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Boredom

deʃhipudeʃhipu wrote 11/01/2018 at 14:18 • 2 min read • Like

Would you like to be more creative? More eloquent in conversations? More intelligent in decision making? Better at problem solving? More attentive? Able to read those difficult books? Focus deeply on the project at hand? There is a simple solution for all this: embrace boredom.

It takes some effort and training, but I can assure you that it certainly is worth it. Whenever you are waiting, whenever you don't have anything urgent to do, whenever you don't particularly feel like doing something, just be bored. Forget about taking out your phone and mindlessly scrolling through the social network stream, frantically checking your messages, or playing silly games designed to get you addicted to them. Just stay there and think about whatever comes to your mind: that conversation you had last week with a friend about morality, that book you are reading, that project you were planning to start, what you will tell the person you are waiting for when they arrive, what you will do next, etc. — it doesn't really matter what you think about, just let your mind wander.

The effect of this? You will have more motivation to actually work on that project, you will understand the book better, you will have interesting things to say in the next conversation, you will enjoy your time with that person more, and so on. Because your mind will have done some of the work up front and will be prepared. Because you will also think about things that you wouldn't notice otherwise. Because you will be more rested and ready to pay more attention to the here and now.

Obviously, this is not a silver bullet. It doesn't work when you are tired, depressed, stressed and burned out: you have to make sure you take care of your sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety first — don't be afraid to talk to a doctor about them, they are often very easily cured. But once you have that under control, make sure to leave yourself as much time as possible for doing absolutely nothing. Literally staring at a wall. It will make everything else you do much better.

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jaromir.sukuba wrote 11/08/2018 at 00:20 point

There is something into it. Most of my good - or at least useful - ideas sparked in my mind when commuting in public transport. The big metallic box that automagically drives itself from point A to point B and all you can do is mindlessly staring to other persons back for half an hour. Or, out of window, if you are lucky.

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Jan wrote 11/07/2018 at 16:28 point

The shower is one of the best places for "why haven't I thought about that earlier"-moments. In winter when I need to think about sth for a moment I sometimes just decide that now is the best time for a shower :)

No phone, nothing distracts you, calming noises. Works wonders some times!

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Elliot Williams wrote 11/06/2018 at 21:54 point

... and if you have children, make sure that you leave them plenty of time to be bored as well.  They get all the same benefits that adults do, but in spades b/c their brains are so flexible.

(BTW: I love that you call this being bored, but if you find yourself needing a name for the same activity that's a little bit more palatable to upper management, call it "thinking" -- but whatever you call it, do it.)

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deʃhipu wrote 11/07/2018 at 15:53 point

I like to call it "boredom", because then it's clear that all the anti-boredom things (social media, phone games, podcasts, tv series, etc.) are in fact destroying it, robbing you of the opportunity to think.

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Paul Crouch wrote 11/08/2018 at 09:09 point

I've been purposely doing this for nearly a year now and it does make all the difference. You're right about being tired though; doesn't work then. I call it my meditation :-)

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Morning.Star wrote 11/04/2018 at 15:25 point

If it werent for boredom, or at least the threat of it, I wouldnt be who | am today. :-)

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