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Yes Life Can Be Boring Sometimes. But There’re Some Tricks to Make It More Interesting

Yes Life Can Be Boring Sometimes. But There’re Some Tricks to Make It More Interesting

Boredom. We have all felt it, and there’s a good chance at one point or another, we have all caused it. We feel bored when we are slowly making our way through a project at work. We feel bored trying to listen to our professors teach a lecture. We feel bored doing…well, most things.

I mean, I’ve even been bored having a conversation with my best friend. Even scrolling through Facebook can result in a moaned “I’m so booooored.” So let’s fix that. The following tips and tricks will help you get through every day with a little less boredom.

Boredom creeps in easily when life becomes routine…

When life becomes routine, it can be hard to feel like there is any excitement in our lives. In fact, one of the most exciting things I’ve started doing is walking two miles on my lunch break. Yes, that is something I classify as exciting. Maybe that’s what being an adult is, but if you’re anything like me, you crave a little action! Boredom is such a common issue for the human race that scientists have actually started studying it.

They’ve defined it as “an aversive state of wanting, but being unable to, engage in satisfying activity.” [1]” And when I say we’ve all experienced it, I mean it; a 2003 survey found that over 90% of young Americans have experienced boredom.

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Sure, at it’s root it just sounds like we have a really petty issue. But it turns out boredom can lead to some serious problems. If boredom becomes a chronic condition, we can work so hard at filling that span of nothingness that we actually develop drug problems, gambling addictions and even binge eating.

The key seems to be attention and awareness. Studies suggest we get bored when we have difficulty paying attention. Often times we then blame external forces and reason that the task we’ve been assigned seems dull or that there is actually nothing to do at all.

Boredom can lead to earlier death

Not only can boredom feel miserable, but experts say bored people may be at risk for an earlier death [2]. If that’s not scary enough, chronic boredom can also lead to the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger and Aggression
  • Lack of interpersonal skills
  • Weight Gain

Though it may seem shocking that simply being bored can lead to such serious consequences, it makes sense. After all, if you find yourself with nothing to do, you may be more likely to reach for a candy bar or a bag of chips. Doing this often enough could result in weight gain. If you’re bored to the point of frustration, of course you’re going to be moody. And feeling like you have nothing to do can be a trigger (and symptom) of depression, as you can ultimately feel that there is nothing to do.

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10 tricks to combat boredom:

Now that you know boredom shouldn’t be taken lightly, here are ten steps you can take to fight off that feeling of nothingness and improve your mood and health.

Think [3]: It might sound simple, but our brains need to be challenged in order to fight off the feeling of boredom. Our brains need to be stimulated and active in order to stay agile and healthy. So put together a puzzle, read a book or watch an intriguing documentary. And if you’re bored at work, try shifting your focus to something like your calendar and tasks you want to accomplish in a short term.

Challenge yourself: If a friend invites you to an event, go. This doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything, but say yes to attending things you might normally say no to. Stepping outside your comfort zone may help you fight off boredom; not only are you actively doing something, but you will be hyper-aware of the new experiences.

Avoid boring people: Sorry, but it had to be said. If you’re surrounded by people who make you yawn and lead your mind to wander, it may be time to switch up your surroundings. This is not advice to drop your friends for newer, exciting versions, but it is a push to expand your focus. Talk to strangers more frequently, too. You never know when it could lead to a new adventure.

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Bored at work? Study your surroundings: Take the perspective of a scientist and study what’s around you. Gretchen Rubin, author of ‘Better than Before’ recommends looking at what people are wearing and what sounds you notice. If you’re feeling really inspired, write a quick story about your observations.

Try something new, like a unique recipe: If you’re sitting around at home, binge-watching TV shows, you’re probably feeling bored, even though you’re technically doing something. In this instance, try finding a new recipe and cooking a meal you’ve never made before. It’s mildly time consuming, and you get the experience of eating something you made.

Paint a room: I don’t know about you, but when I sit around in one room too long, I realize how much I want to change it. If you’re trying to overcome boredom and you have some time on your hands, go for it! Just don’t paint it a boring color.

Make some money: Try cleaning out your closet and finding nice pieces that you just don’t wear anymore. There are plenty of companies (both online and in person) who will pay you for the items sitting in your closet collecting dust.

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Color: Look, I know coloring may have been intended for kids, but there is no denying that those Adult Coloring Books are super intricate and time-consuming. If you’re desperate for a way to kill time, pick up a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils.

Workout/Meditate: Use the time you’re trying to kill by doing something good for your physical and mental health. This can be anything from taking a walk to sweating it out at the gym. Either way, your body will thank you.

Take a brain break: If you’re at work and realizing your mind is wandering and you can’t focus, take a brain break to prevent boredom. Pull up a silly YouTube video or two and allow yourself to laugh.

So the next time you find yourself spacing out or feeling miserable because you have nothing to do, try some of these tricks and notice the difference it can make in terms of your overall well-being. Boredom is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be a constant.

Featured photo credit: Maxime Le Conte des Floris via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Heather Poole

Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

There Are 7 Types of Learners: Which One Are You? What If All the Choices You Make Every Day Aren’t What You Need Most? What To Eat (And Not To Eat) When You Are Suffering From Inflammation! Yes Life Can Be Boring Sometimes. But There’re Some Tricks to Make It More Interesting Why Our Personal Values Matter More Than Ever Today

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1 How to Get the Best Deep Sleep (And Why It’s Important) 2 How to Practice Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief 3 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 4 12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead 5 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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