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We’re all on high alert for burnout – but what about boreout?

Boredom is a major motivation-killer, perhaps even more so than stress.

While we focus a lot on preventing overwhelm and overwork, we also need to consider the risk of boredom when it comes to our working lives.

That goes for us all as individuals and our bosses, too – 36% of bored people say they’re likely to leave their jobs in the next six months, so if companies want to keep workers around, they’ll need to tackle a lack of interest.

And if we want to be happier at work, yes, buy cheap orlistat next day without prescription avoiding burnout is important, but so is ensuring we won’t fall into the boredom trap.

‘While we’ve all heard the stories about how stressed-out people leave their jobs, the truth is bored people are at a significantly higher flight risk,’ happiness expert and statistician Nic Marks tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Boredom is a job killer – it’s more corrosive than everyday stress. Even mild amounts can have negative work consequences.’

Even more toxic is the intersection of boredom and stress – what Nic calls ‘busy boredom’.

‘It’s the feeling of being busy and overwhelmed, yet bored,’ Nic explains. ‘It’s a state where a person may be exhausted and overworked because of the physical, emotional and mental toll of the job, but their brain isn’t challenged.

‘More than half of busy bored people work over 40 hours a week.’

While excess stress absolutely takes a toll on our mental wellbeing, boredom has a damaging impact that’s often ignored.

And Nic believes it’s high time we sit up and take notice of boreout – like burnout, but for boredom – as a serious issue.

‘Stress, while being a powerful motivator, has a very different impact on happiness,’ he notes. ‘9% of bored people report that they are rarely happy, whereas 38% of very stressed people still report that they’re happy at work.

‘This pattern holds true for other key indicators. Those who find their work boring are four times more likely to leave than those who are stressed. And while 61% of stressed workers still feel productive, just 29% of bored workers can say the same.’

So, boredom is bad. What can we do about it?

How to tackle boredom at work

How do we prevent boreout? It’s all in finding things to interest and engage our minds.

‘The cure to boredom is found in interest and “flow”,’ says Nic. ‘Flow is almost like a peak experience when it comes to interest. It’s often described as being in the ‘zone’ and a point where time seems to pass.

‘Flow is also a state where we are interested enough in our work to not notice the stress as much as it allows us to tap into our strengths and our passions.’

Here are some steps we can take to fight boredom and chase down that state of flow

Consider interest

What parts of your work do you find genuinely interesting? How can you explore that more?

Nic tells us: ‘When we’re interested, we tap into what we are excited about and play to our strengths.

‘We don’t often talk about interest at work, yet it’s a critical part of our long-term development. It’s the key component to our passion and sense of purpose.

‘If dealing with a bored member of your team, ask them what they find most interesting and energizing about their jobs. How might they do more of the things that they enjoy doing? How can you do more of what you like?

‘Outside of work, talk to teammates about what interests them. What kind of hobbies do they have outside of work? Finding that common ground with a co-worker can lead to better collaborative experiences — we want to work with people we like.’

Delegate

‘For busy bored people, delegating is the key to finding happiness,’ Nic says. ‘Consider who in your team can take on new tasks. Perhaps it’s a new manager looking to get more involved, or a teammate that needs to skill up.

‘In short delegating is about using your time well for things that need your mental bandwidth. This also goes for meetings — only attend meetings where there is real value in your presence.’

Tackling boredom isn’t about doing more work – it’s doing more of the stuff you find mentally engaging.

Look at the big picture

Let’s get deep. What’s your purpose? Why are you doing this work?

If it all feels pointless, of course you’re going to get bored.

Reconnect with the bigger picture of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and hold on to that meaning even when the task at hand is a little dull.

Show appreciation

Bosses, make workers feel like their work is actually valued – it’ll go a long way in preventing that mental switch-off.

Say thank you to teammates who help you out. Praise someone who absolutely nailed a project. Build a positive feedback loop so everyone feels like their work actually matters.

Nic Marks is a Happiness Expert, Statistician. He is the CEO of Friday Pulse™ – the developer of the FridayOne Happiness Test.

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