Creating Room For Boredom

I read about the idea of reengineering your habits towards producing by creating room for boredom. When we are waiting for something, sitting around, and even when we are supposed to be working, we tend to reach for our phones.

The author posed this question: “When is the last time you focused on a single task for one hour straight without reaching for your phone or checking email?” I can’t say that I remember doing that outside of being on a run. And even then, I usually turn on a podcast.

In my meditation app, Headspace, there is a meditation on dealing with distraction. The idea it proposes is that when we are bored, we are focused on what we are missing out on instead of focusing on what is going on in the present. Boredom is a symptom of FOMO and a major driver of discontent.

But boredom is only bad when I succumb to my impulses. I am finding that when I force myself to work through my boredom and resist the compulsion to check what else is going on, I create the right environment to think more deeply. I am able to access thoughts and ideas, and do work that is impossible with an occupied mind.

My action step from this idea is to decide on an important project or task, dedicate an amount of time to work on it without distraction, and then work until the time expires.

Also published on Medium.