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Action Tip

Put a stop to “bad” boredom

Lending an attentive ear to what boredom is telling you doesn’t mean letting it take root and becoming chronic. On the contrary, once you hear the message boredom is sending, you can take action to make it disappear.

Based on
Out of My Skull

Out of my skull: The psychology of Boredom 
by James Danckert et John D. Eastwood, (Harvard University Press, 2020). 

1. Learn how to spot the warning signs

Boredom takes the time to let you know it’s coming before it turns chronic, harmful, and difficult to dislodge. But do you know how to identify the four major warning signs? 

  • Time drags on. Example: You look at your watch more and more often for no particular reason – just to see what time it is. 
  • Concentration is a struggle. Example: In a meeting, you try your hardest to stay focused on the item being discussed before drifting away completely. 
  • Everything feels pointless. Example: You place less and less value on what you do. You feel as though you’re wasting your time and effort.  
  • You switch between lethargy and restlessnessExample: You oscillate between moments of apathy and sudden feelings of urgency – which subside almost instantly. 
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Marianne Gerard
Published by Marianne Gerard
Marianne graduated from HEC in 1998 and is now a freelance journalist specializing in management and higher education. What really fires her up is the human dimension and she is c taking a psychology course at Rennes 2 University.