So, your accounting job is boring? Yeah, I feel you. I've been there. Several times. It didn't always start as boring but after I mastered the learning curve, if I wasn't learning something new on a regular basis then I would get bored.
I expect a certain amount of routine at an accounting job, but when the days just start blending together and they feel like they're repeating like in the movie Groundhog Day, then something needs to change.
Maybe leaving your accounting job isn't an option for you right now.
You have too much debt, you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, or you even had a hard enough time getting your current job. If you see yourself being there for the indefinite future while you save up the money or courage for your next move, you need to make the best of it for now.
Here are a few suggestions on how to make your boring accounting job better:
1. Interact with your co-workers
One of the best ways to make your accounting job better is to engage more with your co-workers. I would find several times a day to chat with my co-workers so I could take a break and give my eyes a rest from the computer screen. Be respectful of your co-workers' time and space, but go and chat with them about something THEY like. Be a good listener and ask insightful questions. The conversation doesn't have to be work related (in fact make it interesting and not more boring work stuff) but could be about a upcoming event, interesting news affecting your industry or even something funny. The point is to get up from your desk, take a break from your work, and mingle occasionally. Sometimes the best ideas can come from interacting with other people.
2. Go on regular walks
Aside from the exercise you are getting when you walk, you also allow your brain to take a break from the task at hand. When I worked in an office, I loved taking a walk on my lunch hour so I can step away from the desk, get outside and free my mind from work. Taking in the scenery that isn't a beige cubicle farm can remind you there is life outside the office.
3. Request a special project you're interested in
Working on a special project outside of your routine responsibilities is key to growing. If you've already make all your regular duties efficient, then take something on that needs improvement. It's a satisfying feeling to say you've taken a process and reduced the time it takes or found a way for the company or client to save money. Don't just wait to be handed something, ask your boss or your team what their current pain points are or if you can take something off their plate. This pro-activeness will be especially rewarding when it comes to annual review time.
4. Listen to some music
When working on a boring, repetitive administrative task, liven it up by plugging in your headphones and rocking out to your favorite music mix. I once got stuck working on a project that consisted of printing hundreds of invoices. Since it was monotonous and soul-crushing, the only thing I had to look forward to during those hours was zoning out to some music. Listening to music will be ideal for something that doesn't take a lot of mental focus so you can get lost in the lyrics and still get the job done.
5. Take a different route to work
You've optimized your daily commute by taking the best routes possible but sometimes it's ok to just not take the most efficient route to work. If your day is starting off by going down the same roads, sitting at the same traffic lights, and dealing with the same a**holes in traffic, then switch up your morning route to work. It may not seem obvious, but by changing how you start your day can make a big difference on how the rest of the day plays out. If you usually drive, then take a train, walk or just take a more scenic route if possible. When you are forced to explore a new route you are going on a mini-adventure and breaking up your boring routine.
6. Be the 'Go To' person for [fill in the blank]
I was known as the 'Credit Card' guru at my former job. People would come to me for advice and recommendations when it came to credit cards and using them for free travel. I loved it because it's something I'm passionate about and I liked being the 'go to' guy for something other than accounting related issues. Having a feeling of significance at your job is important, even if you don't enjoy your work. So find something you can be the 'go to' person for.
7. Don't ask permission, beg for forgiveness
I don't ask permission. If I had to leave work a half hour or hour early then I wouldn't always ask, I would just leave after I got my work done. You don't need to be micromanaged and if an hour or so is going to freak your boss out then are you sure you want to be working for them? Just get your work done when it needs to get done. Same goes for changing processes. I wouldn't ask if I could make something better, I would just do it. You want more freedom, then you are going to have to demand it (but be responsible ok?). You can always beg for forgiveness after the fact. By learning to just do and not ask permission, it will go a long ways when it does come time to finally take that leap from your job.
8. Start plotting your escape
When it got to the point at any one of my accounting jobs where none of the above activities were enough to keep me engaged, I knew it was time to leave. Once you figure out that it's time, start creating your master plan for leaving. Even if it is months or years down the road, having that "light at the end of the tunnel" can give you the motivation to power through your boring job.
The Bottom Line
There are certain things you can control at your job and other things you can't. So only focus on the things you can control. You are spending 8+ hours a day with your co-workers so you might as well enjoy the people part if you can't enjoy the actual work itself. It's up to you to be proactive when it comes to making your accounting job less boring.
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