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5 reasons boredom is essential for good ideas

People aren’t often bored these days.

Take a look at your own life.

I bet it’s filled with lots of plans, things to do and people to see. It's Been A Long Day At His Computer

Ask anyone how they are these days and what do they say?

Busy.

Everyone is busy nowadays, rushing around and doing a million things at once with barely time to catch up properly.

Being busy has become a badge of honour, a sign that we’re being productive, getting things down, and achieving our goals.

No one ever tells you they’re bored.

But boredom is important, as scientists are beginning to discover.

A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that bored people are more “readily available” to come up with creative new ideas.

Some say that necessity is the mother of invention, but maybe it’s boredom.

Here are five good reasons to let yourself be bored:

1. IT ENCOURAGES CREATIVITY

There are numerous studies, such as the one mentioned above, that links creativity to boredom. 

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It seems that we need to let our mind run off, to stare into the middle distance, while our unconscious does some background work.

Then a-ha! We have a moment, a breakthrough, a new idea.

It’s no different to the way sleep is an excellent way of solving a problem.

We go to bed and wake up refreshed with a new take on an issue.

It’s the same with boredom and creativity.

The brain needs to switch of from ‘doing’ mode and enter ‘being’ mode.

You might not think much is happening, but the switch in your focus can have a big effect on your creativity levels.

2. IT GIVES THE BRAIN A REST

The brain is useless under sustained, unrelenting pressure. Bored College Student Daydreams In Class

Ever tried doing a crossword right before bed when you’re exhausted? It’s not easy.

The brain needs to rest and that means mental time-outs.

Make an effort to let yourself be bored and don’t fill in the empty spaces in your calendar.

No one can achieve much in life if their brain is on 24/7.

You may have read about certain CEOs who only need four hours’ sleep at night, but you need to be honest with yourself: does that work for you?

Can you really get by on that?

There is nothing wrong with giving your brain a break by doing nothing.

In fact, it’s essential.

3. IT STOPS US FROM MAKING MISTAKES

There’s no shame in making a mistake.

We’re all human after all.Take A Break On Blackboard

But if you keep making mistakes because you’re tired and not looking after yourself, then that’s a problem.

Boredom re-sets the brain and, in doing so, it allows us to focus more fully when we’re ‘on’.

That way we are less likely to make costly mistakes.

But if you’re always ‘on’ and there’s no off time, you’re bound to slip up somewhere.

4. IT ALLOWS US TO MAKE CHANGES

When you’re constantly busy, it’s very hard to know what you feel about things and intuition plays a large role in life success.

Often people keep busy so they don’t have to think about things that need to change or that make them uncomfortable.

But if you’re always busy, how will you now what needs changing?

Furthermore, these problems in your like could be sabotaging your career and relationships with others.

Boredom allows us to recognise certain patterns at work or home, and make the necessary changes to help us be successful.

5. YOU WON’T BE BORED FOR LONG

That’s the thing about boredom: we don’t tend to stay in that state for very long.Tired Man Working On Digital Device

Some downtime generally gives us the necessary motivation to throw ourselves back into life with enthusiasm.

We return to the busy world with a fresh lease of life, and end up getting more done.

So boredom needs to be seen for what it is: part and parcel of being productive, a necessary component of an engaged and successful life.

We have to stop running ourselves into the ground on auto-pilot before we all turn into efficient worker bees who are getting stuff done but aren’t making much of an impact in the world.



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About

Mark Creedon is Director of Metropole Business Advisory and business coach to some of Australia's leading entrepreneurs - each who call him their "unreasonable friend"
Visit Metropole Business Advisory.


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