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It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time.

It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time.

It’s the same old scenario. You have a to-do list a mile long and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to tackle it. And you’re not alone.

Everywhere you turn, people are busy.

What happens when you call your family members? Busy.

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When you call your friends? Busy. Or maybe you don’t call them because you’re busy.

People tend to take some sort of secret pride in “busy-ness.” But what’s wrong with NOT being busy?

Plan to be bored sometimes instead. Sound crazy? Well, actually being bored could be a good thing.

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Why do people hate to be bored?

First, what exactly does it mean to be bored? Well, while boredom can mean many things to many people, the most basic of definitions is not being able to find an activity you enjoy — regardless of how much you want to. This is typically a result of routine. People are so used to going to their go-to method of entertainment, that when it’s out of reach — cell phones, tablets, watching tv, etc., — they feel boredom coming on. And they don’t like it.

Take a cue from a kid

You know why kids hate time out? Because they feel it’s boring! And the worse thing in life for a child is to be bored. But if you watch kids for a while, they’ll figure out how to entertain themselves just sitting in a corner. Magically, that string on their shirt becomes the greatest thing ever. Who knew?

As adults, wouldn’t you love a scheduled time out? What was a nightmare as a kid can be a dream come true for an adult. Taking the time NOT to think about the seven million things on your to-do list can actually do you some good.

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Stop being busy and embrace boredom

Ever notice we are really “busy” but aren’t necessarily doing anything extremely productive.

We click, scroll, snap, like — you name it, and then get annoyed when half the day has gone by and that big project for work isn’t finished. Being “busy” and having constant distractions can really stifle imagination.

You know what happens when you put down the devices? You get creative, just like a kid. You tend to do things you wouldn’t normally do. That book that’s been collecting dust starts to look really good. Or you may not even have any physical books in the house, but you have butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, milk — let the baking begin! You may find that you’re a really good writer, artist, beaded-necklace maker and more.

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Whatever the case, there’s something to be said about on-purpose boredom. Forcing the brain to work outside its comfort zone not only enhances creativity but can also improve problem-solving skills.

Boost your mood even when you are faced with boredom

Do you know you can actually find out how bored you are? Yes, there are online quizzes that actually help you determine your boredom. If you’re really that bored, pass some more time and take a quiz. But once you find out, then what? You will still be bored. And while being bored means you aren’t able to do the things you’d like to do, you will soon find out there are lots of other things you can do. Before you know it, you could increase productivity and even boost your mood.

  • Get outside – Are you a slave to the latest technology? Unplug and get retro! Fly a kite, toss a frisbee or roller skate.
  • Clean up – Stop tripping over that pile of shoes for the last time and take the time to get things cleaned up. While you may not want to do it, you’ll feel so much better once you’re done.
  • Tackle a puzzle – You know you’ve been tempted to pull out the 1000-piece puzzle from the attic. Here’s your chance.
  • Journal your thoughts – While it may be tempting to share what you ate on social media, take the time to journal your day.
  • Enjoy your kids – For those of you with little ones, spend some quality time just watching them wobble to the door, pull your nose or learn peek-a-boo. You just can’t get that from a cell phone.
  • Volunteer – Get your mind off your boredom and go help someone else. Your idle time can be life-changing for someone in need.
  • Get some sleep – It’s amazing how much better you will sleep without all the distractions. You’re not doing anything else — go to bed early tonight!

So instead of being “on” all the time, let the mind take a break from the norm and enjoy a diversion from your typical means of entertainment. Explore being bored!

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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