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It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time.

It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time.

It’s the same old scenario. You have a to-do list a mile long and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to tackle it. And you’re not alone.

Everywhere you turn, people are busy.

What happens when you call your family members? Busy.

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When you call your friends? Busy. Or maybe you don’t call them because you’re busy.

People tend to take some sort of secret pride in “busy-ness.” But what’s wrong with NOT being busy?

Plan to be bored sometimes instead. Sound crazy? Well, actually being bored could be a good thing.

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Why do people hate to be bored?

First, what exactly does it mean to be bored? Well, while boredom can mean many things to many people, the most basic of definitions is not being able to find an activity you enjoy — regardless of how much you want to. This is typically a result of routine. People are so used to going to their go-to method of entertainment, that when it’s out of reach — cell phones, tablets, watching tv, etc., — they feel boredom coming on. And they don’t like it.

Take a cue from a kid

You know why kids hate time out? Because they feel it’s boring! And the worse thing in life for a child is to be bored. But if you watch kids for a while, they’ll figure out how to entertain themselves just sitting in a corner. Magically, that string on their shirt becomes the greatest thing ever. Who knew?

As adults, wouldn’t you love a scheduled time out? What was a nightmare as a kid can be a dream come true for an adult. Taking the time NOT to think about the seven million things on your to-do list can actually do you some good.

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Stop being busy and embrace boredom

Ever notice we are really “busy” but aren’t necessarily doing anything extremely productive.

We click, scroll, snap, like — you name it, and then get annoyed when half the day has gone by and that big project for work isn’t finished. Being “busy” and having constant distractions can really stifle imagination.

You know what happens when you put down the devices? You get creative, just like a kid. You tend to do things you wouldn’t normally do. That book that’s been collecting dust starts to look really good. Or you may not even have any physical books in the house, but you have butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, milk — let the baking begin! You may find that you’re a really good writer, artist, beaded-necklace maker and more.

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Whatever the case, there’s something to be said about on-purpose boredom. Forcing the brain to work outside its comfort zone not only enhances creativity but can also improve problem-solving skills.

Boost your mood even when you are faced with boredom

Do you know you can actually find out how bored you are? Yes, there are online quizzes that actually help you determine your boredom. If you’re really that bored, pass some more time and take a quiz. But once you find out, then what? You will still be bored. And while being bored means you aren’t able to do the things you’d like to do, you will soon find out there are lots of other things you can do. Before you know it, you could increase productivity and even boost your mood.

  • Get outside – Are you a slave to the latest technology? Unplug and get retro! Fly a kite, toss a frisbee or roller skate.
  • Clean up – Stop tripping over that pile of shoes for the last time and take the time to get things cleaned up. While you may not want to do it, you’ll feel so much better once you’re done.
  • Tackle a puzzle – You know you’ve been tempted to pull out the 1000-piece puzzle from the attic. Here’s your chance.
  • Journal your thoughts – While it may be tempting to share what you ate on social media, take the time to journal your day.
  • Enjoy your kids – For those of you with little ones, spend some quality time just watching them wobble to the door, pull your nose or learn peek-a-boo. You just can’t get that from a cell phone.
  • Volunteer – Get your mind off your boredom and go help someone else. Your idle time can be life-changing for someone in need.
  • Get some sleep – It’s amazing how much better you will sleep without all the distractions. You’re not doing anything else — go to bed early tonight!

So instead of being “on” all the time, let the mind take a break from the norm and enjoy a diversion from your typical means of entertainment. Explore being bored!

More by this author

It’s Ok to Be Bored. You Don’t Have to Be Busy All the Time. What Frequent Liars Actually Think and Why How Misogynistic People Make the Society Take a Great Step Backward

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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