The best strategy for dealing with boredom is to make use of the time in a meaningful way. When you feel that time has been spent efficiently, you will feel it is running faster. When it runs faster, you will be happy (remember time flies when you are having fun!)
The best way to achieve that is to perform the boring task in the mental state of ‘flow’. That involves focusing on the task itself rather than on the time it is taking. This requires understanding the challenges and mustering the motivation to meet those challenges and be rewarded for that achievement. As a result, you become fully immersed ‘in the zone’ to the extent that you lose track of time and kill any thoughts of boredom.
Another aspect to consider when you are doing something boring is your motivation for doing it. Are you intrinsically motivated, that is, do you derive pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction from that activity? Or are you motivated by external incentives that are distinct from the activity itself? These might include financial reward, or helping out a friend or colleague. Intrinsic motivation is when, for instance, you read books simply because you enjoy reading, whereas extrinsic motivation is when you read for the purpose of passing your college exam.
When you are intrinsically motivated to do something you will be more creative and able to maintain your interest for longer periods. But when you are extrinsically motivated, your focus is not on the work itself since it does not provide you with direct satisfaction. You consider your work only as a means to an end and you will be checking the time more often so you can get it over as quickly as possible. Your awareness of the passing time makes it appear unpleasant and it will therefore drag. Extrinsic motivation enhances feelings of boredom. In contrast, if you are intrinsically motivated, your focus is mainly on your work and whatever personal rewards and satisfaction it may bring. As a result, you will be less concerned about the time it takes and it will be a more enjoyable experience.
One last thing to keep in mind is that, sometimes, boredom can be a beneficial feeling. Without boredom, there would be no daydreaming and no room for reflection. Without reflection and contemplation, there is no imagination and creativity, and without creativity, no inventions, art, or progress.
Boredom is just the dark side of fun for they both share the same brain circuitry. Life would not be fun at all without a little boredom!
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