How to be Bored
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Do you want to double your to do list?
I think a common problem in our society is we seem to generally have an extreme aversion to boredom. We must stay busy; it doesn’t have to be productive, but we have to be doing something. Whenever we don’t have the energy to do whatever needs to be done, we find ourselves turning on the TV, scrolling endlessly through social media, playing games on our phones, or whatever we default to in order to pass the time. Even edifying activities like reading a book or listening to good music will distract us from something we should spend more time doing - being bored.
Isn’t boredom a bad thing we want to avoid?
Not necessarily. Obviously, we don’t want to spend all of our time doing nothing, but there is a lot to be said for spending time alone with our thoughts. One of the more powerful vessels of creativity is boredom. The mind can’t create new ideas when it is inputting and processing information. That’s probably one of the reasons why many people come up with great ideas in the shower - because their minds finally get a break from the constant input and processing. They are then free to explore and create.
I had an experience recently where I was working on a creative project and I found myself doing something I hadn’t done in a long time - spending time exclusively for the purpose of thinking. I remember I was shocked at myself, because spending over an hour alone with my thoughts was a regular occurrence as a child, but as a working adult, it became a novel concept. However, it was necessary; I found that I couldn’t create without taking that time.
Our minds need to be bored on a regular basis. With our often excessive habit of being busy, we find very little time to process our input and much less, create some quality output. There is scientific evidence that we become more creative when we go on a walk. Similarly discussing our thoughts and taking time to do nothing aid in the process.
Take some time right now (or schedule it, if you have to) to spend 5-10 minutes alone with your thoughts. Go on a walk, sit in your closet, or get into your car and set a timer. During that time, don’t do anything. Don’t read, write, check the time, or talk to anyone. I want you to let your mind wander - don’t force yourself to think about anything in particular - just allow thoughts to flow freely and see how it goes!