Maybe It’s Not Burnout? You’re Just Bored Out of Your Brain

When the work clock ticks…slowly

Karen Nimmo
On The Couch
Published in
5 min readJun 19, 2024

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Image by Freepik

We’ve all heard of burnout. But bore-out?

Can work-related boredom drive you into a state of physical and emotional exhaustion, negative thinking and low performance?

I was recently asked about this in a LinkedIn post. The commentator labelled it “bore-out” and wanted to know if it existed as a psychological phenomenon.

It’s a great question. I agreed to take a look.

When the clock ticks…slowly

Have you ever had a boring job?

One of those that make you more focused on the clock than what you’re (not) doing. If you have, you’ll know how time drags, how long — endless — the day seems.

Trouble is, long disengaged days make you feel more fatigued, lethargic and suck away your motivation. And those feelings can feed and maintain mental health struggles.

So not only is it bad for you, it’s bad for your employer. As well as lost productivity, and high staff turnover, disengagement (and the negative behaviour that usually goes with it) can spread through teams, even whole organisations.

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Karen Nimmo
On The Couch

Clinical psychologist, author of 4 books. Editor of On the Couch: Practical psychology for health and happiness. karen@onthecouch.co.nz