Fighting Boredom in a Mundane Environment

(or How to Survive at a Lame Ass Job)

My current job is highly repetitive. I work in a factory doing production work, which is a nice way of saying that I do the same kinds of tasks over and over again for eight-hours a day.

Obviously, it’s not exciting work. It’s very easy to go on “autopilot”, and time will either drag slowly or fly by depending on your approach. If you’re in a similar environment, and you’re allowed to listen to whatever you want while you work, this post is for you. (It’s also a useful post if you have some other boring shit that you need to get done, but you want your mind to be focused on something less brain murdering.)

I’ve found that podcasts and other spoken media (like audio books) are the best choice to distract your mind from whatever mundane work you’re doing. Music is OK, but you’ll grow tired of playlists quickly if you’re listening to them repeatedly (much like whatever task you’re doing, repetition of anything becomes irritating over time). Podcasts have fresh content posted on a regular basis, and there are thousands of podcasts available. Here’s a list of some that I listen to at work:

  • Tech News Today (TNT) This is a podcast that features the technology news of the day every weekday. Each episode runs about 40 minutes, and new podcasts are posted every evening (typically by 9:30 PM MDT). The hosts can be a little cheesy sometimes, but the show regularly features interesting interviews with tech reporters from other outlets (like CNET, Engadget, TechCrunch, etc.). If you’re interested in technology and want to stay up-to-date on what’s new in the industry, this show is a fantastic choice. (This show is also part of a network of technology podcasts called TWiT [aka “This Week in Tech”]. I also listen to these other shows on their network: All About Android, This Week in Computer Hardware, Triangulation, and This Week in Law.)
  • Self Made Man This is primarily a podcast for male entrepreneurs, but the content is often useful for everyone. It’s a motivational podcast that features interviews with entrepreneurs in a wide variety of industries, often focusing on the skills, routines and habits, and discipline that led to their successes. Listening to inspirational content while you’re in a mundane environment is very refreshing. (You can also think of business ideas that could help you escape from the shackles of boredom.) New episodes are posted every Wednesday, and every episode ends with a banger EDM track (I have no idea why this is a thing, but I like it).
  • The Art of Charm If you’re interested in improving your social skills, this is the podcast for you. The show features content designed to help you interact with other people, by improving your body language, non-verbal communication, vocal tonality, and a myriad of other social nuances that you may struggle with. There are at least four episodes released weekly: Mondays feature short episodes with quick tips to start off the week, Tuesdays & Thursdays are longer-format interview episodes with guests from a variety of different fields, and Fridays are Q&A based episodes where listeners ask for advice with their difficult social situations. It might seem like a weird show to listen to, but the advice is solid and the interviews are interesting (previous guests on the show include Tony Hawk, Shaq, Larry King, and other notable individuals). This podcast has also been running for over a decade, so there are literally hundreds of episodes in their back catalog, which gives you plenty of old (but still useful, relevant, and interesting) shows to check out when you’re out of other stuff to listen to.

Hopefully these podcasts seem interesting to you, but if they don’t, there are literally thousands of other shows for you to explore. I listen to podcasts through the Spotify app on my phone, but there are dozens of other (much better) options for podcast listening, including Pocket Casts, Stitcher, 60db, and TuneIn.

Good luck podcast hunting, and may your hours of boring labor fly by with relative ease.

-Will

Post #100:

Before I dive into another “exciting” post about what’s happening in my life, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the very minute accomplishment of reaching 100-posts on this blog. It’s taken a few years to reach, but I’ve finally hit 100-posts on here. (Wow. That is a lot of time wasted WELL SPENT.) Thank you for reading this blog, and I hope you stick around for (hopefully!) the next 100 posts.

I’m beginning to fall back into the cycle of sleeping until the afternoon, wasting time until I have to go to work, working for a number of hours, and going to bed late.

It is an incredibly boring cycle to be in, folks. (I miss my friends; they gave me the motivation to get up and actually DO something.)

Fortunately, the day was not a total waste. I contacted the recruiter for the new job I’ll be starting next week, and I scheduled my pre-employment drug screening for tomorrow. (There’s nothing quite as fun as peeing in a cup at a clinic, guys.) I also got all of my tax-stuff for my job filled out, and I’m basically all set to start my new job. I just need to pick up a new pair of khakis and some dress shoes, and then I’ll be good to go.

I’m very excited to start this job simply because it will be something new and different. While I appreciate my other job (I’ll call it “Job #1” from now on, and I’ll refer to the new job as “Job #2” to prevent confusion), it is incredibly boring and somewhat frustrating. I’m hoping that this new job will bring an end to this boring cycle that I’ve been stuck in, and hopefully spark some motivation to do new things (like read, work out, and write regularly).

I’m also hoping that it will encourage me to begin organizing my life, and schedule everything out. One of the biggest difficulties I faced in school this year was a lack of organization, which caused me to start on assignments late, study for tests and quizzes at the last minute, and even miss a few online assignments. Juggling two jobs will require me to maintain some sort of organizational skills– I’m just hoping that they crossover to my academic life.

