Five Things I Learned About Myself When I Got A Life

the boring job project book with highlighters and calendar

You’ve been bored at work before, right? You zone out a little and think about other things. You might head to the kitchen to make a cup of tea or get a snack or find someone to chat to. But, has work ever bored you every single day? Do you drag yourself into the office because you just know that your day is going to be dull?

That was me. My job fit everything I’d ever wanted in employment; it was close to home, it fit my skills, it made me learn new things, it paid well and it introduced me to some of my closest friends. The only thing that wasn’t great? It was so boring.

I came from a creative background into a very analytical role. There was no room for the imagination I’d previously been using because regulations and rules needed to be followed. I knew that the work would be different when I accepted this role, but it wasn’t long before the boredom had infiltrated my home life too.

It took me a little while to realise that I had actually become my boring job.

To combat the grey that had washed over my previously technicoloured life, I started my own personal project, The Boring Job Project. I didn’t want to give up a job that ticked almost every box in favour of one that might untick anything else. I also wasn’t in the financial position to quit and find myself something else. I just felt that I needed a work-life balance. I had the work part; I just needed a life.

I rolled with the idea that maybe I could increase my job satisfaction by doing more outside of work. If I had hobbies and interests, I might not notice that the nature of my work was a bit dull. I couldn’t help that I found the content of my job boring, but I could help the way I spent my time outside of work.

As I documented the process of testing out hobbies from cooking to fitness to learning a language, I learned some things about myself that I may not have realised before.

I can be quite creative

Given that I was working in a creative field; this should have been obvious. But, once I was used to my analytical job, I seemed to forget that I once was quite imaginative. The most I was able to do at work was design PowerPoint presentations, which doesn’t satiate my creative appetite.

Once I let myself get out of ‘work mode’ and into a hobby, instead of the television, I was able to let the other side of my brain have a stretch. Instead of writing reports, I was writing fiction. Instead of formatting plans, I was scrapbooking. Instead of making presentations, I was creating content for YouTube.

It was such a nice change to let my brain breathe instead of being in the strict confines of my job and it made my nine to five more satisfying because I felt as if I’d achieved something that I wanted to for the week.  

I have the time

Before I started The Boring Job Project, I was childless and renting an apartment with a husband who worked from home. There was no yard and we shared most of the chores. If I’m honest, he probably even took on more than me. I had plenty of time to try out different hobbies.

Now, I’m a homeowner with a child, two puppies and a husband who sometimes works seven days a week outside of the house. I was working from home full-time for most of 2020 and, as such, took on a lot – if not most – of the everyday chores, while also trying to maintain my freelancing business. Now that I’m back in the office, that time is even more stretched because of the two hours I spend commuting every day.

But, you know what? I still have the time if I make it. If I schedule my day properly and don’t waste time scrolling through my phone, I can fit in leisure time almost every day if I wanted to. It might only be an hour, but the point is: I have the time.

I’ve previously been a follower

In the past, I’ve fallen victim to being a follower. I would read the books that everyone else was reading, or try to make my Instagram aesthetic on par with the bloggers I follow. My blog posts and vlogs were trying too hard to be someone else.

I’ve realised that there is nothing wrong with being me and being myself. I don’t have to like the same things that other people like. My interests are no less worthy than anyone else’s and I don’t have to have a certain look to be considered cool.

I now pay less attention to doing things because I think I should be doing them and pay more time to doing things because I want to do them.

I didn’t think that much

Before The Boring Job Project, I used to come home from work and switch on Netflix or YouTube. I would have screens playing in the background while I prepared dinner and put on the washing, and would then settle down on the couch and become absorbed for the rest of the evening.

When I was exposed to so much screen time, I didn’t think. I didn’t learn much. I just let the shows hit my eyes and turn me into a zombie. Every day, my brain would be focused on work or nothing – there was no in-between.

Now, when I’m putting energy into one of my interests, I can feel my brain thinking, coming up with ideas and being active in a relaxing way.

I need my me-time

I really came to value the time spent working on my hobbies. I learned that doing something for myself, even if it was as unsuccessful as learning how to knit, was the key to finding more satisfaction in my job.

Knowing that my whole life didn’t revolve around the work that I thought was boring was a good distraction when I was typing out monthly reports and entering data into a spreadsheet.

Now that I haven’t let myself become my boring job, I’ve found so much more satisfaction in it. Taking time every week to do something that I really enjoy has made me feel fulfilled and more appreciative of the great career that I have.

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