Warm Fuzzies from Karen Ranney

Enduring the Unendurable

My grandmother used to say that it was a sin to be bored. As much as I loved my grandmother, I don’t think she was ever handed a stack of paper a foot high and told to copy it. Or shred a dozen manuscripts. Boredom strikes us all, I’m afraid, because we all have chores or tasks to do that are inherently tedious and mind-numbing.

Here’s my list:

  • Putting my various reports on Excel
  • Cleaning the bathroom.
  • Shredding stuff.
  • Vacuuming.
  • Cleaning my office (Notice there’s a trend here?)

That’s not really much, is it? Not in view of what I’ve had to do in the past. I’ve had some ghastly jobs as I was supporting myself and two children. But those jobs paid the bills and I am grateful for that. Plus, I learned a bunch about myself and other people along the way.

However, I can’t say that all the jobs were intellectually challenging. Far from it, I’m afraid, which forced me to develop coping strategies.

Here are the 5 things I do to push boredom aside:

1. Time myself. For those jobs I hate, I keep trying to beat my time. Give me a foot of stuff to copy and I’ll develop the fastest way to do it. Shredding a dozen manuscripts? I can do this!

2. Memorize stuff. I will grab a book of poetry and memorize a poem when I’m cleaning something. (You’d be surprised how occupied you become with memorizing lines – you don’t have time to be bored).

3. Sing. Okay, so maybe this one only works if you’re alone, but it helps to belt out a tune. If you’re lucky, you’ve also memorized the lyrics. (I sing when I put reports on Excel. I sometimes make up songs, too.)

4. Come up with ten things to be thankful for – this one takes your mind from your troubles. (Or cleaning toilets.)

5. If you’re in a place where you can, listen to audio books or music on an MP3 player. I don’t listen to books while I’m working on a manuscript. The process of writing, for me, is “hearing” a book in my head. I don’t want to mess that up by listening to someone else’s words.

How about you? What are your tricks for getting through the boring things you have to do?

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