Do you pick up a book whenever you get bored? Maybe you check your phone for any recent emails, Tweets or texts.
We have a fear of being alone nowadays – a fear of being left with our own thoughts, so people look for distractions from the dark sounds of silence. Even biting your nails, having a cigarette or chomping on a bag of fruit snacks takes us away from a valuable moment in time that is so rare, yet so fruitful.
Comedian Louis CK stated that he once tried to leave his phone alone while driving home one day. No texts. No phone calls. No emails. He simply sat and listened to music and began thinking himself into a dark abyss.
He realized his questions about life and immediately felt this moment of dark loneliness – as if nothing had meaning at all. He cried and realized that afterwards he felt wonderful.
It’s those stark moments of vulnerability and loneliness that force us to seek out constant communications, companionship or simple fidgeting.
This fear of vulnerability leaves us in this state of “not being totally happy, but at the same time, not being totally sad.”
We miss out on the joy and creativity that boredom can bring. How can you give your boredom meaning?
A 2012 TED Talk by Andy Puddicombe stated that ten minutes of just spacing out increases productivity and happiness drastically. Whenever I start spacing out while staring at my computer I get up and go grab a snack or walk around the house.
Why not just lie down, release all tensions and clear the mind from every thought?
Saving the Seconds
Everyone needs to eat, exercise, walk around and get the stress out, but I started noticing that every time I reached out to grab a slab of beef jerky, stick of gum or drink of water I completely stopped working. This, or I pretended to think and analyze my screen, but in actuality I was staring at nothing and just using food or something else to cut out the monotony.
Why not just take a breadth and make a revision, or write a new line? I think everyone believes their breaks are justified, but in actuality you just need your three meals and maybe a snack during the day. Think about cutting down on the coffee to minimize the amount of times you reach for the mug and half-ass type with one hand.
Every second counts.
A bad sentence written bored is better than no sentence written with a gullet full of coffee or snacks. [Tweet That]
Notice Your Surroundings
Experiences create stories, and experiences happen with human and environmental interactions. I have a bad habit of chewing my fingernails, and I noticed that I usually sit and chew my fingernails whenever I’m waiting in line at a store or talking to a teller at the bank. I simply focus on my nails and don’t think about anything else.
Is every interaction going to provide some remarkable form of inspiration? No. But will the combination of interactions help you understand basic dialogue and human behavior? Absolutely.
Consider asking a question to every person you are stuck in line with or to whoever is selling you your pack of toilet paper at Walgreens. Ask how long they have worked there and how they like the job.
Check out your physical surroundings while bored. A writer can’t understand what a subway train sounds like if they don’t sit and listen to the train while going home from work. Tuck those ear buds into your pocket and take a big whiff. What does it smell like? What does it sound like? How do others respond as different types of people enter and exit the subway?
Now it’s your turn. Let everyone know in the comments how you can embrace the boredom you encounter on a day-to-day basis to better your life and increase your creativity.