Bored? I think we’ve all felt bored at one point in our lives. During a time where many of us are asked to stay home, it can be difficult to not feel completely bored. There’s only so much TV we can watch before even that can get boring.
A massive misconception within our society is that being bored is seen as a negative thing. I don’t see it as a negative thing. Being bored does not mean that we have nothing to do – it means that all the options available to us just don’t interest us anymore.
My Boredom Stages —
I’ve noticed that when I’m bored I go through a couple stages where I ultimately end up in a better mindset than before. The first stage is just me accepting the fact that I am bored. I tend to go on my phone and scroll through social media or watching a TV show trying to pass the time. But then at some point, I hit the second stage: Being bored of being bored. When I hit that stage, I usually sit up and think about new things to do – something that interests me and gets me out of this bored mindset. This brainstorming session ultimately leads me to think of new creative outputs that are intriguing enough for me to complete. Once I got that idea, I put my mind to it and I’m out of the boredom phase.
I think you can agree to some extent. You’ve obviously managed to get out of your boredom stage before. Chances are – you did this by keeping busy. You got out of this stage because you creatively thought of a new activity to do to keep you busy.
A Great TedTalk For Inspiration —
I came across a TedTalk on LinkedIn recently and I found it one of the most interesting TedTalks I’ve seen. The presenter, Manoush Zomorodi essentially tries to explain how boredom and creativity are linked, as well as explaining the neurological aspect of how our brain functions when multitasking. I highly recommend you watch her TedTalk after reading this post.
Now – I’m not going to summarise what she said in her TedTalk. In this post I want to use her research to assist the reasons as to what the benefits are to being bored. I’m not an expert – I don’t know the technicalities behind the neurological connections within our brain, but I’ve found that by being bored, I have often come out of it a lot more productive, clearer minded and more focused.
The Creative Benefit of Boredom —
As I mentioned, being bored can actually increase your creative mindset. Sometimes the best ideas can come out of you being bored, because you’re constantly trying to challenge your mind, trying to brainstorm activities to stop you from being bored.
Not only that, but when you’re bored, your brain goes into “autopilot mode”. According to Manoush Zomorodi’s TedTalk , our brains are actively thinking during this autopilot mode. During this time, we develop and maintain our creativity, thinking about things beyond our current state.
The Perspective Benefit of Boredom —
Being bored can also give you a completely new perspective. No one likes being bored. And after a while, you do different things to try and pass the time and overcome this boredom. At least, that’s how I feel whenever I’m bored. And because of this new perspective, you’re widening your exposure to different things. You’re doing things you may not have done before. It can lead to new hobbies, new experiences and new perspectives.
An example of this dates back to 2019. I think the first 5 months of 2019 were one of my hardest months ever. I was so busy academically that I didn’t have time to think about any hobbies or extracurriculars to do. I also didn’t have time to reflect and think about how unhealthy the academic pressure and my study lifestyle was. It was so intense that I was never really bored because I always had something to do – from coursework to studying to exams. I probably spent a solid 3 months just studying non-stop and sitting my exams. Definitely not a healthy lifestyle and I wouldn’t recommend it.
After my exams ended I had the longest summer break – 4 months completely free. That was the first time I was properly bored and felt demotivated in 2019 – I was so busy for so long that once I accomplished and finished my academic commitments, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do to fill my time.
I was bored.
The first two weeks I spent catching up on some much needed sleep and watched loads of movies and TV shows to catch up on what I missed. Studying exhausted me to the point where I had a solid 12 hours sleep each night for a few weeks.
But then after those few weeks past I felt stuck. I wanted to do more – I didn’t want to waste my whole summer doing nothing.
Then I started thinking. I started brainstorming different things to do to keep me occupied all summer. I wanted to do something productive. As a full-time student, I had limited money to keep up any expensive hobby.
But I wanted to do something. Something that kept me busy. Something that didn’t require loads amount of money to get started. Something that would be useful.
I ended up deciding that cooking would be a great use of my time.
My mindset was essentially: “I’m going to eat least two meals a day for the rest of my life. Why not learn now?”
So I got up, set up a website and decided to build a food blog. I spent the whole summer preparing, practising, cooking and eating meals – some were good some were bad.
I also had my fair share of mistakes building my website. I still feel like a complete newbie to this whole blogging world, but it’s been really challenging, yet rewarding at the same time.
Boredom led me to build a whole food blog. It led me to learn how to create some of my favourite meals. It led me to being productive. It kept me busy. It developed my creativity and kept my brain active.
Boredom fosters Reflecting —
Besides actively maintaining and developing our creativity, boredom also allows us to just stop and think. We all live such fast-paced lives that we often forget about the small things. Being bored helps you to just stop and reflect on everything you’ve been doing. It’s times like these where you can really figure out what’s next for you and what you want to change. Boredom not only fosters your creativity, it also assists in you gaining clarity from situations that you were too busy to gain before.
So before you use the concept of boredom in a negative way, try looking at it in a holistic way. Change your perspective. Look at it in a different way. Read my post on what to do when you’re bored and stuck at home if you’re looking for more inspiration. It will keep you busy for a while and maybe lead you to something that you really enjoy.
Watch Manoush Zomorodi’s TedTalk to get a more in-depth explanation in terms of the scientific research. I hope this post made you see the importance of boredom and how it can be a positive thing, especially in times like these.