All posts by gmc39

Worker’s Boredom, Distraction and Procrastination

Procrastination

 

Quite possibly the most bitter sweet activity a person can partake in, procrastination provides people with the opportunity to avoid doing some sort of work for as long as possible, almost forcing you to complete it at a certain point.  It is essentially an intentional disregard for the required completion of some piece of work.  And the worst part is, with the technologically advanced world we now live in, outlets of entertainment are incredibly abundant.  Therefore, the ability to avoid boredom and/or completing work is much more prevalent as most media entertainment is a click away.

However, for most, procrastination becomes an overwhelming strain as the put-off of so many assignments, tasks, and responsibilities overloads the mind with stress and worry.  It even seems as if a feeling of guilt constantly emerges during procrastination, because the fact remains that you are doing the wrong thing by avoiding crucial responsibilities.  In turn, this constant preoccupation has a negative effect on a person’s capacity to fully fulfill, in terms of enjoyment and stimulation, the time in which he or she is procrastinating, which results in an uninteresting experience.  Overall, due to the immense pressure on and procrastination of working individuals, a conscious burden and guilt develops in their heads which makes free-time less appealing and legitimately  entertaining.   (boredom)

I will examine how this concept affects individuals participating in different forms of upper-level education, knowledge, and workload

 

High School Students

lockers

 

With the independent, free-spirited minds that almost all teenage and young adult students possess, participating in activities that are school or work related is never seen as pleasurable or direly necessary to these people. Most young people have this idea that they are invincible, and that everything is bound to work out in the end regardless of any poor decisions along the way. Not to mention, being in high school, there is an immense pressure on these kids to perform well in all aspects of life, as their future, livelihood, and parental approval depends on it.  Parents constantly remind their children through high school that grades will be essential to gain acceptance to college and that extracurriculars are the key to a complete application.

So with their proclaimed invincibility and societal pressure bearing down on them, it creates the perfect time to procrastinate and simply try to enjoy every moment you have left until that next due date. Procrastination is perfect in this regard because it acts a temporary, intentional escape from all the responsibilities of life and also reinforces their belief that “it’ll all work out in the end as long as I get it done”. In any way, though, this age group is still young and seeking fun. So when the chance to avoid mundane activities, such as school work, presents itself, it seems there is only one alternative: procrastination.

In contrast to students of older age, high school students are socially involved to a much higher degree.  Because most of those attending high school have been seeing and conversing with the same faces since kindergarten, closer friend relationships are developed which increases one’s temptation to disregard schoolwork and say “screw it”.   Adversely, although you develop strong relationships with these people, seeing the same faces in the same small (maybe big) town everyday for potentially 12 years of your life can become extremely monotonous, which is one of the main roots of boredom for high schoolers.  If not in close proximity to a big city or entertainment hub, most of these kids are of young age, possibly without a drivers license or source of money.  So in reality many of the same week and weekend activities remain the same which becomes unintriguing after a while.

Also, earlier and earlier in their lives, kids are being accustomed to high-tech electronic devices that make beating boredom the easiest thing in the world, at least temporarily.  With so many social media sources and outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Vine, and Instagrams at these people’s fingertips, it almost becomes an automatic impulse among them to use these applications when bored.  However two things result from this expansion of technology. One being that since these devices are being used so much on a daily basis, stimulation and interest day after day becomes less and less.  People will often mindlessly scroll through Twitter and Instagram in leu of conversing with the people right in front of you.  The second thing is that the growth of technology makes it easier for students to procrastinate.  Even if they are studying or writing an essay, they do not need to go very far for a break or escape from work, and it can consequently lead to an hour or so of non-work related activity.

 

College Students

college-student

 

The group of people that undergoes the worst of procrastination and its boring consequences is college students, graduate and undergraduate.  Transitioning from an environment in which academic degree of difficulty is relatively low to a rigorous academic environment, a significant amount of college students struggle to adapt adequately.  The workload received is so great that it is often difficult to scrounge personal time, which forces them to revert to procrastination and a last minute attempt at work.  This has an advert effect on their academic performance and overall experience during school.

