When was the last time you were bored?
Boredom used to be a regular part of our lives. Maybe we were required to attend a workshop and the speaker had the most monotonous tonality. ("Bueller? Bueller?")
Maybe we got trapped in a conversation with another party guest who droned on and on about their stamp collection. Or we got stuck on a long flight with nothing to read and there was no movie.
But thanks to recent technology, we no longer get bored. That boring speaker? We Tweet about him to our followers, text others in the class, check emails, or play Angry Birds on our iPhone. Stuck on a plane with no movie? Not anymore. Our Kindle has today's Wall Street Journal, this month's New Yorker, and Mary Roach's latest book, Packing For Mars. On our iPad we can watch The Bounty Hunter, Mad Men, and Farad Zakaria on CNN. Our mothers may have told us we don't have any reason to be bored, but now it's really true.
But is this a good thing? From our personal perspective, our brains just can't function optimally when we're engaged 100% of the time. We need that down time to recharge our batteries and to let our minds take short mental holidays. We've all heard stories from famous people and geniuses who said that when they were stuck on a particular problem, they would stop working and do nothing. They shut down the conscious mind – the part we're trying so dang hard to Red-Bull and 5-Hour-Energy into working at warp speed while we're awake. They allowed their subconscious to take the problem over and work behind the scenes, oftentimes coming up with the Eureka moment.
When forced to stay engaged through constant stimulation we lose that Eureka moment and our creativity suffers. In reality, the way we often handled boredom in the past was to daydream. Daydreaming is a good thing, but when was the last time you did that?
This is also a Two Hat Marketing problem. We need to understand our customers and prospects are in the same boat we are. They're running at top speed with all the same distractions and time-fillers we face. It's no wonder that getting their attention gets harder and harder.
I don't have some brand new, motivational answer to this situation. But, IMNSHO, we need boredom back in our lives. We need to be bored and let our minds wander so we can daydream. We need to daydream to get our creativity back.
Excuse me while I go sit outside and get bored.
A good reminder to create ‘bored’ time into a conference schedule! Too much stimulation and you can’t remember all that information and you walk away exhausted. Breaks are important for more than time to dash to the bathroom.
I’m very happy to hear you say this. Over stimulating our brain without a break doesn’t allow us to be creative. I know I can’t. I try to do something fun and relaxing that doesn’t require a deadline or a computer. Doing nothing sounds good to me too!
I make it a point to have that time when I am not bombarded by the outside. It is the only time I can truly wander about without interruption.
In today’s hurried pace we lose track of what quite time can produce. When I go to lunch and leave the phone in the car and spend 45 to 60 minutes to my own thoughts.
We are not machines. We are people that need to have the switch thrown so we can slow down and evaluate what has just happened or that train coming at us down the track.
It’s SO true!
Lately I find myself staying up to rediculous hours..2am, 3am…just trying to empty my mind of all the distractions and to be able to hear myself think! (Of course that just makes me incredibly tired and semi-conscious the next day.)
As a framing designer for 23 years, I have found that sometimes when I am mind numbingly busy and I start to make mistakes, I need to step away from the framing table “have to’s”… and over to the design table… and spend 20 minutes or so allowing myself to play with creative design ideas for something I’ve been wanting to. I let myself take a little mini break before going back to work. It works sort of like a power nap!
I recommend fishing. It’s the perfect excuse to take in the scenery and fresh air and do nothing at all.
I agree…however, a little bordem time is great. Some people take too much time for this and it means others have to pick up the slack, so that isn’t helpful.
Steve, I recently had one of your customers on my flight, Eric Sullwold. I am energized by my love for flying and giving my customers a good travel experience. I recharge my batteries in a boring way. Like laying in the grass looking at the clouds I do the same thing at 37,000 feet. The clouds are a great way to see your past, present and future. Up there you realize how minute you are in the big scheme of things so I just pull back the throttles of life and slow down. I like your perspective.