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.