It was my final weekend in Belgrade and I found myself with nothing to do. I had seen all the main sights I had wanted to see. There were places I could revisit; places that could help me soak up the sun but the impending storm clouds deterred me away. I took to wandering around the city – one of my favourite things to do – but realised, I was bored.
And it seemed like the worst thing I could be.
But why? Why are we so scared to be bored? When did we decide that boredom was such a bad thing?
Boredom is normal and natural and shouldn’t feel like a failure.
It shows us that there is potential, pent-up energy and great possibility for the things we’re about to achieve. It gives us an opportunity to connect with a present time – albeit an ordinary one – to make us see the essence of where we are away from the distractions and excitement of what we’re doing. Particularly in a time of so many technical distractions, it can be a great way to connect with ourselves.
In the way that it helps us embrace stillness and inactivity, boredom is a form of mindfulness practice. And it has many proven benefits for both your life and your business.
It can boost our productivity.
Being busy constantly isn’t mindful nor productive. Your mind is constantly pulled this way and that, away from the task at hand. It can become a destructive pattern to constantly feel the weight of busyness; and moreover, never be able to focus on one thing.
It’s ok to feel bored at work – if it means that you allow yourself the time and space to concentrate on one task and do our best at it. Being at work should not automatically conjure up that tight-chested feeling of ‘hustling.’
Embracing ‘strategic boredom’ in your every day – in which you make even the most menial tasks the most exciting thing by removing all distractions – is a great way to increase your productivity.
It reminds us to balance.
Living life constantly on the edge of activity and non-boring things can be exhausting.
I mean, I’m all for that YOLO lifestyle. I believe that we should say yes to things and push ourselves out of our comfort zone sometimes. I think life is what you make of it and it’s important to be proactive for ourselves. I believe we should never settle for the negative feelings when a simple change is all we need to help improve them.
But boredom is just as important as well. Our bodies cannot keep up with the constant go-go-go of doing things all the time. We have commitments, money limitations, time limitations that stop us from doing the most exciting things possible, every time. We make mistakes or missteps and find ourselves in a boring film or a boring conversation.
Letting go of the negativity of boredom and realising that it is normal and important to balance us out can help us enjoy those moments of excitement more.
It can unleash our creativity.
I can’t compete with science or the below TED talk to explain how boredom can unlock your creativity. But it’s one of those statements that upon first hearing it, you shrug and realise it makes sense, right?
Removing yourself from distractions can allow your brain space and time to flourish. Follow your mind down its chain of thought. Allow it to wander. Who knows where it will end up?
It can reveal what we value in life.
If you take a step back and understand where your boredom is coming from, you understand your values.
My greatest fear was living a life for which I was settling. Ten months ago, I realised boredom had become my natural state – I was going through the motions and merely tolerating life rather than living it. I felt I was in a rut and it was affecting all these things – my productivity and my creativity.
In this state, I was forced to confront the reasons why. Moreover, it gave me space to discover the things that made me come alive. Ten months later, I am designing and pursuing a life that I’m not bored of. I am excited by my purpose and the potential of what is still to come.
I am grateful for those moments of boredom; however big or small they may come. And I continue to welcome boredom into my life.
How will you welcome boredom into yours?
I’m Tiff and I’m passionate about empowering people to tell their stories in meaningful and creative ways. Ten months ago, I quit my corporate job in Sydney, Australia to travel and pursue my own projects. Now, slow-travelling through Europe, I can’t imagine going back. As a writer, I love being able to share my stories and struggles with the emerging digital nomad community. I haven’t got it all figured out and constantly feel like I’m flying blind, but I’m excited to be giving myself the space to do so. You can find out more here.
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