Berger Leadership Blog

Oct 16, 2015

Stress vs. boredom in your job

Bored vs. stressed

A few weeks ago, I blogged about combating stress in your work life. While it’s important to not be too stressed out in your job, it is equally important to feel some passion about what you do and not become bored.

U.S. News contributor Robin Madell cites various workplace experts who agree that boredom is far worse for an employee, and the company, than stress. His article gives several strategies to help sufferers of either boredom or stress reach equilibrium. They are:

  1. Break up your routine, or speed it up. Whether your problem is boredom or stress, it’s a good idea to break up your day into smaller segments that allow opportunities for achievement. Stressed? Set goals and tackle them one at a time. Bored? Challenge yourself to work faster and better.
  2. Go deeper. It might help to go beyond your job duties and create your own tasks to make your day more enjoyable or more challenging.
  3. Practice task matching. Measure the task to your skills. You might have to set goals to build engagement with the task or practice relaxation techniques to help you get through it.
  4. Try to change it. Be on top of your feelings. If you’re bored, ask for more responsibility. Stressed? Ask for help.

When we find the balance between boredom and stress, Madell says it is referred to as “flow.” He quotes Scott Crabtree, chief happiness officer at Happy Brain Science: “When you are just at the edge of your ability (not bored, not too stressed), you enter a state of mind that is extremely productive and fulfilling.”

Where are you on the spectrum?