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Boredom; and what to do with it


I’m bored. Most people’s response would be, “you work, you make good money, you can work whenever you’d like, you have the life!”…but not for me. I’ve gone from 7 years of working 80 + hours / week to working maybe 20 hours / week. While I understand this is ‘supposed’ to be something I’m appreciative of; the “American Dream”, right? Making more than enough money while doing what you love WHEN YOU want to do it. BUT, something is missing.

I don’t know if I’m missing structure; if I’m missing the “buzz” of hundreds of sales reps and marketing managers; the ‘team’ or social aspect of work; or it may even be the stimulation of being surrounded by highly intelligent people, but I’m bored. I’ve read books, read blogs all day (which has been a fantastic way to learn / broaden my horizons, etc), I start my Six Sigma course next week, but….I think I need to get something going. I need more of a long term goal.

So, I’ve defined my professional goals as follows:

1. Sign 6 month contract / consulting retainer with lead gen marketing company
2. Broker 2 new deals per month
3. Complete Six Sigma Course
4. Seek out new mentor

My personal goals:

1. Continue to work out daily, overall be healthy
2. Travel once / month
3. Seriously talk about getting PG
4. Make Mark happy

Ok, so I thought I would lay out these goals and it would give me something to do…NOPE. Any suggestions?

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  1. April 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I heard once that when you eat, your stomach never actually gets full. The sensation of feeling full means that your taste buds are getting tired of what you’re eating. This is why you always have room for ice cream after a meal.

    In the same way, I would encourage you to deal with boredom, NOT by just doing more stuff (meaningful or not), but by diversifying the spectrum of the stuff you do.

    For example, learn to play an instrument, or start playing a sport, or something that is completely different from your regular schedule.

    • April 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Mehul; you’re 100% right and I thought about it the second you wrote “diversify”. It’s interesting as I do see plays each month, concerts, etc. but I think like you said, “learning” something new will definitely be helpful…going to blog round 2 of this post ( ;

  2. Bee
    April 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    If you’re bored with your life and or work then your goals aren’t big enough. Think out of the box, waaaaaaay out of the box. What seems impossible but something you’d LOVE to do. Something that is a little bit scary but something that you know would motivate you.
    Make a 100 things to do before I die list. Which 5 can you do now, which can you do in a month, which ones will challenge you out of your comfort circle and make you WORK for what you want? That’s the stuff life’s energy should be spent on. There’s something you want to be known for. Work yourself into a frenzy to BE that person. Don’t just go for deals or whatever seems normal to pursue. You may have to make lots of lists. But dig deeper until you think you’re crazy, lost your mind, and then yes, DO THOSE THINGS that make you live your life to the fullest. Life isn’t about brushing your teeth everyday (sure you gotta do that) but what dreams have you let go and yet you can’t really stop thinking “Oh I wish I could be….” The best way to get around your stuck in a rut brain is to answer: Who can I help today? Who needs me? Where can I make a difference. I tell everyone I meet if you’re bored, then go volunteer somewhere. Call a place up and volunteer today. Get off Facebook and Twitter, get off the couch and go improve the lives of people, parks, animals in your community. I can guarantee that meeting new people and using your simple skills and talents will make you very aware of what you don’t want in your life and in perfect harmony you’ll also then know what it is you DO want to do! If you are bored then clearly you don’t see how great you are and how much your skills and talents are valued by others. You are needed! Why deny someone the honor of meeting you today? Go Jamie!! Do great things !! Follow your heart.

    • April 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      LOVE IT Bee. If you read what Jeffrey wrote below, he came up with 1 sentence where I can “insert” one I can bring to a company and I believe that is the ‘simple’ way for me to put down what I’m passionate about.

      I’m similar to you in my writings and doings (going out to help people, ‘stopping to smell the flowers’, etc), and I “think” that part of my life is pretty damn good; love my husband, have learned to appreciate the little things, help people, etc. I just need a way to structure the passion more into my professional life.

  3. April 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I see your goals as a lot of what and not a lot of why. To put it in the parlance of ‘Switch’, the Heath brothers new book, you have to direct the rider (your intellect) which your goals are specific enough for, while motivating the elephant (your emotional state) which I do not see in those goals.

    Take, for example: “Sign 6 month contract / consulting retainer with lead gen marketing company”

    So you want to be employed. That will help with boredom but not with much else. This makes sense as a project, but a goal should tie into your values and passions.

    As an alternative, what about: “Bring {insert value set here} to a lead gen marketing company.” Find the passion. Set an audacious goal. Break it down into pieces until they are small enough to execute on. Do the first step and repeat as needed.

    I know the prevailing logic is for SMART goals. Just make sure you have real vision for yourself lest your goals be DUMB as well. (Depressing, Unmoving, Meaningless and Bland)

    The other issue I see is the parallels that many smart people have when they are not working with withdrawal. Some of this is natural, most people like to be busy, but make sure your work has not been your way of ‘medicating’ some other need.

    Just my $.02…

    • April 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      Love your comment and it makes so much sense, thank you.

      You made me realize a lot even in just the wording of the goals / getting down to specifics. For example, you saw: “Take, for example: “Sign 6 month contract / consulting retainer with lead gen marketing company. So you want to be employed. ”

      And really, I am employed and have multiple year long contracts; I SHOULD be looking for a “6 month contract in a “new” industry” (more challenging).

      And I LOVE your alternative /how you figured out how to insert the passion.

      You’re dang good at this man – THANK YOU

  4. April 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I recently blogged about something along these lines (being bored vs. being busy – which is the greater evil?)

    I’m experiencing the same thing in a different situation. Going from a packed schedule (Uni, mornings filled with lectures, afternoons filled with lab work and evenings copying up notes and doing coursework/project writeups) to not much at all (finding work experience, which til yesterday has been all but unsuccessful).
    Now most people think I’m loopy, how can you be upset with not being busy? But being bored just makes me unhappy, I can’t and never have been a couch potato nor am I about to start. Part of this comes from being in a new country and living in a new city where I’m still trying to work out what I can do and where to do it. Sure I could sit and read as I’m quite a bookworm but I want to get out there, get involved and contribute, get a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments too as they’ve been a great kick up the behind. I have been trying to learn Norwegian (travel inspired, it might not be the most useful language but it is enjoyable) and I have been looking on Volunteer Calgary too. I also went to the library and picked up all the brochures from educational institutes and leisure clubs. and I finally got a positive response after much rejection for work experience for my dream job so I’m really excited about it, it’s not 100% certain but the best so far. And will curb some boredom whilst making my resume gleam bright.

    Thanks for the great post and equally to everyone for their encouraging comments.

  5. sadya
    April 23, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Hey Jamie,

    i agree with Mehul.

    and let me tell you that i was/ have just about been going thru the same thing. i do have a long-term goal , but its taking too long. and im bored, and i listed all the reasons u did, and guess what, those are absolutely the essentials that are missing.

    so here’s what i did – i said i will say yes to anything that comes my way. i saw an ad for paragliding on facebook and said yes! i loved it ! it was rough , painful & thrilling i ended up with so many bruises ,but i went back again.

    Now im thinking of taking up a musical instrument. my family tells me that i checking off my bucket list , well yeah and heck why not – im bored arent i.

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