Exciting news to share here at CM Access! Due to an amazing life event, our Office Manager, Katherine Merrill-Horne went on maternity leave in March to care for her amazing (and very cute) newborn baby Rowan. Three and a half months later, Kat is back and juggling being a mother of 2, and her job, with ease! I am sure you are just as thrilled as we are. She returned to all of us on Wednesday last week, and has been busy getting up to speed on the status of all those who came onboard with us during her absence, and also reacquainting herself with those that have been with us for some time.
If you have not heard from her yet, you will very soon! Please join us in giving Kat a warm welcome back.
Let's talk about what apps you've used today. The websites you've visited, the music you've listened to, the emails you've read, the public transit statuses you've checked. You probably just tap them open, flying through the usual tap, slide, tap, slide some more routine without a second thought about how you're navigating through a pretty complicated system.
The jobs of User Interface (UI) Designers and User Experience (UX) Designers exist in order to make your interactive experiences effortless, organized, and intuitive. Their job is to make sure you understand a system with no need for an instruction manual.
UI and UX jobs have only been around (with these titles) since the start of the internet, and while they began as subcategories of Web Design, they've since become a category of their own - UI/UX designers can work on projects related to the web, apps, or any other interactive system being implemented (a museum exhibit, a company's internal content/project management system, etc.). Since UI/UX is part of a young sector of the industry that developed pretty organically, an interesting thing has happened.
Most people can't quite tell the difference between a UI and a UX designer!
While many job titles combine to the two skills, a "UI/UX designer," someone who can do both jobs is nearly impossible to find - truly a unicorn. In reality, UX is very different from UI (even though they use a lot of the same programs), and we're here to help you learn the difference.
It's 9am. You arrive at work, go get coffee, have a few morning chats with some coworkers, doodle a little to-do list, and then sit at your desk. Crickets. Somehow an hour later you have found yourself doing everything but working. Procrastination, some call it, but in your case this is a different beast. You're... [cue the Jaws music].. BORED.
Being bored at work is not out of the norm for a lot of us. We usually chalk it up to a "slow time" of the year or month and just let ourselves dawdle the days away until we're busy again. But what if it's a chronic problem? There are ways to bring some zing to your days and put the spark back in your step.
1) Ask for more work.
I know what you're thinking – "I don't actually want anymore work, so why would I ask for it?" Don't you want to feel productive? Don't you want to be seen as a valuable member of the team? First of all, your boss won't necessarily know you have a light workload unless you tell him or her, and secondly, being the person who steps up to the plate is never a bad thing. Come review time, if you've been asking for more work all year you're bound to get a raise (or at least be reasonable to ask for one).
2) Start looking ahead.
Is there a position at the company you'd like to have eventually? Spend some time thinking about the sort of work you should be doing to get there, and then try to incorporate more of those skills into your current workload. Then when it comes time to apply for that job, should it open up, you've already got a repertoire of applicable skills and qualifications.
3) Streamline your current job.
Many people, without initially setting up a system for their files or daily tasks, aren't able to dedicate time to remedying the problem later on. If you've been meaning to organize your files, now is the time to do it. If you've been dreaming of introducing an If This Then That automation into your routine, now is your chance. Plus, whatever you want to do, there's probably an app for that.
Take a look at work from when you first started through until now. Would you change anything? Lay a very critical eye on your past work, look at it altogether. Spend a little time evaluating the success of a campaign you spearheaded or figure out how many hours you spent on a project. Look in a mirror a little bit and make sure you're working efficiently and successfully. It sounds like you probably are, if you have extra time, but you never know.
5) Whatever you do, avoid social media.
The only thing worse than wasting half an hour on Facebook is wasting a full hour. It's unproductive, it doesn't look great to a supervisor, and it's easy to lose track of time. Though you have a bit of time to spare, there's no need to get yourself caught up on what Linda from high school is up to.
If you're bored at work, it means you're not challenged. If you can't be pushed with more work or a higher position, create the challenge for yourself and start learning some new things. Whether there's a new program you've been wanting to try out, or even if you're craving a better understanding of a task a coworker does, don't be afraid to make your free time useful and learn something you didn't know.
Nobody likes being bored at work! If there's room for you on a project, don't be afraid to ask if any help is needed (assuming you have a workplace that welcomes this kind of interaction). While your assistance might not be needed, it's good to be seen as someone willing to help, and if there's some space for you, then great. A little extra work without all the pressure (you're just helping, right?).
The key to avoiding being bored at work is to not let yourself be bored. Give yourself things to do and ask your boss for more responsibilities. Stay busy, stay productive, and not only will your mood be boosted, but maybe in the future your paycheck will be too!