Boredom As A Good Thing

When was the last time you were bored? I'm as guilty of chronic busyness as anyone. But the problem with this is that creativity goes down the tubes. And I'm not just talking about real artists and writers here. I'm talking about you and me and being creative in thinking about our lives, at work, or making time for whatever it is that we really like doing that involves some sort of creativity.

Thing is, for me, writing is not just something I do when I sit down at my laptop to write. The words, or at the very least, vague ideas, have been brewing around in my head for a while. And when does this actually happen? Usually in those moments where I'm walking from the train to the tube or standing in a queue or sitting on the bus staring out the window. Or even when I'm preparing dinner (notice I didn't say cooking), waiting for the timer to go on the Marks & Spencer chicken in the oven.

And when I'm really busy there's no time for even those fleeting moments of nothingness which my brain needs to do some sort of creating.  

I am often flummoxed by this paradox in work of any kind. Creative thoughts and problem solving is usually a result of time away from tasks and a mind not engaged in overdrive or stressed out. Do high-flying executives carve out solo time just to think? I bet they do. Perhaps that is why very successful people appear to be exercise nuts -- they are doing it more for their brain than for their body. By spending an hour first thing in the morning pounding on the treadmill (something incredibly boring, in my opinion), their minds actually have time to mull, to brew, to work. And as we know, mind and body are far more connected than most people think. 

I've been dipping into Brene Brown's book on vulnerability recently, which the first time around I thought was hard going. But it's connecting with me more now and she makes the very good point that people who limit the daily anxiety of life -- and just cope better -- are good at setting boundaries. They believe they are enough in order to say "Enough!".

This really resonated with me. In order to live the life you want, to connect with the people you want, to do the things that you want (which for me include creative endeavors), you have to set boundaries. Which for me, specifically, means making sure that I have time to get a little bit bored, to give my brain the space and time to think.
Do you carve out time specifically to think? I'd be curious to know how you do it.

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