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Thursday, October 31, 2013

"I am bored at work. What do I do?"

Increasingly I am being told by some of the young people I know that they find work a bore.

Let me rephrase that (because these young people are among the brightest I have met and because they have the potential to shine in their careers): Some of the young people I know are telling me that they are bored at work.

Which is a concern.

Because this means they most likely are performing tasks that have become routine, work has become mechanical, and the job is no longer as challenging as it used to be when they were first hired.

In short, they are bored. That is bad news for both employee and employer.

What to do?

I don't get bored easily. And I don't have a problem with self-motivation. I love what I do, so I get to do what I love. And I am grateful that life as a journalist, as a journalism teacher, has not only been full, but also fulfilling.

But I empathise with today's youngsters who are not able to motivate themselves to jump out of bed at the beginning of the week, thinking, "It's Monday! Woo-hoo!"

So, for their benefit, here are a few tips on how to relieve boredom at work.

1. From Forbes.com
Chrissy Scivicque, an award-winning freelance writer and professional speaker, writes:

Even if you love your job and you know it’s a good fit, there are some businesses/industries/positions that have natural cycles of activity. This means that there will be times when things are crazy busy and you’re totally engaged. And there will also be times when things slow down and you find yourself going kind of stir crazy. Here are some points to consider when those downtimes occur.
  • Take Responsibility
  • Keep a List
  • Seek New Challenges
  • Find a Friend
  • Get Additional Training
  • Examine the Cause
Scivicque elaborates on each of those points here: How to Handle and Relieve Boredom at Work

2. From Lifehacker.com
Whitson Gordon, editor in chief of Lifehacker, also has a "Top 10" list on the subject of boredom at work. While not all of his tips may be applicable to the Indian environment, he has some sound advice to offer when it comes to the relationship between exhaustion and boredom (No. 8) and on the issue of taking initiative (No. 6) as well as negotiating a change in your job description (No. 5).

Check out Gordon's list here: Top 10 Ways to Cure Your Boredom at Work

3. From workawesome.com
Productivity expert Mike Vardy writes:

Being bored with your work means you’ve got to change your work. It’s not the job you need to change, it’s the calling you need to change. Should you simply leave your workplace and do the same calling somewhere else, boredom is bound to creep back in. Now, if you’re content to stay in this job over the long haul, that’s fine… but you won’t find yourself doing awesome work over that haul.

Find out here how Vardy handled boredom at work: Make a Big Splash

And if one of the reasons for your being bored at work is that you have time to kill, think about signing up for a course at Coursera or Udacity. Both offer Moocs (massive online open courses), which are all the rage in the West as well as, now, in India. Read up about Moocs here: How would you like to take the world's best courses, online, for free?