10 Steps to Being Innovative in a Boring Job
Boredom is directly related to energy. A change of environment or change of task can recharge your energy and inspire you to be more innovative. It takes your mind into a different space, allowing you to come up with different thoughts and actions.
2. Take a Different Path
Your brain needs stimulus to be innovative. Try doing something differently to provide it with that stimulus. Today, do an every day task in a different way, at a different time, at a different desk or with different people.
3. Help Out
If you’re bored at work, it may be because you’re working too much within yourself. You’ve got to find something else to do and someone else to do it with. When you start paying attention to what’s going on in your office, you might notice people who are doing quite interesting things. Ask them “Would you like a hand?” and you get into something different. Switch on your curiosity and you might find yourself helping out in a way that gets you thinking about things from a fresh perspective.
4. Learn from the Past
Innovation is often based on what’s gone before. Take something you’ve already done or your team has already done and think about ways you could have done it differently but just as successfully, if not more so. This will help you come up with ideas for innovative and exciting methods of doing future projects.
5. Switch Focus
If your responsibilities are quite homogeneous in nature or you’ve had the same duties for the entire time you’ve been with your employer, seek permission from your boss to switch your focus to different kinds of tasks. You can learn how to be innovative on the job if you commit yourself to expanding your knowledge. There is no reason why you can’t devote some time to that with your boss’ blessing.
6. Get Mind Mapping
If you’ve reached a state of stagnation with a certain project, create a mind map to generate some innovative ideas. Write down a main topic or theme in the middle of a sheet of paper, draw a circle round it and draw 10 little lines so that they’re coming out of the circle. At the end of each line, write down an idea or task that relates to the central theme.
7. Hold Brainstorming Sessions
Get together with your colleagues and hold a brainstorming session to kick-start a project or to come up with innovative ways to benefit the company and take it forward. Don’t worry about only writing down the ‘good’ ideas or separating the ‘definitelys’ from the ‘maybes’. Just get it all down initially and take it from there.
8. Find Alternatives to Boat-Rocking
If you came in to do a specific job on a 3 month contract and you suddenly start to do something completely different to what you’re there to do, it may make things a bit awkward between you and the organisation. But what if you were to do your existing tasks in a different way instead? That is a great way of injecting novelty into your daily routine.
9. Get Strategic
If you’re bored because it seems like you don’t have any goals at work and you’re just meandering aimlessly through each day, be more strategic about how you go about your work. Set quantifiable, achievable goals for each day, week and month and diarise the steps you’re going to take to reach those goals.
10. Find Your Passion
Identifying subjects or subject areas that inspire you energizes you and makes being innovative easier. You can go anywhere with your imagination when you’re fuelled by something you’re passionate about.
By Simon North, Founder of Position Ignition (www.positionignition.com) and the Career Ignition Club (www.careerignitionclub.com), the UK’s leading career change and career development company and platform. He is also the author of 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips (http://www.positionignition.com/100-linkedin-job-search-tips). Follow him @PosIgnition for more help with your career challenges.