“Students worry about performing inadequately or fear their success may raise others’ expectations of them, he says.  Other students may actually think they get a thrill out of delaying their work and believe they work best under pressure” said Depaul University professor Joseph Farrari.  In either way,  fear of an unsatisfactory result or raised expectations of you by respected others increases temptation to hold off tasks to the last second.  I know personally that when I know there is a lengthy assignment, exam, or essay that I have yet to complete, I literally sleep as long as I can because that’s really the only true way to completely stop myself from thinking about it.  For me and most others, it usually leads to a day or tiredness and laziness in which nothing productive is accomplished.

According to Piers Steel , a psychologist at the University of Calgary, found in a 2007 meta-analysis that roughly eighty percent to ninety-five percent of college students procrastinate their coursework.  This is evidence that due to the high standard set by universities, even those who were diligent and punctual in primary schooling are succumbing to procrastination and accumulating stress by doing so.  It is well known that the more effective strategy is to break up a large piece of work into multiple small sections to reduce the amount of time needed to be spent in one sitting.   However, with a handful of other more interesting things to do that are far less boring, people choose to forego the responsible route and waste another very useful hour, day, or week.   In a survey conducted by Caitlin Lenker and Dan McAndrew dealing with procrastination and its influence on students, one student said that “They (college students) are too lazy to be organized and get everything done before they have fun.  They would rather have all of the fun first, before doing work.”   Unfortunately, while they may be having “fun”, there is no doubt that while doing whatever it is that is not what they should be,  the free time is less satisfied because of their knowledge of upcoming assignments that continue to pile up for them to complete later.

Contrary to popular opinion, the independence college students acquire when they begin their four-year adventure is another reason why they fall victim to this lifestyle.  Unlike earlier schooling, there is no little angel on your shoulder, that being parents and others, pointing you in the right direction and pampering you through thick and thin.  There is no one there making you finish your homework before going out which allows for vast amounts of procrastination.

Not only do they have the academic stressors on their shoulders, but are pressed to make relationships that will last through college and accumulate some type of income to sufficiently support day-to-day living.  Unfortunately, this is difficult for those who are both employed and unemployed during college.  If employed, yes there is less time for procrastination, but after a long day of classes followed by a dinner shift later that day, its presumable that most people will still decide to procrastinate other responsibilities in exchange for relaxation.  For the unemployed, it simply adds to the already large pile of stress already in your brain.  Knowing that you have no steady income, a cafeteria that serves the same gross food everyday, a growing pile of tasks not yet completed, and other personal issues usually present, how is it possible not to get bored?  Procrastination becomes a snowball in this as one negative consequence after the next continue to emerge.

In my experience, for example, I know for a fact that taking care of responsibilities and academic duties ahead of time is such a refreshing feeling as you just simply feel better about your academic standing and entire being.  Free of stress and constant reminder of what I should be doing, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the present situation I was in.  Because your only focus is what is happening right in front of you, you are able to hone in on that without the distraction of unfinished work.

Adults in the Workforce 

Despite an adults responsibility to potentially support a family and attend to personal needs,  they are the least susceptible to boredom and procrastination.  Typically adults are forced to adapt to a schedule that demands a day-long commitment and allows for little to no time for leisure.  So, room for procrastination is very minimal as the commitment to a family and yearly salary job is much more of a reason to not procrastinate.  And the hustle-bustle style of life leaves zero downtown, which makes boredom very hard to come by.

Unlike unmonitored school students, adults are not able to do things other than work while at their occupation.  They obviously have more incentive to work as they know they will be receiving a hefty sum of money in the future, so their motivation to work is much higher than students.  They are realistically unable to procrastinate because if you approach your boss explaining why you didn’t have a presentation ready for the meeting, you are simply going to be a fired which would instigate a complete downhill spiral.

