The Lighter Side

4 Ways to Make Work Tolerable

Though most of us “office haters” dream of greener pastures and talk a blue streak about what we would do with our lives if only our job was better/didn’t exist, we still do have to go to work every day. Though we will not stand for this forever, we do have to cope with the long, tedious days in the present.

Here are 4 techniques that might help you get through your long work days. They helped me immensely over the years. The last one is especially useful and important.

1. Listen to music at work.

This seems really simple and obvious, but it definitely helps. There is one caveat, however: some places of work will not let you do this, especially if you have to answer phones or are in a customer service related position. But, you’d be surprised what you can get away with if you are sneaky about it. Bring a small radio to your desk and play it at a low volume if you have to answer phones. Many micromanagers don’t like headphones, so this is a way you can show them that you are not being sneaky.

A short time ago I took a temp-assignment doing data-entry to make some extra cash. The first day was so unbelievably boring and slow that I couldn’t imagine myself getting through the 3-month long assignment as things were. It seemed like every hour was 10 hours long. On the second day I brought some headphones and logged into to listen to music and the day went 10 times as fast. If you can get away with it, this technique really helps.

2. Make friends with co-workers.

Ok, they don’t have to be”real” friends, but at least go out of your way to get to know them. You’ll find that the atmosphere at work quickly becomes more tolerable if there are at least a few others you can joke around with who share and understand your plight. Misery loves company. Now, if something bad happens to you at work, you have a support network instead of having to call your mom in tears.

3. Take a walk on your lunch break and eat lunch at your desk during normal work hours.

I mentioned this trick in an earlier post, but it really works. Who says you have to waste your precious half hour lunch break (or hour, if you are lucky) eating lunch? You are much better off getting the eating out of the way while simultaneously eating into your 8 hour shift.

The second part to this equation though, is that during your break you MUST leave the office. Who cares what your co-workers think? Tell them you are getting lunch. If you get out of your death trap and take a walk, go for a quick drive to a park, go for a really quick swim or play a quick 9 holes on a mini-golf course, you’ll feel very refreshed when you return! If you are a few minutes late, who is really going to notice?

4. Write plans for your next “career move” while at work.

Sometimes the best thing a person can to do alleviate the tedium, boredom, and depression of the office is to make concrete plans NOT to be there. If you are planning on starting a business, use the time at your desk brainstorming and writing down ideas for doing do.

This is a great psychological boost, because you’ll feel like you are actually make personal progress toward a better place and not just slaving away for the “personal progress” of your employer. Try it. You’ll feel better! It might even change your life.



  • escapee January 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    and #5. Work on your side business during regular work hours 🙂


  • Annette January 14, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    #6) Be productive with other parts of your life.
    *Pay your bills
    *Check your accounts
    *Make appointments
    *Look into classes (exercise, academic)
    *Plan for your next vacation
    *Help a friend
    *Do homework
    *Contact and apply for other jobs

    Work goes by faster when you are busy. I get more done for my job when I am taking care of my own needs too. Then, when I go home, my time is my own.


  • Mike January 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    I did a #5 much of the time I was at my last job. Made my life a bit less stressful when I returned home for the night, because most of my business work was already done!

    Annette, those are great – this list might just go on forever. I might write a sequel to this entry some day.


  • Sarah February 21, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Loved going to the park during my lunch at my previous employer. Haven’t figured out what to do here yet cuz it’s kinda the urban jungle around here.


  • taydixon July 31, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Excellent pearls of wisdom here. I am toying with going remote at my job and until I reach this goal, these will definitely help the days go faster.


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