Anyway, I should probably be heading to bed (it is 4:30 in the morning; I should have been in bed hours ago). Stay tuned for another post in the near future!

– Will

P.S. By “near future” I mean sometime later this week. I’m trying to keep my writing goals modest as I come back to writing on this blog regularly, so I don’t want to make any promises about writing a post tomorrow. So while that does mean that a post could be on here tomorrow, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a post here tomorrow. I will definitely have at least ONE new post on here by Friday though, so tune in sometime between now and then if you want to stay current with the blog. Alternatively, you can subscribe/follow this blog (to subscribe to this blog, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your e-mail address in the form underneath the box that says “Subscribe”) to stay updated on when new posts are posted onto this blog. (I really hope this didn’t confuse you, but if it did, please let me know in the comments section below, and I will answer any questions you have. Thanks!)

Lazy Days, Restless Nights

Visiting Billings is weird for a number of reasons, but the one that always sticks out is how much hasn’t changed since I left here two years ago.

New buildings have been built in places that were empty fields a few years ago, new people hang out in the places that I used to haunt in high school, and few of my friends still live here. But virtually everything else has stayed the same, and that is what shocks me the most.

It’s like walking into the past, but the things you cared about the most in the past have changed; the only thing that stayed the same was the scenery.

I miss being able to call my friends up and meet them somewhere, and then just go out and do something– you know, the kinds of things that are easy when you live in the same town.

That doesn’t happen anymore, unless we’re all in town for a holiday or some other rare event, and it sucks.

Today was a day that brought that knowledge back to the front of my mind as I spent most of the day bored at my parents’ house. I did some chores to help out, I ran an errand for my dad, and I watched some cable TV (a luxury I don’t have back at my apartment). And while that wasn’t the worst way to spend a day, it definitely wasn’t the best way.

Tonight should be different though, as I’ve made plans to spend time with the few friends that still live here. Hopefully we’ll tear up the town like we used to back in the day.

I’m bringing my camera out with me, so maybe I’ll post some shots of what happened later. Stay tuned.

– Will

P.S. For those of you who also use Tumblr, you can check out my other blog, the wco show, here. (Feel free to follow me on there too, if you like! I’ll probably follow back.)

P.S.S. For the people who just recently started following my blog on here, thank you! Once I figure out how the following feature works on WordPress, I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Motivation to Keep Moving Forward

Yes, I missed another day. No, I don’t have a legitimate excuse for missing a day.

Instead, I’ll fill you in on what happened.

I had an eight-hour shift at work as a cart-pusher, and it was exactly as exciting as you can imagine it would be…

If you have a poor imagination, you could recreate the experience by pacing back and forth in a confined area, carrying a rock from one end to the other, over and over again, for eight-hours (oh, and you get two fifteen-minute breaks, and a lunch break).

After work, I drove an hour-and-a-half to come home for a few days. Now, I’m in Billings, spending time with my family.

The point I was trying to get to at the beginning of this post was how incredibly motivating it was to spend an eight-hour shift pushing carts… I’ll get back to that now.

As I pushed shopping carts back and forth, I couldn’t help but to think about how incredibly menial the task was. I kept thinking about how I could have been spending my time doing something so much more productive, and interesting, and just better than pushing carts.

I scored in the top 10% of the nation on my ACT’s. Why the hell am I pushing carts?!?

It bugged me. It made me frustrated. It made the shift drag on for a small eternity.

….

I can’t wait to go back to school.

 

Lazy Monday

Although summer technically began last Saturday, it didn’t truly feel like summer until today. There’s nothing like sleeping in on a Monday to remind you that summer is here. Coupled with that is an immense feeling of boredom, that there is absolutely nothing to do beside household chores, and after those are finished only the TV, video games, the Internet, and reading remain. Otherwise, you’re alone, looking for something to do, and any parent-suggested activities seem pointless or ridiculously stupid. If you aren’t alone, then you’re sharing your misery with the company of a friend, looking for a fun way to waste the day…

It seems like the real summer is a bad case of depression instead of the fun “no moment wasted” imagined summer I dreamed of weeks ago. Aside from contact with my family, the only other person I talked with today was Kristin. I feel trapped in the neighborhood even though I have a perfectly working vehicle at my disposal. I need to get motivated and make a plan of action so the rest of the summer doesn’t pass by as an endless feeling of total boredom.

What does this plan require? Well, being as I’m trying to save some money this summer for numerous items, the plan requires multiple activities that are either free or fairly inexpensive. It also requires numerous back up plans so I won’t be stuck at home, bored, on a perfectly sunny day. It mainly requires a lot of creativity and open-minded thinking. Ingenuity, imagination, and innovation…

I feel restless. The main activities of my day included surfing the web for podcasting mics, mowing the lawn, and going to my old elementary school’s basketball court to shoot some hoops with Kristin. I want to do more this summer. I want more money so I can quit drooling at podcasting equipment and just by the stuff already. I want to write about more than just how crummy my day was so this post isn’t so boring to read.

I hope you had a fun day, or at least a busy one so you weren’t also trapped in a hellish state of boredom. Thanks again for reading my blog and make sure to leave your comments and suggestions!

-Will