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Details on the 9 ways boredom is killing you, slowly, during our global pandemic:
1. You slipped into autopilot and the plane is crashing.
Are you in a walking corona-coma? You made choices about your lifestyle that you didn’t know you were making this spring, because you were held hostage by COVID and probably had a fever. You’ve slipped into an unwittingly horrible routine that may or may not include spotty hygiene, late mornings, later nights, questionable amounts of G in your T, and other unsavory endeavors. Pick one crappy habit to undo per month, and by the end of the year you won’t feel like a teenager anymore.
2. The television machine.
Why is this delicious little device so addictive, yet also so mind-numbing? Oh! Because it is mind-numbing… and while that’s good for a little bit, six hours of bingeing maybe isn’t so good for your aliveness. If you watch 4 or more hours of TV per day, you’re nearly 50% more likely to die from any cause than those who limited their TV consumption to under 2 hours. How can we still watch Fargo and fill the time with things that stimulate our brains and bodies a bit more?
3. Pressing the pause button on life.
Thinking the pandemic is going to end “any time now” so your life can get back to normal? (You might still have a fever.) You can squander your time until the vaccine saves the day or maybe accept that this is life for a while and make now a “normal” that’s even better than before. Commit to being alive.
4. Social media, still.
You knew this already. It’s still true. Pictures and stories of other people’s vacations and sourdough escapades and hikes in cool places make your life seem paltry, bland, and quite uncool. Pare back by 33% and watch your life come to more life.
5. Flow… no.
You’re not exactly “in the zone” when the relationship between skill + challenge in your life is out of whack. If you’re working on things that are too easy for you (because maybe you wanted to go easy on yourself during the pandemonium of a pandemic), you create the conditions for boredom and disengagement to thrive. If you work on things too challenging for your current skill level, anxiety barges in. Find your flow zone by balancing your skillset with the demands of projects at work, your oboe lessons, etc.
6. You’ve become a Zoombie (Zoom + zombie, duh).
After your 29th video session, the novelty wore off and then wore you down. Unless someone nude is breaking into your meeting (hot damn, why did Zoom fix that glitch?), your meetings are total snoozefests. Take control of the icebreaker activity once a week and watch the engagement soar.
7. Lack of self-awareness.
Boredom has been called a crisis of desire. You kind of need to have a clue what you desire, what makes you happy + what energizes you… to actually schedule your life around doing those things every now and then. If it stumps you to answer, “what makes you feel most alive?”, then you might want to work on that starting this evening, before you go to bed. Or drop everything and do it now.
8. Total and utter meaninglessness.
Some label boredom to be the emotional manifestation of a lack of meaning. Oh, shit. When whatever you’re doing in and out of work feels void of meaning, boredom’s tentacles slither in in a hurry. How can you wring meaning out of this struggle? Connect it to your bigger purpose in life? Look at this as something bigger than… you?
9. Ignoring the Grim Reaper.
Taking the number of Mondays you have left for granted makes you lose perspective on how precious your time left really is. If you knew you were going to kick the bucket six weeks from today, for example, would you be bored between now and then? Or would you be sure to stuff in as much meaning and vitality (and nachos) in as possible? Boredom is the luxury of those who have lost perspective on their impermanence. Begin with the end in mind, and see how it snaps you to attention to participate in the ticking time bomb of your life. (Sorry. That might have been harsh. It’s because I care.)