5: Boring reasons

I saw an article earlier this week about apps to download to solve something they were called “micro-boredom.” The brief moments between activities when you have nothing to do and there might be a chance you’ll become not-entertained. It was an idea that rubbed me the wrong way. I thought about all the times I mindlessly scroll through facebook or instagram, so I know I do it too. But it seemed so gross to be presented to me that way. Specifically, that apps are the solution to boredom. I feel like I have a right to be bored if I want to! Or, that I’m not above boredom.

Friday5

Why I think we should be bored:

01. Boredom boost to creativity.

I have anecdotal evidence that I’m the most creative when I’m bored, but there are also real studies done that describe how boredom boost creativity (via HBR). In the first study, they talk about how after participants are giving a really mind-numbingly boring task they came up with more creative solutions to a task they were assigned. These were eve more creative than the group of participants who were given a medium-boring task. It evoked daydreaming and creativity. Don’t rob me of my daydreams.

02. “Boredom motivates people to approach new and rewarding activities.”

When I think of the products from my boredom compared to the products of my scrolling through social feeds…there’s no contest. The way I choose to alleviate our boredom is much more worthwhile to me: doodling, writing, reading, a small project, hardcore pondering.

03. I get to think my own thoughts.

When I’m bored, I think about things. These aren’t just daydreams, but I form opinions and reflect on the world around me. Otherwise it’s like watching TV, right? You become passive as you food picture after sunsets go by on Instagram. Is it really more entertaining than being bored? Or is it merely something to do?

04. It has given me hobbies. 

I have a really long and boring commute to work. I get a headache and ill-feeling if I do too much work on the shuttle. So, I can’t really be on a screen. Instead, it has given me the opportunity to daydream out the window and read. I’ve even re-attached some buttons to my backpack (who knows why two decided to fall off within a week of each other). I think if I didn’t allow myself moments of “micro-boredom” I probably won’t allow myself to use long stretches of time to do things like read or crochet.

05. Looking around. 

Most importantly, being bored makes us look around and step outside of ourselves, too. Granted, it’s out of miserable desperation as we look for something to entertain ourselves, but it still counts. I look around and notice curious things or people watch and it makes me feel like I’m in the moment. Or it might inspire a new doodle. Or I’ll create stories for people I see. And I find that it’s actually not that boring.

Not that our phones are a bad thing. I’m definitely guilty of The Social Scroll as much as anyone else. Or I’ll use the opportunity to read a quick article or two. But I’ve told you before, that I really like looking out windows when I’m commuting and walking around the city without headphones. Reflecting on it now, I’m not often bored. The most common cases of me being bored today is when I have to listen to other people….whoops. But that’s something I want to get better at and a topic for another day.

What about you: Are you bored?
Do you want to be?

Your Turn:
  1. Sarah says:

    I was JUST talking about this with my mother. She has observed at her high school that between classes she claims 90% of high school students are engrossed in their phones. This is recent, she says the last few years recent. Now, the five minutes between classes that should be used for getting to class early or flirting or hurriedly doing your homework are used to scroll through Facebook or Instagram which, let’s face it, they probably checked under their desk during class thirty minutes early. I am guilty of this too. I take my phone everywhere, especially to the toilet. Those minutes that only a couple of years ago were “wasted” are now used to take screen shots of wedding dresses on Instagram. What is wrong with me?

    Prime example, it’s such a turn off to me when I will leave the room for only a couple of minutes and when I come back Ricky is on his phone. It’s almost like any alone time is phone time. I’m just as guilty.

    As a child, not only was I not allowed to watch TV or to play video games but I didn’t even have access to them. Instead I learned to knit, make jewelry, illustrate books. I think my limited access to screens and distractions contributed to my craftiness.

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