Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?
I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.
If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, lap tops, i-pads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem:
We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment.
We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People don’t know how to sit still. We feel guilty if we are not ‘doing.’ ‘Inactivity’ has become the ultimate ‘sin’.
What is boredom anyway?
You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety & stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.
It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’. It’s a desire for sensory stimulation.
What it boils down to a lack of focus.
If you think about those times when you’re bored it’s usually because you ‘don’t know what to do’. So indecision plays a big part.
When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored.
So one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.
Sometimes it’s good to be bored
If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation.
In other words, to enjoy stillness.
Research has shown that it’s not the ‘boredom’ its-self that causes the frustration, it’s the resistance to doing nothing. Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore. You would be relaxing!
In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.
Sounds weird, but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st century living provides. The constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phonecalls…
Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually a good for us?
Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.
Here’s my 3 step strategy to overcome boredom:
1. Get focused
Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. What would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?
Here are a few ideas:
- Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you
- Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks
- Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses
2. Kill procrastination
Boredom is useful in some ways because it give us energy to ‘do things’, so next time you’re bored why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been ‘meaning to get done, but have been too busy’.
This is a great time to clear your ‘to do’ list.
- Do some exercise
- Read a book
- Learn something new
- Call a friend
- Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write)
- Spring clean
- Wash the car
- Renovate the house
- Re-arrange the furniture
- Write your shopping list
- Water the plants
- Walk the dog
- Sort out your mail & email
- De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe)
3. Enjoy boredom
If none of the above work, then try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly ‘doing things’ in order to be productive. In-fact research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.
So take some time to relax. You never know you might even like it.
(Photo credit: Bored Woman Sitting via Shutterstock)