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Beat the Blahs with The Boredom Manifesto

Beat the Blahs with The Boredom Manifesto

    Most of the time, you keep up with your schedule. You wake up each day, go through your morning routine and then start working. You start doing your stuff. Piece by piece, task by task.

    And most of the time, it’s boring.

    Many times it feels far better to just do nothing. Sometimes you feel like relaxing in the backyard but you have a business meeting you really have to attend. So you get up and go.

    Other times you feel like watching that game on the couch, but you promised yourself you’re going to run 5km today. So you get up and go.

    You don’t enjoy it, but you finish it. You go to that meeting. You do your 5km run. And then the next one. And the next one.

    And at some point when you really look back and try to understand how you did all the stuff that you did. You look at how you achieved all that you achieved.

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    Then you realize that — statistically — the boring periods in your life were far longer and persistent than the joyful, motivating and enthusiastic ones.

    It’s true. Just look back and see for yourself. Have you really been all that high for your entire life? Were you enthusiastic all the time? Exhilarated? Pumped up? Adrenalized?

    Nope.

    But you got out and did your stuff. You somehow managed to cope with the boring moments and fill them with things you wanted to do.

    The Beauty And The Boredom

    As human beings we are wired to follow pleasure and reject pain. Many daily activities are centered around this pattern. We do what we enjoy and repel or postpone what we don’t. I did it myself for quite a while:

    “As of today, I’m gonna do only what I like to do.”

    Guess what? After I went like this for a while I wanted to measure my output. Surprise, surprise: turned out that by doing only what I liked, my throughput (in terms of tasks, goals achievement and so on) was lower than expected. As a matter of fact…it was way, way lower.

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    Did I feel well during that time in which I actually indulged in pleasurable tasks? No doubt about that.

    Did I do more? Nope. Absolutely not.

    So, that was the moment when I learned how to do the motivation trick. Every time I wasn’t at my best, I started to use some motivational stuff. A quote. A quick and easy exercise. A personal mantra. Or a blog post (I even made a list out of them — and it turned out to be quite a popular list). And for a few years, this motivation trick did the job.

    But then something even worse happened.

    I realized that by pumping myself up each time with outside stimuli, I was actually lying to myself. I was no better than a dog in a Pavlovian experiment. I was feeding myself sugar bars, trying to replicate the natural and honest exhilaration responses I would sometimes get. A fast and easy sugar rush to the brain and — boom — my task was done.

    But as with every sugar rush, there’s a huge downturn. After the sugar has left, you end up feeling miserable again. Which will, in turn, trigger another sugar rush reaction just to get rid of that miserable state again.

    Sound familiar? I bet it does, we’ve all done this…

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    So, there was a moment when I had no option but to accept boredom in my life. To reshape my entire vision about beauty and pleasure.

    Because if you really look at it, seldom is beauty built in sudden bursts of exhilaration — in those huge and powerful adrenaline-empowered jumps. More often than not, real beauty is built with small chunks…with small steps…with small (but constantly fulfilled) promises.

    The Boredom Manifesto

    So that was the moment I came up with what I call The Boredom Manifesto. A few sentences that are making me accept and make use of boredom instead of sugar-coating it using motivation tricks. It’s not motivational, as it doesn’t try to embellish the reality or even to make it look different.

    Boredom is boredom. It’s part of life. All of our lives.

    So we’d better make use of it instead of rejecting it.

    For every tiny task I finish when I really don’t want to, I know there will be a reward somewhere. I don’t need it right now, I just know it will be there when I’ll need it.

    For every boring activity I bring to an end, knowing that it’s part of a bigger plan, I’ll have a better picture of my life.

    For every pushing through, there will be more muscles.

    For every unpleasant, yet necessary stuff I finish now, there will be less striving tomorrow.

    I decide to accept and embrace boredom as part of my life, for it’s in its dull, flat and grey moments that all the greatness I’m capable of is built, grey second by grey second, flat minute after flat minute, dull hour after dull hour.

    As long as I keep pushing forward.

    Embrace the boredom…don’t fight it. It’s in those moments of boredom that you’ll find some of the brilliance you’ve been looking for in your life.

    (Photo credit: Bunch of Sad People with Happy Man via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on May 28, 2020

    How to Overcome Boredom

    How to Overcome Boredom

    Have you ever been bored? 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, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

    What is Boredom?

    We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

    You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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    It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

    If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also 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.

    Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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    Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

    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.

    It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

    Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually 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.

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    In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

    3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

    1. Get Focused

    Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

    You should ask yourself: 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 gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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    So, the 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 to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

    Here are some ideas:

    • Do some exercise.
    • Read a book.
    • Learn something new.
    • Call a friend.
    • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
    • Do a spring cleaning.
    • 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 solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

    Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

    So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

    More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

    Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

    Reference

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