Bored at Work? What are the major sources of motivation?

Are you bored at work? It can happen to the best of us, and sometimes a little “boredom” (aka free time) can be a good thing. After all, it helps us think and perhaps even be more creative in our current or next project. But true boredom can be a demotivator, and teammates that aren’t motivated are less likely to perform.

Some might think that modern marketing teams should never be bored. Seriously, how could they be bored? Isn’t there always more to do? Of course, there is, but it still happens.

In this article, I discuss the following:

What does it mean to be bored at work?

To be bored means, we are just sitting there, waiting for the time to tick away. It seems like it’s taking forever, and we are just waiting. It’s like back in my school days when the lesson was technically done, but students had to sit there and wait for the bell to ring. Boredom sets in.

Being bored means we aren’t doing anything fulfilling, mentally stimulating, or something that can potentially make a difference. As a teenager, I once collected cash from people trying to park their cars in a lot. It was perhaps the most boring job I’ve ever done. It made a little bit of money – not much, but it was boring, even though I was technically doing something the whole time.

So boredom can happen due to inactivity or the wrong activity.

Read next: How important are reading skills in business?

Several potential causes of boredom

Boredom happens when there’s nothing to do or we do the wrong task. Now, everyone in their professional lives has to do jobs they find boring sometimes, but if it’s nonstop, that can cause issues.

How do we end up in those situations? Several ways that can happen:

  • We didn’t know part of a job would bore us to death when we took the job.
  • The culture and speed of implementation are different from what was expected.
  • A co-worker leaves, and somehow you end up with all their tedious tasks.
  • Other reasons

What are the major sources of motivation for you?

To overcome boredom, it’s good to know what motivates us. For example, I love learning and unlearning things. In addition, I love trying new content formats and strategies to see what might give my content and campaigns a competitive advantage.

I’m not necessarily a fan of multitasking, but I am a fan of switching tasks at regular intervals. So let’s do this podcast now, do some SEO optimization next, and write this email campaign next.

Understanding myself, how I fit into the overarching team, and what I can and can’t control plays a part.

Ayelet Fishbach, author of “Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivations,” joins me on this episode of “The Business Storytelling Show” to discuss how we can motivate ourselves.

Ways to overcome being bored at work

There are several ways not to be bored. Some are easier to implement than others.

Control what you can

There are some things we can’t control. Since I work at home, I can control my desk setup and have made that as comfortable as possible. I genuinely am comfortable working in my office. That’s a far cry from some of the lousy office chairs I’ve sat in over the years. Being relaxed can help set our day up for success.

In theory, we can also control our attitudes. Indeed, that can be easier said than done in a toxic environment. But there’s a level of calmness and professionalism that we can all control.

Read next: Note to Self: Enjoy The Little Things

If you can control your workday and when you do specific tasks, that’s another good way not to get bored. For example, I prefer to write early in the morning and do other marketing tasks later in the day. So I structure my day as much as possible with that in mind.

You can also work on inventing your future success.

For example, when I worked as a reporter, I was hardly a fan of getting assigned stories by an editor combing through news releases. I know, I know, that’s a common practice in newsrooms. But I could control my story ideas, and if mine were better than some lame news release that was sent in, I was sent off doing those ideas! The ones that were mine. It took some effort, but I could definitely control my day that way!

Talk to your leader

Hopefully, you can have a constructive discussion with your manager. Then, bring it up that you can take on other tasks or switch some out. Maybe don’t say: “I’m so bored,” but explain that you can take on additional or different tasks.

Remember any gaps that exist, and maybe you could fill them somehow. I’ve yet to meet a manager that is not open to ideas that make things better, more effective, and more efficient.

Switch teams or companies.

Sometimes, it’s just the team or the company that isn’t a fit for you. Especially in marketing, where groups vary widely from company to company, this can be a problem. Sometimes it’s hard to know before joining a new team, but if it’s not fit and there’s no way to make it less boring, looking for another team might be the way to go.

Ultimately, when marketers, content strategists, or other creatives are bored at work, that is likely not the road to success. That’s why we need to find the proper setup, roles, and people in those roles to make it a win-win situation for everyone involved.

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