Unless you are a tech company, a start-up, or Netflix, you have no doubt experienced some boredom during this pandemic. The pandemic has been compared to “Ground Hog Day” where you wake up every morning and it is the same as the day before! So let’s take a closer look at boredom.
What is boredom?
Boredom is the feeling that you have nothing to do, nowhere to go, and limited options. It could also be the realization that whatever you must do, you simply don’t want to do it!
Boredom is marked with an empty feeling…without focus or purpose. When you’re bored, you have a limited attention span, low energy, and a lack of interest in what’s happening around you.
Boredom is similar to mental fatigue and is caused by repetition which creates a lack of interest in the tasks that require continuous attention. Waiting with no sense of the end in sight can create boredom. Not knowing your priorities can also create boredom. Being in overwhelm can create a jittery sense of boredom. Imagine, This could be waiting for a flight at the airport, waiting to see a dentist, lack of activities or options, or being quarantined. Any situation that is predictable and repetitive can easily become boring. Many people are more inclined to be bored than others. Those are people with a strong need for novelty, excitement, and high variety are at risk of becoming bored.
People with chronic attention problems, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, have a high tendency toward boredom. People who lack self-awareness are more prone to boredom. A bored individual is unable to articulate what it is that he or she desires or wants to do. They have trouble describing their feelings. An inability to know what will make you happy leads to a deeper existential question: what am I doing here?” People feel bored a lot when they feel trapped. And feeling trapped is a big part of boredom. That is, they are stuck or constrained so that their will cannot be executed.
Boredom is predictive of loneliness, anger, sadness, worry, and what we call “cabin fever.” Kierkegaard stated that boredom is “the root of all evil.” Boredom is such a de-motivating force that people do a variety of things to ease their pain. The chronically bored are at higher risk for all addictions including, drugs, alcohol, eating, binge watching, gaming, and compulsive gambling (to name a few). This is the reason that it is important to really take a close look at the essence of boredom.
It is easy to slide into the “bored reality,” however, you can overcome boredom with a few simple steps:
- Notice what you are feeling
- If you feel listless, lethargic, unable to make a choice
- Acknowledge what you are honestly feeling
- Take steps to overcome the boredom
- Ask yourself these questions: “What is on my Someday list?”
- What could I do to make today meaningful and relevant?
- What would make me proud at the end of this day?
- Write down all of your responses to the three questions.
- Then choose ONE thing that you will do next
- Do it, reflect upon it, then Celebrate your release from Boredom jail!
Boredom can be a great time to spark creativity and innovation. Boredom also has its benefits. It is important to see boredom as a “call to action” (Svendsen, 1999). Boredom can be a catalyst to take action. It can also provide an opportunity for thought and reflection. You must put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life to literally drive yourself “Out of Boredom-Town.” Take charge, get into YOUR driver’s seat, and drive to Stimulation City!
Choose and do!