I hate being bored at work. One thing I hate more than being bored: feeling burnt out.
As a 40 something, like you I’ve had a broad range of challenges in my life and career.
When I reflect on certain jobs and roles I had, I can see an obvious pattern of boredom. A time when the work I was doing wasn’t challenging at all. Instead, it was dull and boring… repetitious. Over and over again, doing the same old same old…
I hated those days.
Then, there’s the other times in my life where I was stretched to my limits. My last J.O.B. I was wearing too many hats and had too many responsibilities to manage. That meant pushing the boundaries of my own capabilities and it left me feeling exhausted.
Your personal life can be the same.
There are times when we feel exhausted and tired of where we are at in life. This extends to our relationships. To our kids, our partner, our friends.
It’s time to spice things up and get back in flow, personally and professionally.
The Flow Model
That’s where the flow model comes in.
The vertical axis is Challenges and the horizontal axis is our Abilities.
Based on our own unique abilities, challenges may become overwhelming or too simple.
If you have a great amount of talent and ability, but your challenges are too small, then you’re going to get bored. You fall into the Under-Challenged zone.
If you have a little ability, but get lumped with some huge challenges, you’re going to burnout. You fall into the Over-Challenged zone.
Being in FLOW – is where you’ll find happiness.
Watch Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explain this concept further in his TED talk.
How does it feel to be in flow?
In case you missed it, skipped the video or saw it and wanted a recap; Csikszentmihalyi describes the seven effects on humans who are in flow;
- Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
- A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
- Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing.
- Knowing that the activity is doable – that our skills are adequate to the task.
- A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
- Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
- Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.
Can you identify yourself in any of those moments in time?
- Completely involved
- Living outside the norm.
- Clarity of mind.
- Confidence in what you do.
- Living in the moment.
- Motivation to do something because of how much you enjoy it
Those are the moments you’re in flow.
You can have those moments in both your personal and professional life.
Take these examples and run with them.
When was the last time you sat opposite your partner, holding their hand and being totally unaware of what else what going on around you?
You can create that experience.
Get out of the norm. Break your routine of the everyday living. Plan a date where it’s just the two of you – somewhere new. Your only purpose for the day, to be with your partner.
You’re now in the moment. There’s nothing else to do or to worry about. You’re completely involved with each other.
Now do the same thing with your kids.
Then your friends and family.
What about you personally when you’re on your own?
Are you bored?
Perhaps it’s time to do that thing you’ve been thinking about doing but keep putting off.
- Write that book.
- Do that tough mudder challenge.
- Learn to play golf.
- Join that cycling club.
- Begin guitar lessons.
Have some self confidence and know that you can do it. Be happy to start on whatever level you are currently on and enjoy the experience of learning something new.
It’s easy to get stuck in your professional life. Thousands of people right now feel numb with boredom in their jobs.
But you can change all that.
As an employee;
Ask for greater responsibilities. Tell your boss you want to help grow his or her business. Ask for help with planning your career path and career development.
Hopefully you’ll begin to grow with new skills and abilities as you take on more advanced challenges.
You may need to apply for a new job with another company. Look for that next advancement and take a risk.
As a business owner;
Stop doing the mundane tasks and learn to delegate.
You want to live in flow – so only do the work that challenges you and the things you can’t delegate.
Set some short term business goals and nominate rewards that are meaningful to you.
If you hit a new sales target, reward yourself with that trip to the next convention you’ve been wanting to go on.
You’ll immediately adapt more motivation and gain greater focus on hitting that target.
Living in flow is the goal for all of us to enjoy greater happiness in our lives. We know the kind of state of mind we need to achieve to be happy. Now is the time to do it.