What Is Boredom?

Boredom is a state of malaise, close to anxiety, characterized by a feeling of emptiness. Its origin is traceable to objects that the subject claims are boring.

By definition, boredom refers to unfavorable attitude and feeling of a worker, for the task he or she is performing. This is based on person views for his or her task from time to time.

Boredom and Monotony are subjective phenomenon in the sense that they are caused by the way a person views his or her task from time to time, causing the performance to fluctuate and to decline gradually. The manner in which a job is perceived and experienced is an individual matter.

Many authors have also given varied definitions of boredom. The following paragraphs convey these definitions.

  • O’Hanlon defines boredom as “a unique physiological state possessing interrelated and inseparable emotional, motivational, cognitive concomitants and perceptual”.
  • According to M. R Leary “Boredom is an affective experience associated with cognitive attentional processes”.
  • According to C.D Fisher “Boredom is an unpleasant, transient affective state in which the individual feels a pervasive lack of interest in and difficulty concentrating on the current activity”.
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Boredom is basically related to personality factor. Two individuals may reveal different reactions to the same task. One may call it boring and other calls it interesting. It is basically an individual matter, how a person experiences a job.

Types of Boredom

There are three types of boredom, as listed below.

  1. When we are prevented from engaging in something.
  2. When we are forced to engage in something unwanted activity.
  3. When for no apparent reason we are asked to maintain an engagement in any activity or spectacle.

Causes of Boredom

1.   Intellectual Level of the Person

Experiencing boredom depends from person to person what kind of perception a person carries for a particular type of work. What is his/her intellectual level towards work.

2.   The Repetitive Nature of Task

This is one of the major causes of boredom because nowadays the trend has changed in industries, each worker processes one part. He rarely has the experience of doing a complete object as it used to be in the olden days of craftsmanship. Now doing only one job repetitively makes a worker express the feeling of boredom.

3.   Nature and Personality of the Person

Boredom varies from person to person based on personality of the person. That what kind of person is given what type of work whether he has an interest in that particular type of work or not depends whether his personality matches with that type of work or not.

For example: if a pot maker is given the work to repair a bag he won’t be able to do it with perfection because he lacks interest in that particular type of work. So he will get bored during the work.

Effects of Boredom

1.   Complain of Fatigueness

Boredom basically results in workers complaining of restlessness. They cannot give their best shot to the task assigned to them and they often complain that time is passing very slowly.

2.   Slow Production

Boredom is one of the main signs of slow production. Since the workers in the industries are tired of doing the same repetitive work all the time. The production in the industries become slow at times than what actually the production should be.

Ways to Obviate Boredom

1.   Short-term Goals

By setting up short-term production goals, the worker is greatly motivated to meet the set goals. This can be used when the goals are set by the active co-operation of workers. e.g.—often a large part of people think that they are getting bored because they think that the work they are doing is boring. And if they create short-term goals the work will complete sooner than ever before and they will also not feel bored.

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2.   Introducing Elements of Fun

Boredom can be avoided by creating fun in the job they are doing. For example, by playing music while working, which will give soothing effect to both ears and even help the mind concentrate in the task thereby increasing productivity.

3.  Introducing Change

Another strategy is to introduce variability or change in the job that are highly repetitive in nature. Job exchanges can be one form for introducing changes. For example, changing work environment, work methods etc., are some of the common methods to reduce boredom.

4.   Reducing Interruptions of Work

It is often seen that workers in their office are interrupted in the work by authorities or their colleagues. For example, if the tendency to complete a task is fulfilled in a working situation, it may actually result in motivating worker to complete his task. organizations should ensure that workers are least interrupted by their colleagues foreman or by higher authorities.

5.   By use of Tests

As it is proven that boredom is individual specific, therefore various psychological test have been used to determine the degree of susceptibility. Often test are used to locate personality factors like IQ, introversion, maladjustment, required level of intelligence etc.

6.   Making Job Meaningful

Another way to reduce boredom is to make jobs more interesting by attaching some meaning to them. Adding new perceptions of the job in the worker and reducing the meaninglessness of work can prove useful in reducing boredom at workplace.

7.   By Keeping End in Mind

This is one of the best ways to reduce boredom.

By thinking of getting a reward at the completion of doing the perceived boring work, employees can inspire themselves to move ahead if they keep the end result in mind. For example, they can think of partying at the completion of some boring project.