By: Sean Gerard Angel Pijuan

There is a misunderstanding of boredom at work, that we become unproductive because we are bored. But in truth, we are unproductive because we do not know what to do with our boredom.

Think of work as an endless high-way. We are expected to keep driving until we reach a point. It is never-ending, that’s why we come back to work 5 to 6 days a week. There will always be this sign along the way. That sign is boredom. We know what is good for us. We will drive straight and avoid obstacles, as long as we are focused. Attention is the fuel of the mind.

But attention is a limited supply. This makes boredom a necessary detour. This is not a problem. Everyone experiences boredom, the feeling that everything’s dull and flat. Having too much time on our hands or doing the same task repeatedly can result in boredom. Boredom is neither good nor bad. It is how we react to it that dictates this.

When you get bored, you will ignite a network in your brain called the default mode. This is when our brain gets busy. We start thinking a little bit beyond the conscious, into the subconscious. In the default mode, we connect disparaging ideas, solved nagging problems, look back and take note of moments, set goals and figure out steps to reach them. We are at our most productive and creative self when doing nothing.

This will not happen if we put our attention into something else. Boredom is the state that is always being avoided. People do not like to feel bored, so they distract themselves. This is the time we do impulsive things, like peeking into our Facebook account, checking our cellphone of notifications, update our other social media accountings, or eating our secrets stash of chips. Boredom is both an opportunity for reflection and vulnerability to distraction.

If we want to be productive, we must understand what boredom is. It is an opportunity to become aware of ourselves or to simply take a break. It is our body longing for a release from repetitiveness. It is the moment where we should take a deep breath. But the advancement of technology has taken over the idea of embracing boredom. It introduced distractions, which are pseudo-solutions. Rather than fillings our minds with silence, we fill it with other things to do.

“Every time we shift our attention from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. If you’re attempting to multi-task, you are not doing 4-5 things at once, you are rapidly shifting from one thing to the next, depleting neuro-resources as you go.” – Daniel Joseph Levitin

When we are stressed at work, we shift our attention more rapidly. The monotony and tediousness of work somewhat dampen our minds. We can’t always ride straight without stopping. Boredom is the road sign that makes us pause. We will have to decide what to do next. Perhaps go to a gas station or take a road that looks fun as a roller coaster ride.


Sean Gerard Angel Z. Pijuan is the Senior Quality Management Officer of Invictus Prime Holdings Corporation, a corporation that manages the consolidation and integration of operations within its companies:  Complete Logistic Control Inc., ZKO Group Distributors Inc., Philfast Global Forwarding Inc., Satellite GPS Tracking and Asset Management System Corp., and SCMIX Builders Inc.