Health + wellbeing

How to overcome boredom when working alone

- July 29, 2007 2 MIN READ

Working alone, means soloists need to know how to overcome boredom if their business is to prosper. Not being able to cope with being alone is one of the key reasons solo businesses fail, plus it puts people off going it alone in the first place.

Poor us! Unlike those with a Proper Job, we can’t seek out companionship around the water cooler the moment our attention wanders. Instead, we have to handle it all on our lonesome.

I think this explains why Flying Solo’s articles about procrastination and motivation are so popular. Boredom is the common theme that underlies these issues.

As the articles will tell you, boredom is often a symptom for something else. Maybe you need a fresh challenge at work to nudge you from your comfort zone, or perhaps all you need to do is take a break so you can return to your work feeling refreshed.

A day of boredom descends on me about once a quarter. Rather than using any particular strategy to overcome boredom, I prefer to sit it out and find it usually passes on its own.

I admit it’s not easy feeling this way, but I reckon lots of us working alone are overly fearful of this feeling. This isn’t surprising, considering the strong association between isolation issues and failing small and solo businesses.

Want more articles like this? Check out the working alone section.

In my view, a bit of perspective is useful here. For most of us, boredom isn’t some awful disease that needs fending off with all our might. Instead, it’s a normal emotion that affects everyone from time to time, whether we’re working alone or employed, young or old, rich or poor.

Our culture seems to promote fear of boredom. Woe betide we face an unoccupied hour! As a child in particular, I remember times when I was almost paralysed by boredom, whereas today’s kids practically need social secretaries.

For grown up soloists, remembering “this, too, will pass” is more helpful than worrying excessively about how to overcome boredom. Obviously if the feeling fails to pass after considerable time, different factors are at play, and you may need to look more closely behind the boredom.

It occurs to me soloists are forced to address personal issues like this all the time. For my money, dealing with them is one of the trickiest, yet most rewarding things about going it alone.

Is occasional boredom a big deal for you? Let us know below.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"