Blog Post

      The Conundrum of Getting Good at What You Do... Pushing through the boredom wall

      I've noticed a strange thing starting to happen to me over the last few months, I've been becoming bored with my work, and that hasn't happened to me in quite a while. A couple of years ago when I stepped away from my work to learn how to build websites, I was building an entirely new skill set. I regularly pulled 8 to 12 hour days and woke up again the next day to get right back into it without even really thinking about it, because I enjoyed it. But now I've gotten good at it, and I'm kind of bored. The same tasks that took me days to complete now take hours, and as of yet my scheduling habits haven't adjusted to reflect the amount of time it actually takes to complete a task. As a result I find myself with a lot of down time and, and consequentially, a lot of boredom. And this is actually a recurring theme in my life.

      About 5 years ago I was working my ass off to be a developer. To be a developer was it for me. I was going to get that job and I was going to be happy forever. When I got that dev title I at first felt super achieved. Being a developer was it. Everyday I was learning something new, and boy was I in over my head. I could barely understand the basic code written by my peers, nevermind the packages that I started to stumble onto chasing import statements. But slowly that developer job became more and more comfortable and became something I was actually good at. And then something I wasn't expecting happened: my developer job stopped being it.

      I didn't notice at first that I was unhappy doing that job. I wasn't nearly as familiar with the warning signs back then, so it took me a lot longer than it should have to notice that I was bored and disliking my daily routine; but they were there. Surfing the internet, getting argumentative, feeling sad or depressed, working out less, playing music less... all signs that I'm in a bad spot and I need to work out of it. And now those signs are here again. I've been doing a lot of internet surfing again, less music, feeling depressed, getting argumentative... etc. Fortunately I'm a little more familiar with the warning signs so I pick up on them quicker, but now the challenge is very different than it was last time.

      In another position when I got bored I could report to my manager that I was bored, and if nothing shifted, I could quit and find something else. But I can't, or won't, quit my own company. I mean, being good at the service that I'm selling is actually a huge advantage if I utilize it properly, and I have a lot more stake and ownership over the current product that I'm creating. So then, the challenge becomes how to maintain the work that I have, that doesn't challenge me like I need, while also keeping myself involved in projects that excite me and utilize new technologies.

      I wrote last time about using task management software to keep myself on track, and actually one of the signs that I've been having a harder time with life is that I haven't been keeping up with the tasks that I've been assigning myself as much as I'd like to. Some projects that only take an hour or two get delayed by days or weeks because I don't want to work on them, which I think is my subconscious telling me that I need to refocus a bit, get the fun back into work.

      At the beginning of the summer I declared that I was going to refocus my work efforts to reengage myself. That as a huge success, so I'm making another declaration. I am going to begin focusing on a couple of other projects that I've had on the to-do docket for a long time that I have no idea how I'm going to do. Things like designing a video game with a friend, and building a greenhouse with a raspberry pi. Both of them are incredibly outside of my comfort zone, and so the tasks that will push me through to the point where I get good at them and have to look for the next set of new skills.

      Here's to noticing the warning signs even quicker next time.

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