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Readers Respond: How Do You Handle Boredom on the Job?

Responses: 10

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Updated August 12, 2009

An About.com reader asks for advice on how to handle boredom on the job.

"I have a good job with less paperwork and lots of flexibility. The problem is I am bored. Boredom leads me to be less productive and more disorganized. I guess a more accurate description of my problem is ‘lack of engagement’ on the job. Once I have gotten a reasonable understanding of my duties, I find I am not engaged enough to try to improve my skills or become more efficient. It's like I'm only stimulated to learn new things and once that has happened I want to move on.”

How do you handle feelings of boredom and disinterest on the job?

How to beat boredom

I used to have this problem, but then I got a job in a small company that required me to get my hands into multiple things (IT, Business Development, etc), and found a manager who could support me by giving me good feedback and help me prioritize the workload. I found that being able to have multiple projects and switching tasks often kept me from getting bored, and the fast pace of a small company environment challenged me enough that I could excel. Also remember to stick to the basics. Plan your day, keep lists, prioritize, set alarms and reminders to keep you moving and you may find that ADHD allows you to get more done, more quickly, than the average employee. This should keep you moving up and keep you motivated to succeed.
—Guest Keith13

Late Tx Adult ADD- Too late?

I was treated for ADD at 50. After treatment, I was able to hold down low paying jobs for maybe six months, after that, it seemed a useless waste of my time. I would rather spend quality time with family and friends. Low pay, no upper division Univ. degree, no real social collateral. My love life petered out. The meds help, why did I miss the boat? No Tx early!
—Guest T K Lawson

Boredom in office job

I can really relate to what these people are saying. I'm an engineer pushing 50, and when I'm challenged with exciting projects I am stressed but interested and excited about what I'm doing, and I'm highly productive. Now that a ~10 yr project is complete, I'm having to adjust to a more research-oriented work model, with no clear goals in site. Nice in some ways, but I find that my motivation and productivity has really nosedived, and sometimes I can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning. This seems to be rubbing off in other areas of life, although the one thing I do keep up with is fitness...I think it is the only thing left between me and insanity. Not sure what to do about this, as it seems to be a general lack of motivation.
—Guest eng123

Boring Work

I have a very difficult time especially in the slower more boring areas of my job. Note taking on paper - then transcribing to computer - ouch...leaves many little notes on many little pieces of paper - ADD disaster = little slips of paper with important info on it, plus not good handwriting. Listening to long winded tangential stories in order to get one or two pieces of important info is difficult (even though I can be prone to doing the same). If one gets older and less able to do the longer hours and the more stressful work, though stimulating, I wonder what then? Someone mentioned the subculture of leaders/politics of work and the weird micromanagers who treat staff in a degrading way...very astute. Then perfectly good and smart workers become more narrow and limited - are trained to never ever think outside of the box. Something to work on now is to find that "perfect" situation!
—jenesaisrien

Boredom at Work

The work pressure is real low at my workplace; and while my colleagues rejoice, I feel as though I'm going insane with the boredom. I've just started working in IT, and each day I go off on flights of fancy as to what I could be doing with my life and how to get there - one day I'm a photographer with National Geographic and go to all those fab destinations around the world, another day I'm a world renowned economist critiquing neo-liberal capitalism like no one else has done before - fantastic, dreamy, visualizations that play on in my head, only to be abandoned at the end of the day!
—Guest Anshu

Frustration and boredom

I was just recently diagnosed with ADHD. I have had a really hard time being satisfied with jobs unless they really kept me going. I am now a paramedic and that helps stimulate me more, but I still have the feeling of extreme boredom and it just frustrates the heck out of me. Sometimes it's like, I bored, time to find something that catches my attention. When will it ever end?
—Guest Gabby

Boredom

I just wanted to say I feel exactly the same way this person feels. I was bouncing around relief job to relief job but I finally took on a permanent job and now I am feeling the boredom again. I wish I had a good answer but I can say that when I was on Adderall that feeling all went away. Unfortunately my body rejected this medicine. So now I am scratching on how to deal with this issue such as this fellow. I too want to see how others deal with this issue.
—Guest Rob

Boredom at Work

I am a free-lance translator, and the only way to deal with boredom (and also panic, if the job seems hopeless) is to have A LOT OF short breaks as rewards. Something like translating two sentences and reading a page of a novel (my favorite way of relaxing) and then continuing. In theory it takes a longer time this way, but in practice I think I actually finish sooner as I can keep my level of alertness higher. I realize this would be much more difficult in an ordinary working place situation, but there might still be some possibility of giving oneself constant little rewards - a walk around the office, something to nibble - during the day without upsetting anybody.
—Guest Helena

My Experience

I worked in engineering for 35 years and if I were to rate my performance, I think whenever there was a sense of urgency to complete projects and my boss was demanding and didn't micromanage but did hold me to deadlines etc., I was able to come through with flying colors. Later in my career when I couldn't move around because of family, I had to take jobs that were more routine, had office politics, and bosses that were less demanding/more political. I could not handle this very well until I got into meds, health food, breathing exercises, Yoga, mindfulness meditation and walking (synchronizing breath with steps while letting go of thoughts). This was hard to do but it got me to a point where I could handle the boring work without complaining too much. I actually believe that tough times such as my work experience in the seventies are better for ADD types. Companies are less likely to fund boring work, more focused on results and less on political correctness and quirky behavior.
—molsof

Boredom

I have lots of problems with boredom on the job when I am not feeling challenged or the work isn't related to any kind of wow factor. I found that I worried about my boredom translating to poor performance, but that seems to not be the case. I think this is one of those plus and minus things about Adult ADD. We are focused and efficient enough to get the work done in less time than it is expected to take, so even with feeling less productive and more disorganized - we might not always appear so to the bosses. Just something to check out to see if the problem is a problem from their perspective. If it’s not, then the challenge is to keep yourself challenged in whatever way you can, even if the job can't do it for you.
—John53705
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