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5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused



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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development.

What is boredom and who is prone to it?

Boredom refers to a situation where an individual has continually done the same or similar task leading them to lose interest in the task. Boredom is bound to occur amongst each person but there are various factors which influence boredom making it important to research and understand them.

Every person is prone to boredom while performing tasks, making it critical to review your routine and develop alternative tasks that counter it. This is important as you may have to do a task continuously or repeatedly due to it being your responsibility, routine or profession.

In this situation, you cannot simply abandon the task but need to identify activities that will divert your attention and refresh your mind. This helps refresh your thoughts allowing you to refocus attention to the task and complete it. Failing to develop alternative interest will surely result in you losing your focus which will lead to serious errors that you would be answerable and accountable for.

How can overcome boredom?

Boredom leads to anxiety and stress, due to the individual simply losing interest with the task of the job role. There are various strategies to overcome boredom that have been discussed below. Each one targets a different stakeholder thus helping create awareness on the overall topic.

“Focus on the possibilities for success, not on the potential for failure.” – Napoleon Hill

1. Be curious and inquisitive

Curiosity killed the cat is a proverb we learn at school to help prevent mind diversion and focus on a single topic but in real life, it pays to be curious and inquisitive as you gain more knowledge relating to various topics, thus helping broaden your subject understanding. Curiosity allows an individual to explore various subjects which is important towards diverting the mind and helping them retain interest with a task.

This is especially important while performing long and laborious tasks which can be mentally exhausting over long periods. If you have a curiosity towards a different task, you can keep checking for updates or techniques that will help you divert the bored mind and then return to the task after a few minutes.

2. Keep learning new tasks

Learning never ends and you must never stop learning if you hope to overcome boredom. Being able to take up challenges is an important learning curb that will help you eliminate boredom as you work. If you are a regular writer but also have a keen interest in HTML coding, you can set up a small HTML code project that you work on while writing.

This allows you to perform your regular task but also allows you to continue learning or testing your skills when boredom spasms affect you. It is important to make sure you do not overindulge in your learning or hobby as it could affect your performance targets. Also, make sure you inform your employer or team lead regarding your work strategy to avoid conflict at a later stage.

3. Take a break and clear your mind

Boredom is bound to occur while participating on a regular task every day. You can also adopt a strategy of taking short breaks and moving away from your workstation to help clear and divert your mind. Walks help you change your mindset and attention which eradicates boredom. 

Breaks are effective towards diverting the mind but is time consuming thus making this boredom eradication strategy less effective for working professionals who are expected to fulfil their work targets.

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee

4. Change roles and responsibilities

Boredom is a reality. In fact every regular employee understands its effect on performance and can choose to develop mitigation strategies. One effective strategy that helps overcome boredom in the workplace is changing staff roles and responsibilities altogether. Doing the same task daily is bound to lead to boredom so the management must have effective mitigation strategies in place to address it. 

An effective strategy to retain interest and focus in the workplace is swapping job roles. This helps divert individual attention from routine to new task which will help improve performance.

5. Consider a power nap

Power naps are discouraged by most organisations but studies performed on humans reveal that allowing staff to take a power nap will relax the mind and help improve concentration thus automatically reducing boredom. Power naps refer to taking a short nap/ sleep, especially after lunch.

This is important as people tend to fall very sleepy and tire between 2 and 4 PM due to them having consumed their lunch and most of their blood concentrated in their stomach. It is natural for people to feel sleepy and lose concentration after lunch which automatically affects their performance. Power naps allow the individual’s body to rest after lunch, thus allowing them to focus more on their work once awake.

Focus remains as being vital to performance but one which is often overlooked in the pursuit to meet targets. Over the long term perspective, the lack of concentration and focus will result in reduced productivity, which will negatively impact the individuals or organisations performance. It is therefore important for all stakeholders to recognize this concern as it impacts the performance irrespective of strict measures being put in place to address the issue.

What strategies do you use to stay focused? Share your thoughts with us below!

My name is Thomas Smith. I have worked as a content writer for various publishing houses throughout my career. I have 12 years of overall writing experience out of which the past 3 years have been as a writer for Assignment Writing Help. I have also published various articles and blogs on education and career building.


What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values



Who am I? The ultimate question many of us try to answer. When I think of values, I think of Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, “Les’ Miserables”. In Hugo’s book, Jean Valjean, is used as a protagonist to highlight the power in redemptive love and compassion. Valjean goes into prison for stealing a loaf of bread, entering as a simple and decent man. His time in jail seems to have an unrepairable effect, where he emerges from the chain gang as a tough, bitter criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. (more…)

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7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away



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In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

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5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life



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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?



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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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