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Feeling Bored at Work?


Robby

All of us struggle with motivation at work. We sometimes find ourselves staring at the clock, checking the latest sports scores, or chatting with co-workers. What does it mean to get bored at work?

On the one hand, it’s tempting to blame employee attitude. Of course work isn’t always exciting! That’s why you get paid to be there. Sometimes you might have a task that is dull or uninteresting, but your career isn’t about being engaged 100% of the time. It’s easy to tell yourself “get over it and get back to work.”

On the other hand, it seems like there might be a larger problem. Boredom could be a sign that you are working on the wrong project, working in the wrong function at a company, or worse in the wrong career entirely. It’s not too hard to jump from “bored at work” to “questioning if you are in the right place.” Yet this view of boredom is making a catastrophe out of something which may not be that big a deal. Shouldn’t most of us be able to happy in pretty much any reasonable environment?

There’s a much better way to look at boredom at work: using science. Researchers believe that our ability to concentrate (and inversely, the chances of us becoming bored) are most closely related to the level of challenge and skill of a given task. Take a look at this chart:

If you’re feeling bored at work, that’s because you are doing a task that doesn’t require too much skill but certainly doesn’t challenge you. So the best way to jump start your energy is to switch to something that’s extremely challenging. Consider the difference between doing some data entry to doing some industry research. Both just require pointing and clicking, but reading about your field can take some serious thought.

The next time you are bored at work, try changing what you are doing. You might just find yourself feeling re-engaged.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Mon, June 6 2011 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Self Development, Stress and Mindfullness

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