Are you bored or burned out?

Jun 20, 2022

Are you bored or burned out... Blog @ TeamUltim

Photo by Tangerine Newt on Unsplash

Are you bored or burned out? Chances are if you clicked this article, you’re most likely one of the two.

So, firstly what is the difference between being bored and being burned out?

Tolstoy described boredom as the desire of desire. Boredom is rooted in comfort. Severe boredom, also known as bore-out, comes from a lack of challenge or excitement in the workplace.

Boredom has always been used as a measurement of interest. A disengaged employee leads to a disengaged team which furthermore leads to a disengaged business. What some people fail to realize is that boredom can also border laziness. A bored employee no longer puts in as much effort as before, then progressively, the quality of their work degrades. Soon enough, this behaviour rubs off on the rest of the team as reluctance at work certainly does not go unnoticed.

Burnout, on the other hand, stems from overworking oneself to a point of physical or emotional exhaustion. Very often, people do not realize they’re in the middle of a burnout episode until it’s too late and they’re left in a state of depression. Burnout, contrary to popular belief is more than just working too hard. It can be triggered by other factors such as a lack of positive relationships in the workplace, unclarity, an imbalance between one’s professional and personal life, etc.

Similar to bore-out, being burned out is exhausting, stressful and causes a lack of prolificacy.

The truth is bore-out and burn out are two sides of the same disengagement coin. What may help alleviate one won’t necessarily appease the other, in spite of their similarities. It is crucial that employers address these issues as soon as possible as it can lead to a decline in employee productivity and overall business performance.

How do you know if you’re bored-out or burnt out? And what can you do to change it? Keep reading.

Ask yourself this simple question. Are you underloaded or overloaded?

Bored-out is fueled by the absence of stimulation in the workplace. If you feel like you don’t have enough work or you’re simply detached from your job, you may be bore-out. On the other hand, if you have too much to do, you may be burnt out. While having too much on your plate is something that cannot always be avoided, burnout is when you are overworked for a prolonged period of time.

It is both the employer and employee’s responsibility to combat these two things before there are catastrophic effects on the company. Employers that observe disconnected staff members can assign new tasks which will push the employees out of their comfort zone. Learning something new can reignite that passion in the workplace, therefore preventing boredom.

With regards to burnout, it is advisable to allocate tasks to several employees so that the stress does not fall on one person’s shoulders. Delegating tasks is one way of maintaining sanity while at work. Our article “The Art of Delegation” gives some helpful insight about this.

Assess your mental health in the workplace. Every article that discusses burnout and bore-out always stress the physical effects they have on your health. However, health is not only physical and it’s about time we stop leaving the mental aspect out of the conversation. Do a little bit of self-reflection. Is your work toxic to your mental health? Does it depress you? Do you have anxiety every time you think about your job? Then you may have burnout syndrome.

Some people are so overworked, they don’t have time to breathe. Many have even picked up a bad coffee habit just so they can function throughout the day. According to a survey by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) conducted by YouGov across all European countries and the U.K, 29% of the people interviewed admitted to only drinking coffee to feel less tired at work. Relying on substances to keep up with your job’s work pace is another sign of a burnout and can have detrimental long term effects on your health, both physically and mentally.

As an employee, do not be afraid to recommend someone else to a task if you feel saturated at work. Prioritize resting and quality time with yourself. No job should cost you your mental health.

Speaking of mental health, it’s imperative to mention the existence of brown-out, which is often ignored but just as dangerous as bored-out and brown-out. This is when a person sees no value to their work due to a lack of motivation. A worker going through a brown-out no longer sees the meaning of their job and just like a bore-out or burnout, they become disengaged.

A brown-out is like high-functioning depression. The person may seem okay, their quality of work may not falter, but on the inside this person is struggling.

It can eventually lead to a burnout and a business place losing their best employee.

Whether it’s a bore-out, burnout or brown-out, it’s important that individuals get out as soon as possible. It goes without saying that managers and people in leading positions are not exempt from burnouts and bore-outs, and even worse, a boss going through one of these things can have toxic repercussions on the whole company. The key is for everyone to quickly identify these issues and address them instead of sweeping it under the rug.

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