improve both your writing and code structure and also the way your code is organized.
  • Learn a new programming language–I’m currently learning PHP to help with a social app I’m building and then I’ll be going through Cocoa for a few iPhone apps. I have no backend programming experience, so Cocoa is definitely going to be a tough challenge–but, it’s something I’m looking forward to doing because I’m excited about potential projects.
  • Find new work–Could a reason that you find your work boring be because you have boring clients with boring projects? Try to not accept any new project that doesn’t make you say “Sweet!” when you hear about it. Perhaps you’re bored because your work really is boring.
  • Work on your own stuff–Does your portfolio look like it was designed in the 1970s? One of the things that excites me is the thought of adding awesome pieces to my online portfolio, but if your portfolio is seriously outdated, you may be dreading it. Hire a designer, design one yourself or buy a nice template. Get it out of the 70s!
  • Participate in something big–I’ve been participating in a contest for entrepreneurs. Even if I don’t end up winning, it was lots of fun getting the support of all my social media followers and I learned a lot from it. This really helped me get excited about the future of my business, as part of the prize was mentoring from some big name gurus! Try to find a contest you could be in, even if it has nothing to do with business.
  • Go to “Camp”–Have you been to your local BarCamp, PodCamp or WordCamp? It’s a great place to meet local people, get cool swag and learn loads of new stuff. I always come away from one of those with tons of new ideas and a fresh look on what I can be doing for my code and my clients.

Just Do Something

Don’t let being bored stop you from accomplishing your goals. It happens to everyone, I promise. The trick is busting through the wall of boredom to that exciting new project behind it.

How Do You Combat Boredom in Freelancing?

Share your boredom busters in the comments.

Image by longhorndave

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Comments

  1. says

    I believe no matter how much you love what you do, you will eventually get bored of it, especially if it turns into a routine. It’s happened to me and it happens more often then I’d like to admit. At that point what helps me is trying to start up a new business venture related to the web and get some people to work on it with me and eventually just have some fun with it, and sell it after some time. This helps me not only learn more about working with a team in web design but also raise my IQ in the business area. So if you’re bored of doing the same thing over and over this is probably one of the best things you can try to do. You’ll make new contacts and you’ll be able to make more money working with people than by yourself because you’ll be able to leverage your time, and you might just have a lot of fun doing it. :)

  2. says

    Routine is my biggest enemy and I agree that doing the same thing over and over, can get really boring sometimes. However I offer a wide range of services and designing myself the logo, website layout, coding the (x)HTML/css, integrating in a wordpress custom theme and offering seo, keeps everything very interesting for me. Of course I outsource parts of those from time to time and focus on my specialization (css and wordpress) but also is a great feeling that I can finish up a project from A to Z (successfuly)

  3. says

    I was always told that the educated never get bored. There is always something new to learn, whether it be physics, botany, psychology ( Micro Expressions ). To just learn you almost have to have a childlike curiosity of the world around you to venture into new avenues of thought. Thus boredom never exists.

    Really glad to hear that you are venturing into PHP, such a rewarding and dynamic language, I’m sure you’ll pick it up in no time!

  4. says

    You forgot exercise in things to do! I find exercising is the best way to kind of ‘reset’ your brain. A nice long run, swim or cycle gives you time to think, wakes you up and makes you feel glad to be back at your desk and resting. If your body thinks if i’m not sitting here working i’m going to have to kill myself training it’s less likely to stagnate!
    ;-)

  5. says

    Getting the same schedule makes you little more lazy after a couple of days and you feel being bored or alone and have the feeling that why we choose this profession.
    Changing the scehdule is a nice step in increasing the efficiency and the quality of work. i had also written something like this
    “24 Hours of a Blogger life”
    hope you guys like it

  6. says

    Going through a little bit of this myself at the moment, but i’ve just booked a 3 day trip to Phuket in Thailand to help ease the pain. I’m gonna take the Canon 40d and see if I can get some good shots and just relax away from it all. Luckily I dont have any major deadlines at the moment either.

    Thanks for the tips though, will be trying to structure my day a lot better, and find some more interesting client projects to work on soon. Would love to learn Cocoa and PHP, but I just dont have the time with all the work i’ve got on…

  7. says

    Thank is a great article and very fitting for most of us, I’m sure. I think being bored could be a good and bad thing. Like you mentioned, if we use that time wisely, we can benefit from it, it not, it’s only going to get worse. That is how I learned the ins-and-outs of WordPress, I got bored at my job and decided it was time to learn it. That has proved to be a very useful skill.

  8. says

    Yeah, sometimes i’m geting boret of what i’m doing most of my days … but i’m using this time to learn something new … new tehnologies or something like that.
    In time when i’m bored I’m trying to learn or read or watch something inspirative, or just go out-doors enjoy spring time…

  9. says

    When I’m feeling bored, I like to pull out my idea book and start sketching or reading through ideas I’ve had. That usually gets me excited to work again.

    And on the times that it doesn’t, I try to figure out new recipes in the kitchen. A little random, but loads of fun, especially if it has bacon.

  10. says

    I try to include something I have not tried in every project I take on, be it a image effect, code style, CSS trick, whatever- it keeps me learning and never lets me get bored- there is a bit of frustration in the beginning while you are learning the new ‘trick’ but it works out in the end and having a new technique up your sleeve helps in future projects as well.

