Tackle bore­dom tact­fully

A work­place, which looks like a dark dun­geon, bores the work­ers, mak­ing them de­pressed and tired

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - JOBFUNDAS -

Prof DC Sharma

Em­ploy­ees to­day of­ten com­plain of bore­dom. But no one takes their prob­lem se­ri­ously. It was com­monly thought that bore­dom is sim­ply an ex­cuse coined by shirk­ers. Now it has been es­tab­lished that bore­dom is a real prob­lem, which needs to be tack­led care­fully. Its rem­edy lies only in dis­cov­er­ing and re­mov­ing its cause. And once reme­died, it can tremen­dously en­hance over­all out­put and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Sci­en­tists Robert Yerkes and John Dod­son dis­cov­ered in 1908 that per­for­mance of an em­ployee is poor when he is at low lev­els of stress. It in­di­cates that a worker is in a state of bore­dom. Only in an ideal state of stress one can give the best out­put. The same em­ployee im­proves his per­for­mance when he hits a sweet spot i.e. be­ing at rea­son­able lev­els of stress. In a state of pos­i­tive stress (eu­stress) a worker re­tains a fo­cused at­ten­tion on the work in hand. As a re­sult his level of pro­duc­tiv­ity is high.

Amy Arn­sten, a neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gist from Yale re­searched for twenty years and dis­cov­ered tech­niques, which in fact help shun bore­dom. She dis­cov­ered that neu­rons, the nerve cells of the brain, play a great role in this re­spect. Neu­rons are not di­rectly con­nected to the other neu­rons. There is a small gap be­tween them. It is called synapse. An elec­tri­cal sig­nal trav­els down a neu­ron cell, and it is con­verted into a chem­i­cal sig­nal at the synapse. The re­cep­tors at both sides of the synapse re­ceive mes­sages through those chem­i­cal sig­nals. To shun bore­dom these sig­nals should nei­ther be ex­ci­ta­tory nor in­hibitory. Out­put and pro­duc­tiv­ity are at peak level when these sig­nals are ide­ally ad­justed.

To shun bore­dom, in­ten­tion­ally treat the task in hand as ur­gent. This in­creases the lev­els of adren­a­line into one's blood stream. That way one's brain be­comes highly alert to per­form even most dif­fi­cult tasks. When the work in hand is some­thing valu­able, it en­cour­ages the doer to do it with his best ef­forts, even sin­cerely and dili­gently. In that state bore­dom can't come near.

Nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment stim­u­la­tion helps re­move bore­dom. This is the rea­son we grow green trees and flow­ers in the lawns of work­places. Giv­ing a cool­ing ef­fect to the tired eyes, and bored brains, such nat­u­ral sur­round­ings help pro­vide re­fresh­ing cli­mate to the tired work­ers. A work­place, which looks like a dark dun­geon, bores the work­ers, mak­ing them de­pressed and tired. That's why such work­places are not pre­ferred.

Are you an em­ployee who of­ten feels bored? There is noth­ing to worry. Now when­ever you feel bored, come out of your work­place room, and have a short walk in the open lawn there. Look into the eyes of beau­ti­ful flow­ers which you like the most. Take some deep breaths in the open air. Think of some­thing pleas­ant rather than the work that bores. A slight change in your mood shall fol­low. In a few fol­low­ing min­utes, your mind will be flooded with pos­i­tive feel­ings of highly al­lur­ing thoughts, re­mov­ing all your bore­dom.

May be your work­place has no open lawn! May be you are not al­lowed to come out! Even then there is a so­lu­tion. You can write on a piece of pa­per some­thing in­spir­ing and el­e­vat­ing. Let this writ­ing re­mind you of some­thing thrilling and ex­cit­ing. These men­tal tricks eas­ily change your feel­ings and thoughts. When you write some­thing in­spir­ing, it au­to­mat­i­cally lifts up your mood. As your mood lifts up, there is no limit to what won­der­ful di­rec­tion your writ­ing may take. The whole bur­den of bore­dom shall van­ish in sec­onds!

In­ten­tion­ally cre­ate a feel­ing that the job you are do­ing is chal­leng­ing. Have the feel­ing that to com­plete that you need some­one else's help. That way, learn to praise oth­ers for their good qual­i­ties. That will en­able you to take in­ter­est in oth­ers. In­stead of look­ing into your own prob­lems of bore­dom, you will rather feel el­e­vated to do some­thing for them too. Once you go deep into such a won­der­ful think­ing, you will re­al­ize that you are tak­ing a keen in­ter­est in do­ing your own work too.

Dr Martin Selig­man, the founder of pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy, ad­vises us to be in the flow state. It be­ing en­gag­ing and en­er­gis­ing there is no ques­tion of feel­ing bored in that state. Just as the work we do in rou­tine is ef­fort­less, so take other tasks too as if in the flow state. Therein you have a strong flow of dopamine (chem­istry of in­ter­est) and nor­ep­i­neph­rine (chem­istry of alert­ness). This helps you to have fo­cus, even cre­at­ing new work­able con­nec­tions en­hanc­ing out­put and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered that ex­pectancy of a good re­ward shuns bore­dom. Bore­dom comes into your work when you ex­pect some­thing neg­a­tive. At that stage you are un­der aroused. The ideal state to give the best out­put is nei­ther to be un­der aroused nor over aroused. A di­a­gram can show that it is at the tip of U (turned down­side up) that we are at the sweet spot. With prac­tice you can fre­quently re­main at the sweet spot to be highly pro­duc­tive. Where is bore­dom then?

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