Battling Boredom

Published: Jun 28, 2006

By Sheng Wang

Do you feel like you could do your job in your sleep? Think you might as well be working on an assembly line instead of in a hospital? Are you, in short, bored with your work? Many jobs involve a large amount of repetition, so the tasks that were once exciting quickly become routine, and then tedious. Even a busy schedule is no cure for ennui. Here are a few suggestions on how to banish boredom and rekindle your interest on the job.

Short-Term Solutions

  • Remember what made you fall in love with your job in the first place.

    It could be many things: Was it the opportunity to constantly learn new things? The ability to interact with many people? The lifestyle it offered?

  • Keep up to date on new developments in your field.

    Peruse the latest scientific publications to stay informed about new research, drugs, and treatments. Attend conferences to learn about the latest trends and network with healthcare professionals from around the world. Your interest in your work will be revived, and your patients will thank you for it, too!

  • Assess your duties.

    Keep a schedule of your tasks throughout a typical work week, then assess which tasks you enjoy, which ones you're neutral to, and which ones you loathe. Can you rearrange your workday so that the unpleasant tasks are not all lumped together? Is it possible to switch some of the tasks you don't like with coworkers who actually like (or don't mind) them? Once you can identify the problem, it'll be much easier to come up with strategies to improve your workday.

  • Build rapport with your coworkers.

    Having a stimulating work environment can make all the difference. Some lively banter with your staff or coworkers can do wonders in making the workday pleasant.

  • Ask for more responsibility.

    If your schedule permits it, ask your supervisor for a new or different set of responsibilities. Not only will you be demonstrating initiative to your boss, but taking on new challenges is a very effective way of banishing boredom.

  • Become someone else's mentor.

    Volunteer to help a new employee learn the ropes and settle into their new environment. The person you mentor will certainly appreciate the help, and seeing your familiar workplace from a fresh perspective might give your morale a boost as well.

  • Go on vacation.

    As a preventive for boredom (and burnout!), use your vacation time. A trip somewhere sunny and far away from the hospital – or even to a lounge chair in your backyard – might be just what you need to return to work refreshed and recharged.

    Long-Term Solutions

  • Job training and advancement

    Think you have what it takes to make a good manager? Eager for a promotion and the increased responsibility and salary that come with it? Then consider upgrading your certification, or taking a few extra courses to help advance your career.

  • Location change

    Are you a rural nurse who yearns to work in a major hospital? Or a big-city doctor who'd like the wider range of responsibilities that come with working in a small community? If so, then a change of locale may be the solution for you. Relocating to a different community will automatically bring many new and exciting changes, and if you decide to move away from your native country, there will be many eye-opening cultural changes as well.

  • Career change

    Sometimes boredom is a sign that your job is no longer right for you. Many healthcare professionals have successfully embarked on new careers in related fields, or switched to a different profession altogether. But do some self-assessment and research before making a drastic career move: What do you really want to do? How much do you need to earn to support yourself and your family? Would you need to return to school? What transferable skills could you bring to your new job?

    Whether you're tired of the daily grind or stuck in the mid-career doldrums, there's always something you can do to revive your interest in your work. Although learning new skills can be a challenge and may be intimidating, it is also a key to combating boredom, and is the only way to grow!

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