Busy as a Bee, but Still Bored?

Busy Yet Bored
Busy Yet Bored

Does that sound funny? Busy as a bee but still bored!

Being bored always does not come about from having nothing to do. There are many of us who have to lock time in our dairies to simply take a quality break. And yet we are bored with what we do. I know I am and I suspect you might be too.

By the looks of it, my own working life should actually be quite exciting– Being put as the lead in developing a long-term business strategy and implementing a new business structure, developing the product portfolio, identifying capacity & competency requirements, assisting my colleagues in human resource with an organisational climate study and my colleagues in finance in developing the revenue streams—all of which keep me busy as a bee!

I am busy. And I am bored!

If boredom was simply due to lack of things to do it could be eradicated by giving people more tasks to do. Even the routine tasks would help remove the feeling of nothing-to-do.

This is only ever likely to work in the short-term if what people are asked to do does not contribute directly to something more meaningful — something bigger than themselves.

Which made me introspect and identify why I was feeling bored. And what I discovered was that my boredom stems not from having nothing to do but from having nothing that seems worthwhile doing.

 The flip side of the argument is that boredom results from the novelty or the excitement of the new project or tasks having worn off.  This type of boredom is, especially, high amongst high performers. One can fix it through increasing the responsibility portfolio or rotating the job functionality or training to broaden the skills base and in time this boredom can be removed.

But how do we fix the boredom that results from being busy all hours of the day, but nothing gives us meaning?

The obvious solution would be to give people something meaningful to do.

Easier said than done!  Especially in an organisational set-up. Does job role planning take on board an executive’s career path and lay out a clear roadmap that’s aligned with their performance? In many Asian companies, this is an area that is acutely lacking.

In any organisation, all the people are at differing stages of life and thus have differing wants and needs. Varying from being driven by the need of fulfilling the basic requirements of daily life to the aspirational needs, executives approach their tasks with differing attitudes. Very few look at the impact their performance can have on the organisation in the long-term and thus buy into the cause or the ‘reason-why’ the organisation is in business.

So how do we eradicate boredom?

  1. For starters  empathy ( definition from the Oxford dictionary: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another) needs to be there. Top down, key performers identified has to be empathized with in order to know what drives them.
  2. The key drivers for these performers should be aligned with the key result areas of the organisation. And clear empowerment provided.

Whilst this is not a sure-fire solution, it would positively ensure that top performing talent are part of the organisations’ long term goals and they, in turn, find meaning or reason-why to not be bored with what they do.