It’s no wonder that so many people count themselves among the zombies who show up for work each day. When two-thirds of people report feeling tired or bored at work, it’s time to ask why – and what can be done.
If you feel as though you’re going through the motions, without experiencing any real joy from your work, it’s time to address the underlying reasons. Boredom’s causes vary, so you’ll need to stare reality in the face and see if you recognize any of these hard truths:
1. You’re on autopilot.
When we’re bored, our brains shift into autopilot – a problem for you and your company. Unfortunately, this is what our brains are hardwired to do best. Past experiences create neural pathways upon which our survival depends.
The brain interprets your current reality and responds with behaviors that have served you well in the past. Such shortcuts help save time, but they can also sap your interest.
Even worse, past behaviors may not fit current situations, leading you to make obvious and avoidable mistakes that have the potential to damage your reputation.
2. Your energy level is low.
When we’re bored, our energy level dissipates. We lose the essential focus and purpose required to engage in truly meaningful work. Our brains no longer work for us; in fact, they actually start to work against us.
The solution may be as simple as taking a break or getting some physical exercise to promote blood flow to your brain.
It’s dangerous to engage in negative thinking or self-talk about your lack of energy (i.e., attributing it to your personality, abilities or the nature of your job). These undermining messages exacerbate the problem, so treat them as a sign that you need to oxygenate your brain cells.
3. You find yourself conforming.
It’s not unusual for people to start “sleeping on the job” once they hit year 3 or 4. At this point, they know their coworkers, processes and technology aren’t perfect but have adjusted to inherent limitations. Interest in opportunities for improvement begins to wane.
Each day brings the same set of problems and responses. From a performance perspective, the sharp “blacks” and “whites” so obvious on Day 1 become indistinguishable shades of gray. At one point, you may have been saying, “I can’t believe what’s going on here!” You now find yourself saying, “I can’t believe how tired I am!”
Come back tomorrow for 3 more hard truths and the conclusion!