I was in a meeting last week, sitting next to the person I thought was the smartest person in the room. As the meeting started, she pulled out a pen and a notebook. Wow, I thought, it’s really great she takes notes during the meeting. That must explain why she remembers everything.
It turns out I wasn’t quite right. She spent the entire meeting doodling – lines, circles, a couple of flowers – but by the time the ninety minutes were over, the page was filled with pictures, along with maybe one or two reminders to send out some e-mails.
I have to tell you, I was amazed – but it gets even better. She’s sitting to my left, and guess who’s sitting to my right? The boss! All this doodling is going on right before the boss’s eyes, and he’s OK with it.
It’s at this point it finally hit me. This is how she handles boredom.
It doesn’t matter how much we love our jobs, or the class we’re taking. Every once in a while, we’re a little tired, we’re stressed out about something else, or we just don’t see how this relates to anything we really care about, and off we go to Boredomland.
Job Tips for Dealing With Boredom at Work
There’s something wrong with this picture, but it’s not what you think it is. Boredom can be a very natural response to a situation – filing papers at the office, checking the 50th student test, or dropping mail off at the post office for the third time today can be pretty monotonous, but it’s a part of every job. That means the real challenge isn’t to try and avoid boredom; it’s learning how to get past it.
There are a lot of ways to do this. If you’re at a meeting, you can doodle, like my friend does; someone else I know writes poetry in meetings, and it’s pretty good, too. I would probably draw the line at doing crossword puzzles or word searches, since those are more noticeable, and they can take up too much of your attention. Not everyone has as nice of a boss as I do.
In your regular work, the key could be changing your work pattern – file for ten minutes, send e-mail for ten minutes, then go back to more filing. Some people like to break up their work cycle by going to social network sites at work. That seems safe enough, but one quick two-minute visit to Facebook can turn into twenty minutes of messaging, and that’s really out of control for the workplace. Considering many businesses are tracking employee computer use, it would be wise to leave this practice out.
There are other job tips you can follow – take a walk, listen to music, chew gum – but the idea is to look past the part of your job that bores you and keep your focus on the part that you love. What you do is up to you, but remember that some approaches are less healthy than others – so stay away from the donuts!
If your job bores you all the time, you might be wondering if you should be doing something else. Perpetual boredom can be the first clue that it’s time for a change, but be careful; boredom at this job can make every other job seem perfect, when most jobs have ups and downs just like yours. You might want to talk to a career counselor about your situation before you make a major move, since the excitement of a new job wears off quickly, and once that’s gone, you may find yourself needing to do more doodling than ever.