Another reason adults are less effected by the restrictions of boredom, is that they are not as technologically inclined as their children’s generation.  Most adults barely know how to operate smart phones and devices, so that’s one less thing to worry about.  There is less of a reliance on those devices to escape boredom, so they are more creative and intuitive when combating boredom which is an overall more stimulating experience.

Works Cited 

Haycock, Laurel.  “Procrastination in College Students: The Role of Self-Efficacy and Anxiety”.  Journal of Counseling and Development.  23 December 2011.  Web.

Lenker, Caitlin.  “The Procrastination Epidemic: An Investigative Report”.  The Minstrel.  Web.

Novotney, Amy.  “Procrastination or Intentional Delay?”.  American    Psychological Association.  January 2010.  Web.  Page 14.

Misra, Ranjita.  “College Students’ Academic Stress and its Relation to Their Anxiety, Time Management, and Leisure Satisfaction”.  American Journal of Health Studies.  2000 Volume 16 Issue 1.  Web.

 

 

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A Measurement of Time, Age and Technology

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It is undeniable that the word boredom often accompanies a negative connotation in which people become resentful towards, often times making exceptions and and decisions to avoid it at all costs.  But, for what?  Boredom has become a part of life that simply cannot be avoided in a normal, average life.  No matter the amount of stimulation and leisure time for entertainment, there are still going to be times and instances in which the mind will lose an amount of stimulation, inducing a feeling of boredom.  So now that we know boredom’s inevitable appearance time and time again will reoccur, I think it is important that we look at the topic more critically, and to study its effects for good and bad and also its history.  

When looking at boredom in terms of time, it has transformed drastically in three forms of time: physical, calender-clock time, generation, and age.    

TIME & GENERATION

        Early 1900s

The physical, calender-clock time and generation and their relation to boredom can be grouped together similarly as each generation is a representation of some point in time over history.  Prior to the industrial revolution and development of modern technology, the ability to become bored was much less, as stimulation was stumbled upon much easier and outlets for instant entertainment were not as prevalent.  People were essentially forced to create their own mental stimulation due to the lack there of around them.  Until the creation and rapid development of transportation, besides with your feet or on a bike, people were essentially confined the small area in which they lived.  It wasn’t until the creation of cars, railroads, and planes that people were able to expand their boundaries and horizons and see something not seen before.  And also just the lack of technological advancement at the time, made nature and physical activity the only two ways really to escape the chains of boredom.  Being inside on a nice day is one of the last things a person living in this time would want to do unless they were in a movie theater seeing a poorly produced black & white film or cooped next to a radio with fellow neighborhood friends.  And trust me these same people have not change their ways of thinking, as many elders that came from this generation still participate in the same activities and still have no idea how to use a remote control or use a cell phone.  

I can vividly recall my grandparents discussing their early childhood in the 1920’s, explaining how things back then were just simpler.  Entertainment to them was helping mother prepare dinner for the family, watering and planting in the garden, catching butterflies, and playing fetch with the dog in the lawn.  Now these are all things that we today would not mind doing and would think of more as a chore, however as forms of entertainment on a hot summer day? I think not.  And apparently baseball.  A lot of baseball.  Which intrigued me enough to research the importance and likability of baseball during the early 1900s.  Also, in doing research I found that movies were just as popular during this time as a form of entertainment, something that intrigued me as well because to be entertained by something considered today to be boring as hell was intriguing but not surprising.

I also think there’s something to be said about boredom in the workplace during this era.  Due to the lack of technology and dependence on computers, people were more physically involved in what they were doing, which created greater interest and pleasure in doing so.  It has a relation to idleness because plugging and transferring numbers, data, and statistics into a computer for eight hours a day is as idle as idle gets.  However, back then, workers like this would probably transfer it all by hand and then personally package and take it to whoever was in need which simply created a more interactive work environment.

