Read This if You Hate Being Bored
“Only boring people get bored!” This was a popular refrain in our household whenever we heard the B-word from one of our kids. And I’m sure it’s a sentiment many of us – with kids and without – can relate to. Of course today, the word’s almost redundant thanks to our iphones and airpods, podcasts and social posts. There’s always something to catch up on or scroll through. We’ve grown to think of it as an efficient use of our time; why not catch up on a podcast while you’re on the train (or learn a language on the loo)?
And there are so many shows to keep track of on Netflix, right?
But there’s a down side to this. We’re forgetting how important it is to spend time with our own thoughts. It’s something I’ve been aware of for a little while – a mix of observations of those around me and reflections on some of my own behaviour. But it was brought into sharp focus recently when I read this article, The Beauty of Boredom, by Junkee Co-Founder, now author, Tim Duggan.
Tim literally spent a few weeks alone on a deserted island with nothing but his thoughts, a notepad and pen to occupy his time (and a jacket with lots of zippers to count). As Tim explains, this time allowed ideas to grow, not collide. And as a Creative, I get that. You’re working on a brief and you have a glimmer of an idea, but then you get an email or a request to do your timesheets (or an email requesting you to do your timesheets), and that spark is snuffed out by the time you get back to it.
AFFINITY talks a lot about the importance of giving people the time and space to think. We even have an hour every Tuesday (called Library Hour) where we encourage everyone to disconnect from their devices and their emails for some self-directed learning. It’s a simple thing, but it’s a practice you can take further. Indeed, if you’ve noticed the posters promoting the Look Up message, I highly recommend you a) take notice (and look up), and b) visit the site and read some of the science behind it.
I’m as guilty as the next person of sticking the noise-cancelling headphones on when I take the dog for a walk, I’m trying to have those moments where the stimulus is reduced to what’s around me. A walk through the streets of East Sydney at lunchtime lets the mind wander, and often reveals some fascinating sights at the same time. While the number of times I’ve cracked a brief riding my bike home has me wondering whether I should start timesheeting my commutes (and retiring the bone channelling audio that lets me listen to spotify as I roll).
Ultimately, it’s about being open to inspiration; giving yourself the time to switch off and take things in. Would Isaac Newton have come up with the Law of Gravity if he’d been listening to a Joe Rogan podcast when the apple fell out of the tree? And would the most famous tagline in the history of taglines been conceived, if Dan Wieden hadn’t been open to inspiration from a very unlikely source?
So next time someone uses the B-word in your earshot, maybe this is the more appropriate response: “Only creative people get bored!”
Take a look at the full article from Tim here