These days, it’s hard to go through the day without hearing about burnout. Everyone seems to be burned out.
Burnout means too much. Too much work. Too much pressure. Too much responsibility. It’s a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Interestingly though, statistics show that we’re doing less than our grandparents. We work less. We socialize less. We participate less in communities. But, we feel more exhausted.
So, how can we be getting more and more burned out, and feel more tired, when we’re doing less?
I’d argue that most of us aren’t burned out. We’re bored.
It’s not that we’re overwhelmed, we’re just not challenged in interesting ways. Our potential is untapped while we’re performing tasks we simply don’t enjoy.
The irony is that being not engaged enough creates a state that’s similar to the fatigue that we feel when we experience too much.
While the states of burnout and boredom are similar, the solutions are very different.
When you’re burned out, you should step back, recharge, say ‘no’ more.
But if you’re actually bored, you probably reduced your life to two areas - work and family, and feel completely exhausted and frustrated. You’re disengaged. You neglect what’s truly important. If that’s your problem, you should start saying ‘no’ to the pointless and soul-sucking tasks you do, and (even more importantly) start saying ‘yes’ to everything that stimulates you, engages you, and excites you.
So are you burned out, or bored?