As i said before, the limitations in terms of outlets to conquer boredom were far greater during this time, so stimulation was easily induced in times of the mundane.  This concept is relatable to the author Soren Kierkegaard and his essay on boredom titled “The Rotation of Crops”.  In his essay, Kierkegaard discusses boredom and its relation to the things that surround your everyday existence with a specific portion that talks about prisoners and their ability to conquer boredom.  He states that “The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes.  A solitary prisoner for life is extremely resourceful; to him a spider can be a source of great amusement.” (Kierkegaard par 9).  I think this statement closely relates to the lives of those in the early 1900s because they too are forced to manufacture their own amusement simply from things that are put in front of them.  Whether it be watching a spider crawl up a wall or throwing a ball back and forth in the yard, each party is easily amused by something that really is not that entertaining in today’s society.  In general, during the early 1900s boredom was able to be conquered much more easily than to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi-Bg7p5fiE up until 2:00 minutes into the video (wasn’t sure how to make this a hyperlink, copy and paste still works)

Keep in mind, this would have been a time in which Americans were returning from the first world war, distraught and fatigued.  Therefore, entertainment and a break from the stresses of war was in high demand.  Not to mention, soldiers fighting in the first world war had their own fair share of times in which they had to keep themselves occupied in the field.  Knowing that, one can easily understand why baseball and movies were so popular during this time as they provided an alternate more visually and physically entertaining than sitting in a ditch probably looking a pornos and smoking cigarettes.  

      Mid 1900s

Transitioning into the mid 1900’s when higher level technology was introduced and the realm of computers came into existence, I believe that this time period was the one in which boredom was the easiest to overcome.  And to me, personal entertainment and its accessibility was at an all time high.  They were in an age when technological advances were coming to the forefront, but the advocation of simplicity that was held in the early 1900s still remained.  

The lifestyle of the early 1900s carried over into this time primarily because all of the kids living during the early 20th century are now the parents of this generation.  Technology was available to people at this time, but on a very limited scale as most kids during the mid 1900s were doing the same things their parents were to conquer boredom (playing outside, using your imagination, and maybe watching one to two hours of television per day.  However, those one to two hours worth of television was probably fascinating to the public, as shows could now be seen on screen and in color, something that had just been introduced.  

For me, personally, my dad used to tell me stories of how all he needed on a nice summer day was a backpack of goodies and his bike, and he could do anything.  And obviously I would laugh, commenting how video games are just so much more fun and that I’d rather just hibernate.  

More so than the early 1900s, the options as far as overcoming the mundane were significantly more.  Just think of all the possibilities to entertain one self and to actually be entertainied: biking, swimming, playing cards, catching bugs, playing by the river, playing sports, watching television, listening to the radio, taking a car ride (with the radio on!), etc.  And its not just the wide variety of options, it is the fact that each of the activities listed above were mentally stimulating to people in the mid 1900s.  And even the simplest of technologies were a fascination of science, and people were easily intrigued.

According to my dad, the only time he would get bored as a kid is when forms of entertainment and privileges were taken away, such as when he was grounded.  But to our current generation, I think that is saying a lot.  Because today grounding consists of one being sent to their room where there is probably a flat screen television on the wall and a smart phone in the hand of the groundee.  And the worst part is, that is still torture to someone our age.  

Overall, if you are trying to conquer boredom I suggest you build a time machine and transport back to the 1950’s-ish because it was a perfect time of simplicity and advancement, perfect for surpassing boredom.  

         Late 1900s – Early 2000s  

During this era when technology had reached a peak and continues to make advances into today, boredom reached an all time high.  The simplicity of the 50s, 60s, and 70s vanished as more and more technological advances were produced.  Things like the computer, Internet, cell phones, and virtual reality engulfed the people living in this time period, thus, pushing things like playing outside and exerting physical activity into the background as they became less interesting and entertainingly stimulating.  The fascination and fantasy-like connotation that these devices adopted was enough to completely forget about the little things in life that were once seen as fun.  

This is specifically evident with today’s kids and not so much today’s adult.  As referred to earlier, the children living during the mid 1900s are now the parents of the kids living in this modern area.  And I think that due to their small affiliation with technology back then, that is why they are less reluctant to let their children use the technology at their disposal as frequently as they choose, while still pushing for other alternatives.  