  11. says

    It’s good to hear how you guys keep the boring monster off. One of the problems I have, is that I hate my office. I’ll be taking a whole week off in the second week of May, to move my office upstairs in a sunny pretty room :)

  12. says

    All great tips. I personally always try to learn something new when I need a motivational boost. Learning something new gets the neurons firing again, and I WANT to put my knew found knowledge into my work. I feel just like that 12 year old again learning HTML for the first time. :P

  13. says

    Nice to know your experiences, wonderful topic and very much close to everybody’s daily life; creativity is as important as life is…

  14. says

    This post is great and really reassuring, but i agree if you reach the level where you have learned everything then your brain needs a new challenge to keep you occupied or an interesting project to get your teeth into.

  15. says

    Fighting the boredom wave is a hard one to do, especially when it’s the project that needs to be done asap. It’s often hard to turn down work, especially when your number of clients is lagging in a particular month, but if you focus on only accepting the type of work you enjoy and are good at, you’ll see an overall improvement and enjoyment in your performance.

    http://werkadoo.com

  16. says

    Being bored, I’ve always got a list of things to do and I’m always adding to them…the list keeps getting bigger and bigger.

    And I agree, just do something, only the other day I had a few minutes before going out with the family, reviewed my goals, removed some, adjusted some and added loads :-) . In return this has created a few more clients :-)

  17. says

    Great article! I’m getting so much bored these days.. Don’t know what it is to blame, maybe strange clients, maybe too regular projects.. Maybe… But after reading this article I can say I am going to fight the boredom! How couldn’t I get to it by myself? :)

  18. says

    When I get bored, I work on my own stuff (I’m a writer, so work on an ebook or novel), or I play a computer game. I know, a waste of time, but it works to get me out of the rut.

    Learning new things is always good, too!

  19. says

    I’m not exactly a freelancer, but I do a good bit of writing for my multiple blogs and websites, and for article marketing purposes. I do get bored at times, and lately I decided that when I get bored with writing, I should write something crazy. If most of my articles are straight-forward and informative, maybe then I would throw in a humorous piece. It’s probably something I should do more often anyway. Boldness gets you places, and so does being crazy.

  20. says

    One of the reasons why I love blogging is that there’s many aspects to take care off- writing content is only a portion of it. Yes, I do go out and take pictures- and have fun writing about the places (I have smaller blogs in which I just promote my home country). Other time I will work on the layout, seek out other bloggers, source for pictures. By the time I’m done doing that, the boredom and writers block goes off and I’m back to writing again.

  21. says

    I create videos as a freelancer and although there’s a lot of variety in the work I do, the work does get tedious and routine. I find that the best thing I can do to get excited again is to do something entirely different when I have down time. This involves things unrelated to video such as making music, playing games, enjoying nature, or spending time with my family. I find that the separation allows me to find inspiration outside of my line of work. It’s as if I find subconscious connections to my work by engaging in activities totally unrelated!

    The other thing I do is work on personal projects where I have absolutely total control and can unleash creative ideas that I wouldn’t normally use on work projects. I definitely think our minds need to release some of that creative pressure building up and a great way to do that is by creating art.

  22. says

    Everyone gets bored at some point in their work or life. What I usually do, is first take a couple hours for just me: Read a good book that has nothing to do with my work(a romance or a good mystery), go for a long walk, learn a new software program, whatever it is you enjoy doing that relaxes you and clears your mind.

    Then I’ll go back to the beginning! In other words, what is it that got you excited to become a freelancer to begin with. Is it a book you read, a forum you belonged to? With me it was both, and going back to those days, when I was first exploring the concept of becoming a Virtual Assistant, works everytime! It sets me back on track and reminds me of why I’m doing what I do.

  23. says

    I think doing new additions and applying new things in same work which you did before makes you learn new things as well as makes it more interesting

  24. says

    Freelance magazine writing can be one of the most rewarding careers available to a freelance writer. Successful magazine writers are articulate, have a wide variety of interests, and know how to research a topic.

  25. says

    thanks for this post. I’ve been dealing with this A LOT lately with my current business i wonder if its a sign that i need to get into something completely different, but after reading this i now know its completely normal.

    I have a tendency to start a new business venture and i’m super excited about it, and that excitement will last 6 months, 12 months, or whatever, and eventually it begins to fade and boredom starts to take over.

    I love what i do, but there are days when i’m like “damn, this sucks!” You just have to keep reminding yourself that anything worth working hard for will take time. If its something that came easy, you wont appreciate it and it wont feel anything like the “reward” you were hoping for.

    best wishes and good luck with your future endeavors!

  26. says

    Couldn?t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  27. says

    magnificent publish, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

  28. says

    Many thanks for this helpful post. I have been thinking so much about why I get board and then distracted and spend hours doing anything in front of my computer but work. I really think that boredom insist because nothing is done about it.

    When I consciously go on the net, play a game or two, or doing whatever that excites me this mere ‘decision’ to do something about the issue (btw i had to accept it as an issue) becomes a powerful response, rather than an automatic reaction of slacking off by going on the net and etc. because of boredom, which then leads to guilt for continuing to do something wrong, and frustration of not having enough time at the end.

    But by being honest with myself about my limitations, and doing something about them, no matter how small they may be, I place myself in a process in which I am active towards dealing with the issue. By this time boredom is no longer seen as a problem or an obstacle but rather as an alarm that shows me that I have or I am reaching my limitation. So I respond to it consciously. Here I get encouraged trusting that things are going toward a positive outcome. So the idea that I am ‘doing something’ about it is empowering to me.

    - your co-worker

  29. says

    I do find it hard some times to motivate myself. But I find diversifying what i do help. Doing the same thing every day will always get boring, and when things work its so much more rewarding.

  30. says

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website.
    I am hoping to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own
    site now ;)

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