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