It is obvious that due to the striking increase in the availability of technology and its ability to catch one’s attention for a short amount of time, kids in today’s society are less intrigued by new technology year after year.  That, in turn, creates less interest in each new piece of technology that hits the market.  And if kids are getting less and less occupied by these electronic devices, how will they ever find entertainment in playing outside and doing things that aren’t in front of a glowing screen?  Beats me.  And just on a side note to clarify and emphasize the point I am trying to make,  childhood obesity was not a frequently discussed topic up until the late 90s early 2000s.  Could that be because technology is keeping children less active due to their obsession and dedication to electronics?  Possibly.  

For example, I knew a kid during childhood named David who, in the summer, did the exact same thing everyday for the entire summer break.  His days consisted of drinking roughly 4-6 Coca Colas, completing a significant portion of some video game he was trying to beat, eating dinner, and then going right back to the game when he finished.  And I noticed that every time I asked if he wanted to do something outside, he would reply saying “Yeah, but it’s too hot.”.  And that was his reply every time I asked him.  It became frustrating, and I actually remember pondering to myself if these video games had taken over his life and if this is really the only thing that entertainingly passes time for him.  It bothered me immensely and to this day I think boredom has steadily increased among people my age and younger.   

In conclusion, advancement in technology has made boredom more and more difficult to overcome.  It is imperative that one’s keeps their options open and to try new things, even if they aren’t electronic related.  I think that the perfect mix of technology and fun in nature is essential in order to conquer the mundane, which is seen in the people living during the mid 1900s.  

 

 

Works Cited 

 

 
“The Rotation of Crops” by Soren Kierkegaard (paragraph 9) 
 

     

 

Office Buildings

glass-box

 

When taking an external view or internal view of an office building, the fact still remains that the structure takes on a very plain, un-exciting connotation.  They are usually structurally-sound buildings with no variation throughout, and its inhabitants are usually a mundane group of white collars all dressed in the same type of outfit as they walk by each other sipping their coffee saying “Hey, whats up Jim?”.  The buildings appearance is usually nothing special, as if the builders just through office space together real quick just to simply get it done and get people moved in.  The funny thing is I could see there being roughly twenty Jim’s, Bob’s, or Dave’s in an office of a hundred people.  It just always seem like places like these just attract boring people who wish to work in a cubicle for the rest of their lives.

When looking at the buildings content, nothing is usually special about the inside of an office building.  If I asked anyone to explain the internal space of an office building, they would probably say things like: cubicles, men in suits, those water dispensers with the big jug sticking out of the top(because what office space has an actual water fountain?), coffee makers, a small break room with a refridgerator and microwave, a lot of glass windows, and referring to a blog post I read earlier, vending machines.  The people especiaily are mundane, and it is obvious they are living a mundane lifestyle.  The arrive at the office building the same time everyday, plug a few numbers in the computer until 5:00, go home to his/her family, and repeat.  This may not be the case for everyone, but that is just the assumption I usually deduce.  The fact that this is so predictable allows no room for variation in terms of perception, which I believe indicates a boring piece of material.

Not to mention, I frequently take 2-4 hour car rides to visit my family in Ohio and/or Philly, and I dread being cooped in a car for long periods of time.  Anyways, there are two things I see on these car rides: farmland and office buildings.  They all look the same with some sophisticated yet ordinary company name on a sign placed next to the entrance and glass windows all over.  So naturally I would associate these things with a type of boredom.   I try to to find some variation in the architecture, window style, and shape of the building but never had  success.

Another reason I think there is a strong correlation between office buildings and boredom is the concept of childhood, and the countless times Mom and Dad dragged you to the office when a babysitter couldn’t be found.  I don’t know about others, but that was the kiss of death for me because obviously my Mom or no one else was going to pay attention to me as they had more important things to do.  I just remember being so bored, slouching in a shitty chair playing Gameboy, complaining to my Mom, and her saying “Just be patient, it’s a virtue”.  God I hated when she said that.  Oh yeah, and “Take Your Child to Work Day”?  HAH.  Forget it.