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The Cure to Boreout at Work? Find Your FLOW 

If you woke up tomorrow morning and won the lottery, would you still go to work? I want you to take this question seriously. Set aside an honest minute to answer and reflect. Are you done? Chances are, you answered “No,” which I understand. But if you said “Yes” — amazing. I want that for everyone. It makes me sad that many people more often reply with no. You should find so much joy, purpose, and passion in your job that even if you do say no, it’s with hesitation and resistance. Something that could be blocking your passion and joy is boreout, a companion and predecessor to burnout. In this article, I explain what boreout at work is, what causes it, and how you can remedy it to keep shining your brilliance.  

If you’re a video or audio learner, discover what boreout is and how to remedy it with FLOW by tuning into Episode 151 of the Your Brilliant Difference Podcast, “Boreout, Burnout, Apathy — Oh My!”

What is Boreout?

Boreout is being in a state of apathy and disconnection.  

When not treated or addressed, this is how boreout syndrome shows up in the workplace and in your life: 

  • Exhaustion. 
  • An overall feeling of dissatisfaction no matter what you’re working on or doing. 
  • Short fuse—you feel more irritable without a clear cause. 
  • Interrupted sleep patterns. 
  • Headaches. 
  • Body pains. 

Not only can boreout affect you mentally and physically, but it can impact businesses financially as well: 

Boredom is now a top cause of people leaving their jobs. 

So, knowing how to recognize boreout and manage it is more important now than ever for executives, leaders, and employees.  

Boreout vs. Burnout

Don’t confuse boreout with its sibling burnout. In my workplace experience, I often see boreout lead to burnout, which is being in a state of total fatigue (mentally, physically, and emotionally). You’ve moved from numbness to exhaustion.  

  • Boreout: your performance is compromised due to boredom and apathy.  
  • Burnout: your performance is compromised due to fatigue and exhaustion.  

4 Causes of Boreout

  1. Misalignment in values and purpose. You’re disconnected because your values and purpose don’t align with your current company’s mission.  
  2. A season has come to an end: It’s time for a change. It’s time to make an Edge Move™ and do something you’ve always wanted to do.  
  3. You’ve tapped out on gaining new skills and experiences in your current environment. In your current role, you may realize you’ve soaked up all the potential it’s offered you, and it’s time for you to apply your talents and skills in a new role.  
  4. Law of polarity. Everything has an opposite, and lands on a spectrum. There will be moments (hopefully not too many or that last too long), where you’ll experience the opposite of joy, like frustration. This opposite experience allows you to understand the value of ups that much more.  

Find Your FLOW

When left unmanaged, long-term states of boreout can lead to burnout, which reaps even more havoc on your Brilliant Difference™. 

To pull yourself out of this state, you need to find your FLOW. 


F = Feel the Boredom

Remember the law of polarity I talked about? In order to be okay with feeling passionate and excited about your job, you need to be okay with feeling moments of boredom too. When you feel apathetic, acknowledge it, register it, feel it, and then let it go when you’re ready. The true value is that you’re experiencing boredom because you’ve most likely had something exciting happen. It’s okay to feel the opposite.  

L = Learn Something New

It’s okay to feel bored, but you don’t want to feel that way forever. So, once you’re ready to release it, look for an opportunity to learn something new. It doesn’t need to be as complex as taking on a new project or accreditation; it could look like self-reflecting and learning something new about yourself and your job. Define what really fills your cup and do more of it; expand your knowledge in that area. 

O = Observe

Observing the why behind your feelings and behaviours can help you crack the code to your tendencies and emotional intelligence, helping you be prepared for future situations, like your next moment of boredom. When you’re in a state of boredom, observe the situation and ask yourself these questions: 

  1. What actions do I take when I’m bored? (Ex. Doom scrolling on social media, entering the watercooler chat on Slack, etc.) 
  2. Why do I refer to these actions? 
  3. What am I trying to escape from by using these actions? 
  4. What is something more productive I could be doing to fill my cup and prevent boreout? 
  5. What element of my Brilliant Difference™ can I lean on to make me feel excited and joyful? 

W = Wonder

When you’re in a state of boredom or are on the brink of conquering it, be thoughtful and reflect on what you’d like to see next for yourself. What new opportunities will you take, and which skills will you continue to learn and develop? Being bored gives us an opportunity to see what we need more of and where we need to go.  

Design Your Flow

I want you to try an exercise built with the above FLOW formula. If you’re in a state of boreout right now, you can work through it using FLOW. If you’re not, use a past moment when you did feel bored so that you can be prepared to conquer future boreout situations.  

For this exercise, fill out the form to access your FLOW Template and work through your past or current boreout moments so that you can be prepared for prevention in the future. 

It’s time to kick boreout to the curb and shine your brilliance.  

P.S. — If you’re subscribed to my Find Your Brilliance Newsletter, this resource is already in your inbox!

Access Your FLOW Template

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