No matter how you feel today, there was almost certainly a time when you were engaged and excited about your job. It may have lasted for years, or not even made it through the first week. But if you find yourself bored and disengaged on the job now, there might be a reason that has nothing to do with the job itself.
According to Susan Cramm, founder and president of the IT leadership development firm Valuedance, the most likely culprit is right there in the mirror.
Blogging for the Harvard Business Review, Cramm offers three possible causes of your boredom:
- You’re on autopilot. When we’re bored, our brains naturally go into a kind of holding pattern. Our thinking runs through the rut formed by all of our past thinking and experience. As a result, everything begins to look and feel the same, even when it isn’t.
The fix: Intentionally do things differently. Find new projects and challenges. Move your office furniture around! Even small changes can help snap us out of our rut.
- Your energy level is shot. A lack of energy makes us bored, and boredom saps our energy. It’s a vicious cycle. We lose the ability to work well, to innovate, to think outside of the box.
The fix: Make a full night’s sleep a high priority. Eat better. Get regular exercise—even taking the stairs or a quick lunchtime walk will do wonders.
- You’ve become a conformist. Cramm nails it with this one. Spend a year on the job and you’ll end up in that mental rut. Spend a year in the rut and you’ll lose the ability to challenge your own preconceptions. That’s death for advancement, engagement, AND joy.
The fix: MAKE yourself consider alternatives to any course of action. Set goals, including the occasional BFHG (Big Fat Hairy Goal) to snap you out of your natural tendency to conform. Think differently. BE different! The bracing air through that open window will make it impossible to be bored.
Boredom kills everything that matters, from productivity to employee engagement to just plain quality of life. If it’s got you in its clutches, make it a priority to shake yourself loose!