Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Survive Repetitive Jobs

Repetitive jobs can be tough. Forty monotonous hours per week can make you long for the days of that history class you hated- at least you could doze through that lecture! Unfortunately, that’s a no-no for this monotonous job. Doing well and staying focused is your best chance to get promoted to something more interesting and challenging. Here are some ways to stay happy in repetitive jobs and to make sure your brain won’t have turned to mush when that happy promotion finally comes.

Race the clock
Set time limits for your tasks. This will keep you honest about your productivity and give the illusion of breaking up your day. After you’ve accomplished one task in a given time frame, race yourself and see if you can do it faster! This can offer some spice to boring and repetitive jobs.

Add what variety you can

Can you write some memos with a purple pen and some with a green pen? Can you write your boss’s emails to recipients in reverse alphabetical order? Can you work on a different doodle of each of the seven dwarfs every hour (plus Snow White for hour eight) of the day while you talk on the phone? Find ways to amuse yourself in repetitive jobs. Just make sure that the little games don’t compromise your performance. (ie. Don’t start calling a client Sleepy or Sneezy on the phone while you draw.)

Make a great playlist
Many workplaces will allow you to listen to music while you work (if you aren’t sure about the policy, ask). Take the opportunity to trick out your iPod and become a music expert while working repetitive jobs. Also consider listening to podcasts and books on tape while you work if possible.

Try to improve your situation
It’s possible that repetitive jobs can be made less repetitive if you figured out a better way to do it. For instance, if your job involves entering information into a database, ask if you can take some time to develop a way for it to be automatically imported from its source. By taking on this project you might be able to reduce your repetitive tasks, as well as get mega brownie points for taking so much initiative. Just be careful that you don’t eliminate your job!

See the bigger picture

If you absolutely can’t get out of doing repetitive work, think about what you might be contributing to as a whole. I once had a temp job where I was making outbound calls for donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The job was horribly repetitive, but knowing that I was raising money for a great cause helped me get through it. What are you working towards? If nothing else, think about yourself working towards your future in a better career.

These are all great things that can keep you busy and entertained while working repetitive jobs. Best of luck!

How do you survive repetitive jobs? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by katerha

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.